Bro. Robert Brott, tell us a little about yourself and your ministry.
I have been happily married to my wife, Sarah, for 27 years. I currently serve as an active duty Army chaplain. We just arrived at our ninth duty station at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The Army is my full-time ministry pursuit, but we are able to attend a local UPCI church wherever we serve in the U.S. when off duty. We are fortunate to fellowship with some great pastors and local churches as the schedule allows.
I became an active duty military chaplain with the Army after eight years in evangelistic and pastoral assistant work. My pastor, V. Arlen Guidroz of Dallas, Texas, sponsored me fresh out of seminary to conduct outreach for The Life Church and launch my evangelistic ministry. His ministry won me to the Lord when I was only 18 and gave me a great Apostolic foundation. I immediately pursued nine years of full-time college and seminary in preparation for ministry. As a chaplain, I have ministered to the needs of soldier families in America and other parts of the world for over 16 years. I have deployed to combat zones in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. I came close to meeting the Lord prematurely a few times, but I am still here to tell about it.
Why should a young man consider a ministry as chaplain?
Not only is military chaplaincy exciting, but it offers training and ministry opportunities that the civilian sector cannot match. Through the Army, I received an all-expense paid M.S. degree in counseling. Young soldiers, their families and government civilians are often in developmental stages and seek pastoral guidance. I have been trained in several world class counseling and training programs for families, and have been afforded the opportunity to earn my credentials as a licensed marriage and family therapist. I am currently working on credentials to clinically supervise other chaplains pursuing their licenses as well. If a young minister is serious about ministry, paying the price for education and credentialing as a chaplain is a legitimate pursuit for their calling.
World travel is a great benefit. The rich cultural experience and chance to travel across Europe for six years resulted from this ministry. Overseas, the demand for U.S. worship services and family counseling increases as families seek a little bit of American familiarity while stationed in a foreign country. They will turn to a chaplain for counseling, and worship in somebody’s service – who better than an Apostolic chaplain to fill the need? Combat is also another great opportunity for ministry. Many baptisms in Jesus’ name result from an Apostolic chaplain being in a combat zone.
What is required to be a chaplain in the military?
A minister must be ordained and endorsed by their Ecclesiastical organization. They must also hold an accredited bachelor’s degree and Master of Divinity recognized by the Department of Defense. The service prefers candidates with a few years of post-seminary professional experience. The entire requirement process for a chaplain usually takes about 10 years to complete. Height, weight and physical conditioning standards are strictly observed and enforced. Each candidate is screened for the ability to minister according to their faith without disrespecting the beliefs of others. In addition, they must compete in an accessioning board with other highly credentialed applicants.
What are the challenges and rewards of being a chaplain?
The challenges include sustained physical fitness and answering to a chain of command versus an autonomous ministry. Relocating every two or three years, deployment and separation from family are ever-looming realities. The rewards are many, including intense ministry, concentrated crisis counseling, and often being connected to front page news issues on a daily basis. The Army does authorize a budget to conduct ministry that a local church or an independent evangelist would normally not be able to provide. I was especially blessed to train over 600 Army families in the beautiful mountains of Bavaria on the Austrian border utilizing a first class military resort. Having the opportunity to minister to America’s best at their greatest time of need is a very fulfilling reward in itself.
Bro. Brott, tell us the story behind your book The Hooah Factor and why you wrote it.
“Hooah” is an Army term that denotes motivation and dedication. My book, The Hooah Factor, was a dream I began pursuing at my first duty station. It highlights many parallels of soldier discipline and motivation with Christian living. Unique military phrases springboard several vignettes that inspire and inform the motivated Christian soldier. Any Christian can take this book to assess where they are spiritually and motivate themselves to march to new heights in their Christian journey. The book takes the reader from the Chaplain Officer Basic Course located at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and they journey with me to combat zone experiences in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.
How is your book ordered?
My book is available in paperback or e-book format through Amazon.com or the Pentecostal Publishing House website for under $10 (+shipping). Just type in “Hooah” to either website’s search engine, and the book will appear. If a church would like to do a bulk order, they may contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The local church at my last duty station uses them as gifts for their military guests. Readers can follow my blog, “The Motivated Christian Soldier” at: http://rjbrott.blogspot.com.