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October-November 2023

Forging Ahead


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REFRESH | Two Ministry Opportunities


The Chaplaincy

Free Will Baptists can trace our history to 1727, and for almost 300 years we have worked to be faithful to Christ’s command to extend His witness and build His Church worldwide. Over time, new and unique opportunities arose for Free Will Baptists in fulfilling this command. Church planting, both at home and internationally; evangelization; Christian education; music ministry; community outreach; and military chaplaincy have all played an important role in making us who we are and helping us build God’s Kingdom at home and abroad.

Free Will Baptists have a rich legacy of serving our nation and our fellow man. The founding father of Free Will Baptists in New England, Benjamin Randall, served as a patriot and soldier during the Revolutionary War. He not only performed duties as an assistant commissary, but he also reenlisted in September 1776 as a soldier and served for a year and a half. His commanding officer commended Sergeant Randall’s stellar character as a soldier. He also wrote of Randall’s religious duties and obligations, noting Randall visited the sick and provided worship services for other soldiers, which sounds much like the duties of our modern chaplains.

From the beginning of our nation’s history, Free Will Baptists have willingly and faithfully served in the ranks of every U.S. military branch. In 1967, Home Missions, now North American Ministries, endorsed its first minister following God’s call to serve in the American Armed Forces as a chaplain. This was an important step in Free Will Baptist history and a new ministry path for the denomination’s future.

As He always does, God provided a trailblazing individual for this most important calling. Gerald Mangham emerged to fill this awesome ministry and went on to become our first Free Will Baptist military chaplain in 1967. It was only the beginning. Following Chaplain Mangham came Chaplains Nedo Eddy, Jim Bishop, Larry Langford, Kerry Steedly, and Bob Cooper sequentially.

Since endorsing Chaplain Mangham, this ministry has continued to grow and expand along with other national agencies that have expanded and followed new opportunities to go into the world and tell the good news of Jesus Christ. As long as our world needs Jesus, our mission field will exist, and workers will continue being called to go.

The military chaplain’s ministry will continue to march into the future by expanding and organizing to prepare our ministers to serve God and country as military chaplains. And you can rest assured, based on our world today, we will need our military until Jesus comes for His Church. We will need America’s sons and daughters to serve and fight for our freedoms. And, we will need to minister to our military at home and abroad, in times of peace and war.

Are you willing to answer the call?


About the Columnist: Retired chaplain Terry Austin serves as the chaplain support officer for North American Ministries. Contact Terry or learn more about the chaplaincy:



Operation Restoration: Helping a Church Near You

Several years ago, under the direction of then-director Tom Dooley, Master’s Men started a program called Operation Saturation. The goal of the program was to assist a church plant by distributing information about the church to the surrounding community.

As a result, many people volunteered, and their involvement added to the success of the new church. And, not only were the new churches helped, but many pastors reported their people would come back and ask, “Why can’t we do this for our church, too?”

Earlier this year, Executive Secretary Eddie Moody and I were discussing the emphasis on church revitalization. Through the availability of Rekindle coaches trained by the Executive Office and NAM, numerous churches have begun to take advantage of revitalization possibilities. During our conversation, the subject of physical church buildings and properties came up. Often, when a church is struggling, the church property itself may be neglected.

Recently, the Salem Association in Florida took on the task of helping restore one of its churches. After considering ways they could work together to support the Sneads FWB Church, people from association churches joined with Sneads Church members to work on the needs of their facility. The Florida Mission Board provided financial resources. What a great example of churches working together to help one another!

I suggested to Dr. Moody that Master’s Men would love to spearhead similar restoration projects. The purpose and plan of Operation Restoration (as we have decided to name the program) is simple. For any church going through a revitalization program, Master’s Men will help recruit volunteers from local area churches to spend a day or longer helping that church with needed repairs and updates. This could include things as simple as pressure washing, painting, and landscaping but might also include a host of other tasks that could enhance the appeal of the building.

As we launch Operation Restoration, your church may soon hear from us if there is a need in your area. No funds have been budgeted for this project. It will be left to the association, church, or group of volunteers to help with the costs. However, an Operation Restoration fund has been set up through the Executive Office to hold donations should a church or individual wish to contribute.

We should never exhibit a prideful spirit of competition between churches. We all should have the same goal and desire: to see the lost come to Christ. Through Operation Restoration, Free Will Baptist churches can come together to help one another grow and thrive. When we are willing to work together, God can accomplish great things through us for His glory!


About the Columnist: Ken Akers is the director of Master’s Men and the CFO of North American Ministries and CELF. For more information, email

©2023 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists