We give our nation’s military service members the training they need to accomplish their missions during deployment, but what resources await them back home? Church congregations play a unique and vital role in the reentry and reintegration process post-deployment. Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn… In all seasons of life and with all that life entails, our congregations have resources to engage challenges and make the most of opportunities. Post-deployment reentry and reintegration presents many challenges and opportunities. Will we answer the call to work along side our nation’s veterans and their families?
Here are 10 things to remember when ministering to our veterans:
- Reaching out to our nation’s veterans and their families is not charity.
- Ministry with veterans and their families is not about helping them; it’s about how we can help each other.
- The only way to know something about military service, is to know someone who has served.
- Military service can mean a lot of different things to a veteran, so ask.
- Veterans aren’t the only ones serving our nation; military families make sacrifices every day. Their courage and resilience too often go unnoticed and unacknowledged.
- Veterans deserve more than medical care, they deserve meaningful opportunities to continue to serve this nation at home.
- PTSD is sometimes called an invisible injury, but its impact on veterans and military families is evident to all those with the eyes to see.
- Being in trustworthy relationship with a veteran isn’t about knowing all about his/her problems, it’s about knowing yourself, and showing up authentically, compassionately, and persistently.
- Military deployments are stressful, but there is a lot of stress after deployments too.
- Your church doesn’t need to be a mental health clinic; your church needs to be church.
Rev. Dr. Zachary Moon, Ph.D., is the author of Coming Home: Ministry That Matters with Veterans and Military Families, available HERE.