A Look at 20 years of Military Chaplains’ Review with an Eye on Preaching

militarychaplain19721unse_0001The Military Chaplains’ Review was a professional publication in cooperation with all military branches to discuss issues that are important to Chaplains and their ministry.  Each issue can be found in an Online Archive here.  The Military Chaplain’s Review was published from 1972-1992.  Below you will find an extended bibliography of all the articles on preaching from this publication.  Each entry is divided by section and is alphabetical by author.  The name of the article, issue, and a brief description is listed for your help.

  • General Works

 Ferguson, Earl H.

“Where is Preaching?” Military Chaplains’ Review Vol 1 No. 3 (Aug 1972): 53-64.

Discusses the state of preaching in the military. The author challenges Chaplains that despite a “crisis” of negative preaching, one can focus on individual skills and raise the level of specific preaching.

Nuscher, Max.
“The Chaplain’s Message.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1978): 93-102. States that preaching is an event composed of more than a sermon. It is preparation of sermon, self, congregation, service, and the military community. Article also discusses McLuhan and Bultmann in regards to preaching.

Scott, Manuel L.

“What is the Nature of Effective Preaching?” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1974): 1-6. Defines effective preaching within a Protestant and Catholic context. Scott provides solutions for relevant preaching.

  • Preaching and Theology

Burslie, Bruce L.

“The Army Pulpit from One Perspective.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 42-44. There is a collective opinion that Chaplains cannot preach effectively. Burslie provides key theological principles to encourage better preaching and proposes that making preaching a priority can reverse the negative perspectives.

Fant, Clyde E.

“Communicating the Gospel.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1974): 15-22.

Explains communication of the gospel as a theological problem. Fant explores the human and divine dimensions.

Wolfe, Charles

“Homiletical Insights from Variant Readings.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Summer 1979): 37-42. Discusses the use of variant readings in the sermon to provide new insights and enliven the text in unusual ways.

  • Topics of Preaching

Hufham, William L.

“Preaching the Prophets: A suggested methodology.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 31-41. Looks at Old Testament prophets and discusses a methodology for preaching. He uses Isaiah as a model and has a three-fold structure: I. Separation, II. Invitation, and III. Restoration.

Mitchell, Henry H.

“The Preaching Ministry to Blacks.” Military Chaplains’ Review Vol. No. 1 (January 1972): 1-18. Discusses the uniqueness of black preaching and helps chaplains understand the unique ministry they can have to blacks in the military.

O’Driscoll, Herbert

“Preaching in an Apocalyptic Age.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 7-14.

Starting with Revelation 12, the author discusses preaching and the connections to spirituality and Biblical hope.

Troxell, Thomas, E.

“Humor as a Preaching Tool” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 59-63.

Discusses the importance of humor in preaching and effective methodologies for use in the sermon.

Walaskay, Maxine

“Gender and Preaching.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1983): 55-60.

Discusses both positive and negative responses to women preachers. She examines solutions for reversing role prejudices.

  • The Preacher

Burghardt, Walter J.

“From Study to Proclamation.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 76-88.

Provides a guide to move from the classroom to the pulpit. The author discusses the importance of the preacher in knowing God and shaping the sermon.

Ennis, Raymond E.

“Imagination and the Preaching of a Military Chaplain.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 52-58. Discusses the many different levels of the preaching imagination and lists practical tips for preachers to nurture imagination.

Galle, Joseph E.

“The Use of Imagination in Preaching Today” Military Chaplains’ Review Vol. 2 No. 4 (November 1973): 60-63. Discusses the need of the preacher to see and experience the message. He draws upon the book Preaching Today as a resource for effective communication.

Hedrick, Charles W.
“Excellence in Preaching: A Neglected Art?” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1979): 1-10. Despite their multifaceted ministries, Hedrick challenges chaplains to be first and foremost “ministers of the Word.” He discusses the importance of excellence in scholarship and the holistic approach to knowledge. He states that the sermon reflects the character of the preacher and offers tips to provide more depth.

Troeger, Thomas. “What Shall I Preach on Sunday?”
 Military Chaplains’ Review (Summer 1980): 1-8. Discusses importance of deciding on sermon topic. He examines people’s struggles, actions and the work of the Spirit.

  • The Congregation

Dodd, Paul W.

“Preaching in the Army Showcase.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 22-30.

Provides a case study of pulpit ministry at FT Meyers. He also reflects on important and high profile ministry of the chapel.

Henderson, J. Frank.

“One Layman’s View of Contemporary Preaching.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Fall 1977): 75-78. A Catholic layman reflections on a year’s worth of sermons in an attempt to help the preacher understand the perspective from the pew.

