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2012 Mission Conference – Chaplain John Murdoch (by Jonita Barram)

(Chaplain John Murdoch)

The 2012 Annual Missions Conference began Friday night, Feb. 24, with Chaplain John Murdoch speaking. He also presented his ministry at the Saturday-morning round robin and took part in the Sunday-night question-and-answer time. So, over three days, we learned that he was a youth pastor when he joined the Civil Air Patrol (the volunteer U.S. Air Force Auxiliary). Over the years, he earned the rank of full colonel in the CAP. That’s why he is called “Col. Murdoch” and wears a colonel’s uniform.

But his ministry today goes beyond being a CAP chaplain. He is the director of the Regular Baptist Chaplaincy, a ministry of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches. In his role as director, he

“ministers to the needs of Regular Baptist chaplaincy families and communicates to churches the challenges of outreach through military, institutional, and community service chaplaincy.”

Chaplain Murdoch’s sense of humor and stories make him easy to listen to. On Friday night he shared a three-point outline from Exodus 4, the text for the conference theme, “What Is That in Your Hand?” He talked about (God’s) Plan, (Moses’) Problems, and the Proclaimer. He showed us how God used what Moses had in his hand—his shepherd’s rod (vv. 2–16)—and how it became “the rod of God” to accomplish God’s plan. Chaplain Murdoch reminded us that God can use whatever we have in our hands, even something as humble as a shepherd’s rod.

During the round robin, Chaplain Murdoch explained how in the U.S. military, he is a civilian representative of a faith group (the GARBC) and is endowed by the Department of Defense with the authority of a general. But because he is really a civilian, the responsibility for his finances lies with his faith group, not with the U.S. military or government. Part of his job is to help chaplains “minister cooperatively without compromise.” In a sense, he is their pastor. His role with churches is liaison between them and the chaplains on behalf of soldiers. But John’s ministry is not limited to the military chaplaincy. He also oversees and ministers to institutional and community-service chaplains.

In addition to sharing God’s Word and his ministry, Col. Murdoch brought his wife, Hope, and he sang for us. Sunday night he sang the much-requested “God Bless the USA.” Chaplain Murdoch has a website, where you can read about his ministry.

Other Posts from the 2012 Mission Conference: