Captain Chad Montgomery

December 12, 2010

Air Force Chaplain (MDiv, '05)

Mission to North America, a church planting and mission organization under the Presbyterian Church in America, recently featured Westminster Alumnus Chad Montgomery in their quarterly newsletter.  The article below is reprinted with their permission.

Chaplain Chad Montgomery was a seminary student when the September 11, 2001, attack on the New York World Trade Center occurred. He joined the Air Force and later went on Active Duty. Today he serves at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio TX as chaplain to more than 6,000 basic trainees ranging in age from 18 to the mid-30s, along with more than 560 Drill Instructors. Chaplain Montgomery is one of 132 PCA chaplains serving in all branches of the US military. Here is his firsthand ministry report.

Chaplain Chad Montgomery
Staff Sgt. Chris Martin (left) with Chaplain Chad Montgomery (photo courtesy of US Air Force)

Just imagine:

  • Every month seeing 40-60 counseling cases, including confronting such deep needs as depression, loneliness and life guidance, in which the counseling recipient wants to hear the Scriptures under your guidance.
  • Every week 4,300 people attending worship services in which they hear the Gospel preached.
  • Every week dealing with multiple trainees with suicidal ideations, who then get to hear about the One Who is the Resurrection and the Life.
  • Over the past 3 years, counseling with more than 30 Drill Sergeants who have let down their gruff guard and trusted me to help with their marital failures.
  • Every month baptizing 30-60 trainees who have heard the Gospel and want to be part of the Body of Christ.

As a civilian pastor, I saw my parishioners for a limited amount of time: during services, small groups and events and for counseling. I never got asked to walk around their places of work, hang out in their offices, go on business trips with them, have lunch with their bosses, or attend staff meetings. The Air Force expects me to do all of that and more. It was in leaving my parish and becoming a Chaplain that I got to know in depth the people among whom I now live and work. I am also confronted daily with multiple differing religious beliefs that I could easily avoid as a pastor. I get to be an ambassador every day.

It is my focus on the always relevant Cross of Jesus Christ that keeps me going—Jesus the perfect one died for the imperfect. He drafts (elects) those who would never have walked into His recruiting station on their own. I can’t win souls. Only God can, so I don’t exhaust myself with worry about results. Yet, many trainees and sergeants have come forward to share how Christ has changed their lives, whether it be in depositing their sexual relationship only into their marriage account, finally seeing God as the ultimate husband and looking for an earthly husband who loves Christ, or seeing the forgiveness of Christ in abortion recovery, and especially in learning who Christ is.

When I ask trainees if they have a faith background, they often answer with something “Christianish.” They then admit that they have no idea what it means to be a Christian. After explaining Eph. 2:8-10, I often hear trainees say, “No one has ever explained it to me prior to this.” As one emotional trainee said to me after a Sunday service, “I found God here.” Well actually, He found you, showing once again that when you are Christ’s troop and child, being lost means you will be found.

Chaplain, Captain Chad Montgomery PCA

The above article was reprinted with permission from Mission to North America.  Visit their website here.