Military service men and women endure rigorous training and demonstrate rugged heroism, but that doesn’t make them invincible. In fact, they are subject to unique and sometimes extreme difficulties because of their vocation, according to Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) in Wake Forest.
Military personnel are sometimes subject to extreme difficulties because of their vocation. An upcoming conference – Spiritual Resilience Conference – is designed to encourage these men and women as well as those who work with them.
“Those who serve in our military are heroes and persons who make incredible sacrifices,” he said in an email to the Biblical Recorder. “They also are normal human beings who are vulnerable, under enormous pressure and subject to sorrow and hurt in so many ways.”
Akin is one of the speakers for an upcoming conference meant to encourage those in the military community who may be suffering. The event is called the “Spiritual Resilience Conference,” scheduled Oct. 28-29 at Braggtown Baptist Church in Durham.
Eric Burmahl, lead pastor of Braggtown and conference organizer, wrote on the event’s website, “Resilience. It is a word that is used often in the military context. You hear references such as ‘we bend but do not break.’ That sounds very noble but many in the military community (current and veteran) are struggling.
“In addition to [the] demands of duty, our active/guard/reserve forces are experiencing multiple deployments, sexual assault, suicide and broken marriages. Many of our veterans are not receiving the care that they need from our [Veterans Affairs] system, are homeless, are abusing substances and are dealing with the effects of post traumatic stress disorder.”
Akin said, “This conference is designed to love [the military community], serve them and minister to their souls the healing and strengthening truths of Scripture. I am honored to be a part of it. It gives me, in a very small way, the opportunity to say thank you!”
In addition to Akin and Burmahl, other speakers include Bobby Welch, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention; Douglas Carver, retired U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains (Major General) and executive director of chaplain services for the North American Mission Board; Larry Purcell, SEBTS associate dean and professor of leadership and discipleship; Wes Modder, retired military chaplain and president of Freedom to Stand Ministries; Sonny Hernandez, military chaplain; Michael Berry, senior counsel and director of military affairs for First Liberty Institute; and Jonathan Dowty, author and military fighter pilot.
Berry said in an email to the Recorder that Christians should join the military and remain there long-term.
“There is growing hostility to religion and religious freedom in America,” he said, “and the military is no exception.”
Berry continued, “If our service members are to be spiritually resilient, they must be free and unafraid to live out their faith. Our brave military men and women must understand that resilience only forms when there is challenge. Therefore, they must not only be physically fit, morally fit and mentally fit, but they must be spiritually fit.”
Conference attendees can hear Berry expand on the topic during his talk, “Christian Rights in the Battle of Religious Liberty.”
Visit bbcdurham.com for more information.