Keizer Jr., Herman.

“Ethics and Preaching.” Military Chaplains’ Review(Winter 1986): 68-75.

Asserts that preaching is central to what is happening in the Christian community. He analyzes preaching and ethics, specifically the relationship between speech and action.

Morris, George E.
“Preaching in a Multi-Cultural Context.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Summer 1981): 23-36. Discusses the difficulty of preaching in a multicultural context and examines various questions in regards to differing responses to situations. He discusses the importance of building relationships in the breaking down of barriers.

Tyson, Grandville.
“Strategy for Competing with the Media Preachers.”
 Military Chaplains’ Review (Summer 1984): 5-14. Discusses the impact of media preachers on the chapel congregation. He highlights the importance of the personal nature of ministry and the preaching of the chaplain.

  • The Setting-Liturgical

Crews, James

“Wrestling with the Lectionary.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1992): 16-19.

Preaching using the Lectionary has many benefits to the chaplain and congregation.

Chaplain reflects personally on how he has been encouraged and challenged by using it.

Randolph, David James.

“Christian Faith as Event: Implications for Worship and Preaching.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1974): 32-37. Preaching is not a problem to be solved, but a potential to be developed. This article makes a connection between preaching and worship.

Strange, Herbert B.

“Liturgics: A forgotten art in the chaplaincy?” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1992): 39-45. Chaplain Strange writes, “Quality preaching is mark of quality ministry.” The article focuses on the importance of preaching and the chaplain’s role in planning worship.

  • The Setting- Special Occasions

Phillips, Robert J.

“A Good Word for Wedding Sermons.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 64-67. Article discusses the importance if wedding sermons and provides principles. Author explores various purposes of the wedding sermon.

Smartt, David W.

“The Field Preaching Experience.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 15-21.

Discusses the importance of preaching in the field and the unique relationship between the Soldiers and the chaplains.

Warme, Thomas. “At Arlington Cemetery The Sermons Came To Life.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1978): 85-92. Discusses the importance of the funeral sermon. Chaplain gives personal reflections on sermons preached and observed at Arlington National Cemetery.

  • The Sermon

 Atwood, Bertram.

“The Preacher as Interpreter” Military Chaplains’ Review (Fall 1976): 65-74.

Discusses the technique of questioning the scripture to bring the sermon to life. The author provides sample questions and models the questioning technique.

Furgeson, Earl H.

“Where Does a Sermon Begin?” Military Chaplains’ Review Vol. 2 No. 1 (January 1973): 1-7. Discusses the proclamational theory of preaching and the shared conviction of both Catholic and Protestant to preach the gospel. The theory is then discussed regarding the conception and delivery of the sermon.

Swander, J. Phillip.

“Action in the Art of Preaching.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 89-96.

Points out misconceptions of preaching and explains how preaching is the art of the spoken word. He asserts that the fundamental element of preaching is action.

  • Delivery

Davidson, Neil R.

“Let’s Try Innovative Preaching: An experiment and the results.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Summer 1974): 11-12. Looks at new communication methods to close the gap between pulpit and pew. Practical models and methods are discussed and results of feedback are presented.

Kirkland, Bryant M.

“Say It So They Can See It.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1992): 3-8.

Challenges preachers to create more visual sermons. The key is to have sermon material that is real, reliable, redemptive, retrievable and replicated in the life of the preacher.

Myers, David G. and John J. Shaughnessy.
“Memorable Preaching.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Summer 1981): 9-16. Discusses approaches to making sermons more memorable. They list five key steps based on Yale research.

Nichols, J. Randall.

“The Languages of Preaching” Military Chaplains’ Review (Fall 1975): 13-26. Preaching has many different strands of communication. The preacher must learn how the different languages of preaching are heard so they can communicate more effectively in the pulpit and be understood by the congregation.

  •  History-Periods

 Perry, Edwin M.

“Before the Troops: Sermons to militias 1763-1775.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Fall 1987): 9-22. Highlights sermons before a formalized chaplain corps during the revolutionary war.

  • History-Theory

Thompson, William D.

“Homiletics- State of the Art, 1986.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Winter 1986): 1-6.

Discusses a renewal in preaching going on in 1986. Author highlights key books in the field regarding the New Homiletic as well as a move to traditional forms of preaching.

  • Teaching

Burke, John.

“Preaching Perspectives.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1974): 7-14.

Describes methods and programs aimed at homiletical improvement. He uses principles learned while teaching speech and drama at a Catholic university.

Nichols, J. Randall.

“What Should We Teach the Preacher?” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1974): 23-31. Discusses the crisis point in ministry when the preacher fails to understand the purpose of preaching. He explains the purpose of a stated objective and proposition.

Sandrow, Edward T.

“Homiletics as a Science and Preaching as an Art.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1975): 47-51. Discusses homiletics as a discipline in the training of rabbis as well as the task of the Jewish preacher and chaplain.

Thompson, William D.

“Evaluating Chaplaincy Skills in Preaching and Worship.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1992): 23-33. Discusses the role of preaching in various faith traditions. He highlights ways to help evaluate preaching by complaining and contrasting 12 traditions.

U.S. Army Chaplaincy Service Support Agency

“The Army Training Strategy in Homiletics.” Military Chaplains’ Review (Spring 1992): 20-22. Army policy for training chaplains in homiletics is laid out in article.

Be Strong and Courageous E-book


army book

Be Strong and Courageous:  An anthology of sermons to warriors is a completion of war sermons and memorial messages.  It is a sample of the voices of comfort in the midst of war.

“This anthology captures the collective soul of chaplains who daily stand before soldiers engaged in combat and its aftermath. They are messages spoken on the battlefield and on the homefront, captured in worship services or at memorials, whispered in a soldier’s ear, or shouted above the din of a truck’s engine. They are words spoken to soldiers at an opportune time, reminding them that God is still present and still sovereign. They are often worlds of comfort and encouragement, of strength and hope; but they can also be words that address the immense struggle of the soul in the midst of pain or doubt.” — From the Foreword

This book was compiled and edited by Chaplain (Colonel) C. David Reese and published by the U.S, Army Chaplain Corps in 2012.  It has unlimited distribution, download your copy here.

Click on link:  Be Strong and Courageous E-book

In a recent Tedx talk, Dr. Mike Haynie discuss “The Moral Obligation To Know Our Veterans.”  He tells a story of a conversation on a plane where a Vet “Tim” says he feels anonymous.  Dr. Haynie asks, “Why is Tim anonymous?” and responds “We have disconnected the cost and consequences of war from all of you (referring to his audience).”  He continues by explaining that many Veterans feel anonymous because the burden of 12 years of ways has fallen on .5% of the population.    Check out a great article from Blue Star Families.

As Chaplains, it is important to know those whom we serve and hear their stories.

It is important to understand their hurts, hopes, and dreams.

As Chaplains, we are called to connect the many “Tim’s” who we encounter with a God who knows him or her.

  • How will we as Chaplains help to heal the soul our our Military?

Many Soldiers, Families and Veterans feel anonymous.
Find a way to know them, love them, and help them: It’s our Moral Obligation!

Chaplains Past and Present

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For God and Country.  Take a look at the history of the Chaplain Corps and the men and women who have answered the call.

As we pause this weekend to remember our Veterans.  I am reminded of those men and women who have taken up a double calling for God and Country.  The Chaplain Corps has a Glorious Past, a Powerful Present and a Challenging Future.

Say a special prayer for those past and present, who care for the souls of our Veterans.

Also pray for those men and women who will take up this call and care for the future of our Military.

Pro Deo et Patria!

If you are interested in being a part of this great calling click here for more info.

Preaching in a Military Context

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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?

Custom Banners for Chapel Services

100_0550Often Chaplains have various places to hold and host services.  Over the years I have used custom banners for my chapel services both deployed and in garrison chapels.  The company I used to create various banners is Group Imaging.  They are able to create portable, professional, custom banners for any situation.  You can create themes for children’s ministry, coffee houses, chapel back drops.  They have been great to work with and I have been very satisfied with the product that I received.

I have made a Chapel in a box kit that I use for deployment and special occasion services.  I have deployed this kit twice to Iraq and several training exercises across the country.

Also they designed 6 large banners for use at Chapel Next, Ft. Campbell.  Proofs for the designs (Click Here)

There are various sign and banner companies that can create products for you so look around.

Things to look for are:

  • Quality
  • Material
  • Portability
  • Customizable or stock graphics

Another company that offers various stock designs is Outreach.  They have a large selection of predesigned products that could enhance your ministry.

The Prophetic Voice of the Chaplain

Recently there have been a few news outlets that have highlighted the prayers of the Senate Chaplain, Barry Black.

The first (above) is from “The Racheal Maddow Show” on MSNBC.

Here is another from CNN Newsroom (link here)

  • What do you think about the news highlighting the prophetic voice of the Senate prayers?
  • Do you think they are prophetic or inappropriate?

As a Chaplain in the Army, my job is to provide free exercise of religion, as well as to advise the command in various areas regarding religion, ethics, morals and morale.

  • In our ministry of presence there is a clear pastoral role, but where does the prophetic role fit?

