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Chaplain Advisory for NSD
July 09, 2014

Chaplains from across the Northern Asia-Pacific Division gathered at the Division office in Ilsan from June 23-26, 2014. The first two days were specifically to train chaplain leaders from the Division, Unions, and Conferences. The second two days were for all chaplains.

We were blessed to have as guest speakers two chaplains from the General Conference world headquarters. Gary Councell, the director of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministry for the world church was joined by Mario Ceballos associate director for Adventist Chaplaincy Ministry.

Pastor Councell is a retired US Army Colonel who has served as a chaplain in many places around the world. Pastor Councell has in the past served as a local church pastor.  He is still active in pastoral ministry in his local church.

His passion for the ministry of chaplains was evident in his presentations. Chaplain Councell said, “I see chaplains as pastors in organizations and institutions who are in situations that allow them to share the love of God that most other pastors are not even allowed to enter. Adventist Chaplains are trusted and accountable stewards of God’s Word that are worthy of the enabling support from their church.”

Pastor Ceballos served the church for many years as a local church pastor, then as a conference youth leader. Chaplain Ceballos also served many years as a chaplain in the US Navy. Today along with his responsibility of serving chaplains around the world, Dr. Ceballos teaches classes for chaplain ministry in several universities and colleges around the world.

Chaplain Ceballos sees Chaplain ministry as important for the future of ministry in our church.  He says, “I believe in training and nurturing ministers serving God in all aspects of ministry, and especially in the field of chaplaincy.”

Monday and Tuesday brought together the chaplain leaders from around the NSD.  Through the day our guest speakers shared on many important topics. We were given an introduction into the types of ministries of Chaplains. Chaplains serve in hospitals, schools, universities, militaries around the world, prisons, and other institutions.  Then we learned about current Chaplain ministry policies, standards, credentialing, and training.

On Wednesday and Thursday we were joined by over 60 chaplains from across the Division. Most of our chaplains were from hospitals and educational institutions. In the morning we had joint sessions that covered training and ethics for Chaplains, suicide prevention, and ministry to the greater community around us. In the afternoon we split into two groups with emphasis on hospital Chaplain ministry and education institution chaplain ministry. Hospital chaplains were trained in ministry to the grieving and patients in a healthcare setting, along with discussions on bio-ethics.Campus Chaplains were trained in the uniqueness of campus chaplaincy and developing a spiritual master plan for the institution.

One Chaplain said, “I really appreciate the emphasis that is being shared that we are to be evangelistic in our ministry since we work with so many who are not Adventists or even Christian.” Another chaplain commented, “I like the challenge given for us to be involved in a local Adventist church in ministry.  I will be serving there more fully in the future.” Still another Chaplain shared, “I will seek to apply the skills I have learned here to my day to day ministry.”

The Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries Department of the General Conference serves as the denomination’s liaison with ecclesiastical, government, and professional organizations. Adventist Chaplain Ministries assists qualified Adventist clergy to transition from pastoral ministry into the chaplaincy ministries of campus, community, corrections, health care, military, and the work place.  The qualifications required to become a Chaplain are church membership in regular standing, holding a current denominational commissioned or ministerial license, meeting all requirements of the employing agency and obtaining ecclesiastical endorsement from the Adventist Chaplaincy Committee.

If you would like to learn more about Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries please visit their web site at