With an oath to defend against enemies foreign and domestic, Adam Harwood, associate professor of theology, entered the Louisiana Army National Guard as chaplain, Feb. 24, in a swearing-in ceremony at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Harwood will serve as captain with the 205th Engineer Battalion, stationed at Bogalusa, La.
“Serving as a chaplain in the Army National Guard will allow me to serve the religious needs of Army personnel on a part-time basis while continuing to fulfill my primary and full-time calling as a seminary professor,” Harwood said.
Harwood, elected to faculty in 2013, occupies the McFarland Chair of Theology and directs the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry, serving as editor of the Journal Baptist Theology and Ministry. His wife Laura, and four children, were present for the ceremony.
True to a long family history of military and military chaplaincy service, Harwood follows his father who served thirty years as a career Navy chaplain.
In opening remarks, Col. Jeffrey Mitchell issued a charge drawing from Psalm 37 calling on Harwood to continue to "delight, commit, and trust" in the Lord.
“Your faithfulness has gotten you to this point,” Mitchell said. “You need to continue in that.”
Harwood said that twice in the last fifteen years he considered chaplaincy, but did not feel the timing was right. His years of ministerial and teaching experience made this time different, Harwood said.
“My hope is that the pastoral skills that developed while serving in church staff positions will combine with the teaching and mentoring skills that have matured while serving as a professor in order to be an effective witness for Christ in the military,” Harwood said.
Harwood added that he anticipated that his service will “enhance and enrich my teaching ministry at NOBTS where our mission is ‘to equip leaders to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandments in the local church and its ministries.’”
Harwood will serve one weekend per month and two weeks per year, but will be subject to activation in the event of a natural disaster or in war.
Maj. Page Brooks, NOBTS assistant professor of theology--ministry-based faculty, serves as Brigade Chaplain with Louisiana’s 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. A former faculty member, Rear Admiral Endel Lee, serves as Deputy Chief of Chaplains for Reserve Matters, Washington D.C.
Harwood, 42, joins at an age slightly older than most. Noting this in opening remarks, Mitchell said, “God opens doors no man can shut.”