What Fires-up the Fire Chaplain
Emergency Services Chaplain Bill Lotz
When I was a parish pastor (my, that seems like ages ago) much of my ministry was quite clearly defined. The membership of the church was defined by a roster. The outreach was limited to my geographical community. When I began serving as an Emergency Service Chaplain an exciting thing happened: the clearly defined lines went away!
Now my congregation is defined by a line encompassing anyone who is experiencing an emergency crisis at any point in time. The individual people in my congregation change each moment, but I am consistently reaching out to those who are in the circle of emergency need.
The specifics of my ministry change as much as the circle does. Each call is different.
At one call I may be sitting quietly and supportively with someone who has just lost their home to a fire. Next call I may be praying with a mother whose son has just committed suicide.
At another call I might be mobilizing a victim’s faith community to help them recover from an emergency medical need. All of the calls, whether day or night, require the chaplain to become the physical presence of a loving God. Our emergency service chaplain volunteers not only “bring” the peace of God, but they “are” the peace of God, that which passes all understanding during times which tend to be anything but peaceful.
What fires up the fire chaplain? Seeing God at work in the midst of emergency crisis and having the awesome privilege to join Him there. The lady that serves me coffee at the corner café often remarks that she doesn’t know how I handle my job. This ministry does come with its share of stress, but just riding along on God’s tailboard as He touches people’s lives puts a spark in this fire chaplain’s heart.