Chaplain's Blog Date:
Friday, September 24, 2021
Good afternoon FUMA family. My name is Ben Jamison and I'm the new Chaplain here at Fork Union Military Academy. Scripture declares to us in 1st John, "We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us." (1 John 1:3a) John opens his letter in this way because there is power in telling the story of what God is doing. It draws us all together and proclaims that God is active and working to overcome the darkness of our world. I want to share the stories of the great things God is doing so I'm starting a weekly blog so you can hear about the work here on campus. Check back every week and I hope that it will encourage you in the faith.
I look forward to getting to know you over the course of this year so here's a little bit of my story. I have served in a variety of roles over my nearly twenty years in ministry. I've pastored three churches, been a student ministry and chaplain but through it all, my central passion is to develop Christian leaders who can advance God's kingdom in our world. I think clarity is important so let's unpack what this means.
Leadership guru, John Maxwell, once said, "Leadership is about influence. Nothing else." Leaders influence others towards something. I love that Fork Union Military Academy is in the business of training young men to lead. Our cadets learn that they can influence others and how to harness that influence in a way that can achieve great things.
What does that mean for people of faith? As a Virginia Tech grad, I am emphatically not a fan of Clemson however, I do have great respect for their coach, Dabo Swinney. He is a man of God who once said, "I will be accountable to God for this: what did I do with all those kids he gave me? What did I do to build his kingdom?" In other words, his job is to influence kids to win football games but, from a faith perspective, football is just a platform to advance God's kingdom. It's worth remembering that whatever position we've been given, teacher, coach, CEO, homemaker, student, etc. is our platform to influence people for Christ. The cadets of today will go on to lead the world of tomorrow. I want to equip them to use these platforms as business, political and faith leaders, to lead our nation and world into something that glorifies God.
Think about the story of our faith for a moment. Jesus took twelve men and a handful of others and radically reshaped our world. Just think about what God can do through the lives of our 289 cadets! I'm excited to be a part of that kind of story. In fact, we're already seeing some young men step up in faith leadership. Allow me to introduce you to two cadets who are helping with the chaplaincy work on campus.
Cadet Elonzo Burroughs is one of our PG football players and is new to the FUMA family. After having powerful God moment at our FCA Bible study with MAJ Gary Leydig, Burroughs started praying with his fellow PGs every night. Within a week, he was leading prayer at morning chapel, inspiring his fellow players to help with chapel services and even preached at Sunday service.
Cadet Brandon Austin is a senior who is serving as a Platoon Leader for Bravo Company. After experiencing a sense that God was calling him to serve more, he also began praying with his fellow cadets. He now leads both the nightly prayers before taps and the pastoral prayer during Sunday morning worship.
Both of these young men are already making a tremendous impact which is influencing other cadets to step up to lead out in faith. I look forward to sharing their stories with you in the coming weeks. Until then, pray that God will continue this exciting work in our cadets.