If God has called you to ministry, that must mean you need to find a job at a church, right?
One man’s journey from seminary to church jobs to the military is a powerful reminder that the Lord can call His people to spread the Good News anywhere, regardless of whether their paycheck comes from a church or not.
Chris Rice’s family has a long history with serving in the military, but when he felt the Lord call him to ministry, he broke the family tradition.
Instead, he sought a different path at a bible college in Kentucky and went on to obtain a master’s degree at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“Everybody in my family, straight out of high school, has served in the military going back to the Civil War,” he told the Baptist Press.
For the next 11 years, Rice served as a pastor in several different churches across the country.
In 2008, however, he prayed the Prayer of Jabez’s from 1 Chronicles 4:10.
“I was wanting and asking God to expand my ministry efforts, to expand my ministry responsibilities, to expand my ministry opportunities,” he told The Western Journal.
As the Lord often does, He answered in an unexpected way: Rice soon felt led to leave his church position.
“After resigning from my last Church, I had no real idea where or what God had in store for me next.” he recalled. “All I knew at that moment was that I still very much felt called to full time vocational ministry.
“I believed that God still wanted to use me to build His Kingdom. I just didn’t know how or where or what.”
Just after leaving his church, Rice received multiple emails — from people who had no idea he’d left — suggesting he consider becoming a chaplain.
While Rice recognized the convenient timing of those emails and the amount of times military chaplaincies popped up during his job search, he wasn’t fully convinced they were a nudge in the next direction.
After spending time in prayer and consulting with his wife, it became obviously clear to Rice that the Lord was answering his prayer by leading him into military ministry.
It’s been 10 years since Rice became an Army chaplain and the Lord has continued to use him to make a large impact on those he serves.
In August of 2017, he was assigned a position at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina.
According to the Baptist Press, he was immediately asked to reside over the basic training Protestant service, which has more than doubled in attendance since he took over.
“I am constantly challenging them to make spiritual maturity just as much a priority as their physical development, emotional development and mental development,” he said of the trainees who come to the service.
Rice told The Western Journal that he has baptized 977 individuals since arriving to Fort Jackson, more than half of which the Baptist Press reports have been baptized since Feb. 24, 2019.
On Sept. 8 alone, 170 soldiers were baptized.
He believes the high amount of baptisms at his campus and others across the country may be a sign of a spiritual awakening among military members.
It would be easy to praise Rice and his ability to reach so many people. Rice, however, continues to give all of the glory to God.
“There is nothing really unique or special about my story,” he told The Western Journal. “I am doing nothing different or special than other Chaplains out there.
“I am only seeking to live out my faith in God to the best of my ability for His honor, His glory and the building of His Kingdom. For God and Country, Here Am I, Send Me!”
While Rice is quick to pass the glory to God, his story is a powerful reminder that God can use His people no matter their vocation.
“As Christians, we are not responsible for results. God is responsible for the results,” he told The Western Journal. “We are only responsible for being obedient and faithful to His calling on our lives.
“When we sense the Spirit of God leading us in a certain direction it is our responsibility to walk in faithful obedience. If we believe God is leading us to talk to a certain person about something, it is our responsibility to do so in faithful obedience.”
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