Exploring the journey from college to chaplaincy

Published On: May 12, 2023

The mission of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This mission requires each local church, United Methodist agency, and ministry to put it into practice. Local churches are often the first place that comes to mind when people think of transformative disciple making, however not all clergy serve in church congregations. In fact, while many feel called to serve God, the path of ministry often differs for everyone. 

Very few understand this more than Rev. Dr. Kent A. Lundy. A United Methodist Elder in the Indiana Conference, Rev. Dr. Lundy currently serves as wing chaplain to the 181st Intelligence Wing Air National Guard in Terre Haute, Indiana. After many years of working in youth ministry, Rev. Dr. Lundy currently works to recruit college seniors to serve in military chaplaincy. At such a precious time in life for college seniors, Lundy believes this is a critical moment where young adults can decide what type of impact they want to make as Christian leaders. “Military chaplaincy offers the opportunity to commit to something larger than yourself.” Expressed Rev. Dr. Lundy. “The local church offers a very similar opportunity, however chaplaincy allows candidates to serve in a pastoral role, while simultaneously serving his or her country.”

Chaplaincy is both a rewarding and challenging experience. As spiritual leaders, chaplains are called to minister in dire and dangerous situations. Besides being spiritual leaders, chaplains are also advocates for justice and peace. “You can represent the prince of peace even in times of war,” remarked Rev. Dr. Lundy.  

The Air National Guard’s chaplaincy candidate program is designed to create a pathway that provides spiritual leadership training and everyday benefits to support seminary students considering a call to serve in chaplaincy ministry. Recently, the program was expanded to include college seniors, however it is still open to anyone attending seminary school. Additionally, students attending seminary school are eligible to receive $4,500 in tuition assistance, along with other great benefits. 

Candidates receive the opportunity to gain hands on ministry training through the summer internship program, which allows them to travel all over the world and receive mentoring from seasoned Active Duty, Reserve and Guard Chaplains. 

Students who are interested in the program must meet a series of requirements, including a physical fitness test and a security background check. The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), has a pivotal role in the process by providing official endorsing for United Methodist candidates. “The United Methodist Endorsing Agency, managed by GBHEM, is highly regarding by the Air National Guard. In fact, there have been several times when I have reached out to Mitchell Lewis, GBHEM’s director of endorsing, and have received support and guidance.” Stated Rev. Dr. Lundy. 

Through his many partnerships, Lundy supports the mission of the United Methodist Church while also delivering the work God called him to do. Outside of serving in the United Methodist Church, Lundy also shares a very special connection to Methodist history. He was born on April 23, 1968, the same day the United Methodist Church was formed at General Conference in Dallas, Texas. As he serves in a recruitment capacity, Lundy represents the gift of heeding the call from Christ. This is the same gift, hope, and dream he is so eager to share with others as they embark upon their journey of chaplaincy.

For more information on the Air National Guard chaplaincy program email kent.lundy@us.af.mil

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