Preaching in a Military Context

[jwplayer mediaid=”544″]

Strength of America is a video produced by the Army about the strength and spirit of the Men and Women who have answered our nations call.

As a Chaplain we minister to many outstanding individuals and families. We are called to “Nurture, Care, and Honor” our nations greatest treasure, those who are called to serve.  We have a unique calling and we speak into a unique context.  Think about the unique situations and the diversity of listeners that a chaplain is called to speak.

One of my favorite quotes by Douglas Macarthur in his farewell address to WestPoint sums up the virtues of the Soldier.

 The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training – sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him. However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country, is the noblest development of mankind.

As we prepare to preach, Are we aware of the context to whom we preach?

Ask a few clarifying questions to understand context:  

  • What is the occasion I am speaking?  Sunday Service or Special event
  • What is the purpose of the event? Religious Worship, Study, Fellowship
  • Who am I speaking to?  Diverse Rank, Age, Gender, Families, Religious Background, Are they known or unknown to me?, Military or Civilian.
  • How many are expected?  How would my message be different if it were 5 or 5000?
  • What is the facility?  Chapel, Gym, Conference Room, Outside, Sound System, Technology
  • What do I wear?  Dress Uniform, Duty Uniform, Civilian Clothes Casual or Dress

Coaching Tips to Help Others

  • What has helped you become aware of the situational, cultural, and individual contexts in which you preach?
  • Does to whom you are preaching effect your preparation, illustrations, and style of delivery?
  • How does context matter in our preaching?