Ministry in Austerity: Making the Most out of a Difficult Situation

By Chaplain Sean Callahan, US Army, Middle East

The greatest blessing this quarter has been to minister to our Paratroopers in a very austere environment in the Middle East. There are no other Chaplains in my area of operation, and only occasionally do we have one pass through to provide support to some of our low-density faith groups. This has been a blessing and a challenge: we provide area coverage, but also have the freedom to shape the religious support environment, which has been very fulfilling.

The many locations we have has presented a unique challenge for ministry. That, and the lack of connectivity at times, makes it hard to “livestream” anything. What we’ve done instead is pre-record Sunday services and post them on a YouTube channel. This way, Paratroopers can access them and pre-buffer them before watching. Additionally, we’ve tried to build ministry teams at each location: Paratroopers who want to spearhead a gathering where they read the Scripture, sing songs, prayer together, and then listen to the sermon. This has enabled our UMT to provide consistency with messages and services despite the fact that we only get to each location once a month. I’ve received a lot of good feedback.

Additionally, we’ve leveraged Zoom and other media to provide one-on-one discipleship and small discipleship huddles. There have been several Paratroopers who have expressed a desire to go deeper, and so we meet as regularly as we can to discuss the Word and spiritual formation. There are two in particular who want to go into ministry in the future, and they have been key to providing help in our services.

As the deployment continues, we pray that God blesses us with opportunities to bring Paratroopers together to worship our Lord, to deepen their relationship with Him, and to bring Him glory in their daily lives. Please pray for their safety, provision for their families at home, and the strength to keep our focus until the very end.

Please pray for:

1. Continued safety for our Paratroopers and open doors for the Gospel
2. Katie’s pregnancy as she is due in mid-March
3. Focus and strength to “finish strong” on the deployment

Chaplain Callahan’s update reminds us that many of our service members currently battle more than a virus. Pray for Sean and his deployed paratroopers as they battle a determined enemy in an austere environment. He is one of 200 chaplains in our network of military and civilian ministry specialists who face life-and-death situations, daily. Ask God to guide and sustain them and their families as they follow their unique call to ministry.

For more stories by and about CBAmerica’s 200 chaplains, younger and older, visit Chaplaincy – CBAmerica. For information on chaplain endorsement, email Randy Brandt, Director, at

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