Missouri’s National Guard has about half as many chaplains as it needs. The Guard has 21 chaplain slots but only eleven chaplains.
The Chief Chaplain of the Missouri Guard is Colonel Gary Gilmore, a Southern Baptist minister for 23 years in Waverly and Mount Vernon before he joined the Guard full time. He says it’s a challenge to be a full-time minister and a National Guard chaplain, especially on training weekends. But he says the challenges that go with the job “stretch” those who serve.
Gilmore says he won’t just take “ten guys who raise their hands.” He is looking for people who are mature and resilient enough in their own life to understand what hurting people are experiencing, but not be so clinical or tough they cannot empathize.
Gilmore says calls to active duty put a lot of presusre on the pastor, his family, and congregations. But he says his best days were those years when he served as pastor and chaplain…And he thinks he was a better pulpit minister because of the things he experienced while on his military chaplain duty.