CALLAWAY, Md.—After serving in the Army for 20 years, retired Army Master Sergeant Daniel Moore, now pastor of Callaway Church in Callaway, Md., worked for the Frederick County’s (Maryland) Social Services. He called that time an “eye-opening experience” which opened his heart to ministering to families in need.
Drawing from his own experiences in the military and working with the government, the pastor seeks to minister to the many military families that surround his Southern Maryland church. He offers the following suggestions for others who are interested in doing the same in their own communities.
Visit local veterans’ centers and offer regular worship services and Bible studies.
Presently, Moore holds two worship services each week at nearby Charlotte Hall Veteran’s Home. In addition, he leads a Bible study for the former enlisted men and women.
“These seniors want to keep active, and it’s a great opportunity to share about Jesus with them,” Moore notes, adding that he has had the opportunity to lead several veterans to Christ. He has been able to encourage others, many who know the words of hymns by heart, in their faith.
Encourage those on active duty by sending care packages and notes of encouragement.
On holidays, Callaway Church’s Woman’s Missionary Union and other church members work together to make care packages to send to enlisted church members who are away on active duty. This simple act of kindness reassures the soldiers that someone back home is praying for them.
Build partnerships with area military educational institutions.
For the past 13 years, Callaway has served as a place of Protestant worship for the nearby Harry Lundeberg Seamanship School in Piney Point, Md. As a result, the school now transports students to weekly church services so that they can participate first-hand in worship at the church and be a part of the local church body.
Honor veterans and/or active military personnel on special holidays.
Each year on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, Callaway Church leaders recognize and pray for those who have been involved in the military or who have had family members involved in the military.
Set aside money in a missions fund to assist military families.
Working with “Partners in Care,” Callaway Church knows that families left behind when their loved ones are deployed will have unforeseen needs. And they want to be prepared. Accordingly, they have begun to reserve part of their offerings in a missions fund to assist these families with their practical, financial, and other needs.
Get out in the community.
Callaway Church also networks with other neighboring churches to do outreach in parks and other areas where military families tend to spend time. In addition to benefiting from the outreach personally, these families have a chance to see the church in action, which encourages their participation.
“We’ve had families join our church just because they have seen us actually doing ministry,” Moore says.
As he looks back on all the ways Callaway Church ministers, Moore affirms, “God does big things in small churches!”
Even though his church has just over 100 members, mostly because of the transient nature of the area, it is very mission-minded, he says.
“Most people move away when they’ve completed their military duties here, but it is our hope to touch them with the Gospel before they leave.”
BCM/D National Correspondent