Chaplains Witnessing a Harvest in the Military
Jesus told his disciples that the fields are ripe for harvest. Chaplain Brian Shearer, an Assemblies of God endorsed military chaplain, has seen this firsthand.
Since he started preaching and ministering in April 2017 at Marine Combat Training (MCT) at Camp Devil Dog and Camp Geiger, located in the Camp Lejeune area in North Carolina, Shearer has seen “God increasingly moving there.” He says many have come to faith in Christ, received physical healing and baptized in the services.
“I have been praying with people for salvation and healing, but usually just a handful at a time since I started helping there in April,” Shearer says. “Recently, God is increasingly moving there. I’m not preaching on healing, but I preach the gospel always. I have been mentoring a junior chaplain. Chaplain John Knipp is a Southern Baptist with great faith, and he is all about getting Marines saved and baptized. He usually sees 10 to 20 baptized on any given Sunday for the graduating class. Bottom Line: the harvest is ripe and we have been harvesting!”
For example, in a recent two-week span in October 2017, 48 Marines accepted Christ as Savior, 12 received physical healing, and seven were baptized in the services.
Serving in the military is a lifelong passion for Shearer, who has been in the Armed Forces for 32 years. For 14 years, he was on active duty as a Navy chaplain. He has served in five Navy and five Marine commands.
“I started as an infantry Marine in 1982,” recalls Shearer, 54, who was a Marine rifleman in the Corps from 1982 to 1986. “At the time I was an alcoholic, atheist, thief, heading down a very bad path that led to death or jail. Hence, I started out my Infantry training at Camp Geiger after Paris Island, North Carolina, in 1982. So that is my big draw when preaching at MCT. I walked that path as a young Marine. I always work in my testimony.”
He has plenty of opportunity to share his testimony as Shearer ministers to about 400 to 750 Marines in three services on any given Sunday. Shearer and other chaplains also typically pray for 50 to 100 Marines each week.
“MCT is required for all Marines that are not infantry directly after boot camp — 29 days of continuous combat training,” explains Shearer, who is retiring in January. “They learn basic infantry skills and tactics. They do long road marches and sleep in the field. The training is quite tough and continuous so the chapel service becomes a great outlet/reprieve from training.
“They are still adapting to the Marine Corps life so many miss home and are not sure if they are going to make it through the training,” he adds. “Just like boot camp, the Marines are looking to get relief and reprieve away from instructors. They are in a great place to be open to receive from God.”
Private Brian Garrard, who is from Marietta, Georgia, appreciates the chaplains’ ministry.
“I am thankful for the ministry of the chaplains here,” he says. “God has used them to help me to grow freer and closer to Christ during my time here at MCT.”
Private Alicia Schmeichel, who is from Buffalo, New York, was healed during one of the services after Shearer prayed for her injured left ankle and right knee.
“God healed my ankle and knee, so I was able to finish my last two weeks of MCT with no pain or issues in my knee or ankle,” she says.
Knipp says the chaplains are seeing signs and wonders during the services.
“When Chaplain Shearer preaches, Marines consistently come forward to pray for salvation and healing,” he explains. “He offers great, clear invitations and the Marines respond. Then God shows up and does amazing work! Marines are moved and praying for Jesus, while others experience immediate, miraculous healing — usually through the laying on of hands. Chaplain Shearer has also been a priceless mentor, offering his experience as a longtime chaplain and radically saved follower of Christ to help me grow as a man and as a minister.”
Chaplain (COL) Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret), military representative and endorser for the Assemblies of God, has known Chaplain Shearer since the late 90s. He says of Chaplain Shearer, “Brian has been the consummate military chaplain — great military bearing, physically fit, energetic, and always passionate to tell his warriors about Jesus.”
Shearer adds: “My greatest satisfaction of being a chaplain is seeing people come to faith in Christ and see believers built up in their faith. I love watching God reveal His power and holiness among the Marines. Marines are asking for prayer for physical healing because they are seeing and hearing that other Marines are getting healed. I see God revealing His power, which gets the millennials’ attention. It confirms the truth of the simple gospel, and God’s power and ultimate reality.”