Currently I am enrolled in a class at Boston University entitled “Prophetic Preaching“.  The syllabus explains, “This course is designed to help students wrestle with several central issues around prophetic preaching in contemporary Christian churches: the relationships of prophetic preaching to the gospel, to the Bible, to the social-political context, and to pastoral ministry generally.”  In the class we have discussed forming a theology of Prophetic Preaching, read and discussed various books and sermons dealing with the topics of prophetic, pastoral, and social change and the interconnectedness of these ideas.   We have even looked at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his role as a preacher and civil rights leader in Lischer’s book, Preacher King.

The class has given me a lot to think about and caused me to reflect on the role of the prophetic voice of the Chaplain.

As I write this post, the government is shut down due to Congress’s inability to agree on a spending bill.

  • But what is the role of the Chaplain?
  • Do we have a role to speak truth to power?  If so in what way and how?
  • Is there a way to speak truth that transcends partisan politics and look to the greater good?

I think the answer is contextual and each Chaplain must examine his or her own calling, role and sphere of influence.

However each Chaplain has a word to speak into their context.  We must find our voice!

Maybe you, like Esther, are in your unit and location in this moment in time for a reason.

“. . .And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

My prayer is that if a fire is burning in your bones and a word is on your heart you will speak!

“But if I say, ‘I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”  (Jeremiah 20:9)

Find Your Voice. . . Make Your Point!

Chaplains Under Fire (Documentary)

HPIM2166During my first deployment to Iraq, “the Surge” in 2007-2008, I was interviewed by two reporters filming a documentary on the Chaplaincy.  I didn’t know that I was featured in the film until years later, as I watched the film.  The film “Chaplains Under Fire” shows first had accounts of the unique ministry of Chaplains during deployment.

On the film’s site it states:

Should the military be hiring clergy? Can the military tell them how to act?  How does a Christian chaplain minister to a Buddhist? A Muslim? An atheist?

To explore these questions, Lee Lawrence and Terry Nickelson spent three months in Afghanistan and Iraq, where troops let them into their lives.

They joined them on patrols and missions, hung out with them in guard towers, flew on medevacs with the wounded, and attended memorials. It was there, where troops deal with boredom, anger, loneliness, fear, death and grief that they learned why military chaplains are crucial and how they sometimes become controversial.

The result is CHAPLAINS UNDER FIRE, a feature-length independent documentary that explores the world of military chaplains through the lens of the troops they serve in combat and the Constitutional issues they raise at home.

Find out more on the film from “Chaplains Under Fire” Site (Click here).

If you would like to stream it live you can Watch Now.

  • What did you think about the Film as a whole?
  • Do you have any questions about parts?
  • Did anything surprise you about comments or situations in the film?
  • I have been told I look like Bruce Willis, Do you think so?

Chaplains are a part of the lives of Soldiers on the home front and battle front.  Incarnational ministry is the core of all we do.  U.S. Army Chaplains are assigned to every battalion and go where the Soldiers go and do what they do.

The Chaplain Corps. Mission is to provide religious support to America’s Army across the full spectrum of operations.  Assist the Commander in ensuring the right of free exercise of religion.  Provide spiritual, moral, and ethical leadership to the Army.

The Chaplain Corps. Philosophy is to perform religious leader and staff advisor functions while nurturing the living, caring for the wounded, and honoring the dead.  We will always remain “Courageous in Spirit, Compassionate in Service.”

If you are interested in more information on the U.S. Army Chaplaincy check out:

5 Subscription Media Sites to check out for Chapel Services

Often when leading a chapel service, I look for helps to add creative elements that will help make my point and add some professionalism to the service.  In the Chaplaincy, we don’t have graphic designers and media people on staff, however there are many sites that offer yearly subscriptions with unlimited downloads of videos and other media content.

Here are my top 5 resources for Subscription Media sites.

Igniter Media –  This is one of my Favorite media sites.  You can get a membership of purchase ala-cart.  They have great quality videos, moving backgrounds, and slides for use with sermons or lyric slides.

Grace Way Media– This site has 1000’s of graphic resources geared for sermon series and announcements.  Great for professional marketing of Chapel events.

Centerline New Media – Another sites with various videos and themed backgrounds.  This sight has great seasonal elements.

Hyper Pixels Media The leased expensive subscription lots of unique media elements.  Countdowns, trivia games,and videos.

The Work Of The People (TWOTP) A media resource that has liturgical resources that go with the reading of the calendars.  Also various teaching clips from various thought leaders.  The media from this site has a little more rough style to it.  Lots of great content.

These sites are my top picks check them out and let me know what you think.

  • Do you have favorite sites that you go to for resources?
  • What do you find helpful to your ministry?