By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Lewis Holston serves as a loadmaster on planes that drop paratroopers and cargo into combat zones.
On a recent six-month deployment to a remote hotspot, Holston — a deacon of the WindSong Church of Christ in North Little Rock, Ark. — searched for fellow Christians with whom to worship.
Dennis Saucier, director of the American Military Evangelizing Nations ministry, known as AMEN, connected the 26-year Air Force veteran with a few other members of Churches of Christ.
Two stateside Christians with military backgrounds — John Phillis of the Northeast Church of Christ in Albuquerque, N.M., and Stephen Paul Wolfe of the Edgemere Church of Christ in Wichita Falls, Texas — supplied songbooks and worship materials.
“The AMEN program is only as successful as the military member allows,” Holston said. “It is very easy to deploy and forget about everything but the mission.”
As Saucier points out, the U.S. Armed Forces represent a distinct subculture of American life, presenting opportunities — and challenges — for church leaders.
“As in any missionary endeavor, it is important to understand the culture you are trying to reach, just as Paul did when reaching out to either the Jewish or Gentile communities,” said Saucier, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who served as a chaplain.
To help improve outreach to service personnel, three ministries associated with Churches of Christ recently convened a meeting to discuss each group’s mission, goals and methods for ministering to the Christian military community, organizers said.
This story appears in the July 2017 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.