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The Origins of the Word, Chaplain

"To be identified as a chaplain is to be part of a rich tradition that finds its roots in the fourth century. The word itself is derived from the Latin cappellanus, a title given to the priest who served as a custodian of sacred relics, which in turn was derived from capella, a 'short cloak.' The use of the term appears to have been first applied to the clergy in charge of the cloak of St. Martin of Tours (c. 316-397).

"One day, legend has it, St. Martin met a ragged beggar on the road and, out of compassion, tore his own cloak in half and gave it to the beggar. Later, Martin had a vison in which Christ appeared to him wrapped in the beggar's half of his cloak. Martin's half was later preserved; initially carried into battles by Frankish kings and later kept in a building that became known as a chapel. Eventually, anyone assigned to watch over the sanctuary where this cape or any other relic was housed came to be called a chaplain--the keeper of the cloak.

"More recently, [the term] has been used to designate clergypersons who serve any discrete groups of people in communities outside the framework of the local church or parish.... The tradition of St. Martin is a particularly fitting backdrop for the men and women who bring comfort, hope, and a message of redemption"* to those suffering from crisis and trauma.

Becoming a Serve Ministries Chaplain

What does it take to become an SMI Chaplain and how would you benefit from becoming one? It takes only a calling to serve others, the support of your church, the cost of and graduating from our 16 week online Basic Chaplains Course ($199 and meets online via Zoom once a week on Thursday evenings from 6-8 pm (CST)).

Our vision is "to have well equipped Chaplains having a positive impact on military, first responders, their families, and their communities. To remain connected with those who serve no matter where they are living or employed."

How will you benefits from becoming an SMI Chaplain? Therefore my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (NIV).


SMI Chaplain Kevin Saunders

Coast Guard Captain Kevin Saunders is a graduate of Class 21-1 on 8-18-21. Today, he is the SMI Executive Director responsible for coordinating SMI functions, local conferences promoting our Chaplains Course, fundraising and overseeing our Program Director's progress. Here he is presiding over the baptism of the Bannon family. Thank you Chaplain Saunders for your ministry and dedicated service to Serve Ministries, Inc.

SMI Basic Chaplains Course 23-1 has passed the half way point of their training. August is just around the corner! Congratulations Chaplains!

Class 23-2 starts in October '23

Sign up now!


Chief of Chaplains, Steve Walsh

SMI Class 23-1 Chaplain Joey Hay

Pastor Joey Hay and his family of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Starke, Florida recently enjoyed a very successful missionary trip to Romania. Congratulations Chaplain! Your labor in the Lord is not lost (1 Cor. 15.58, NIV).

Check out other recent activities on our website!


Virtual Leadership Ethics Course

Serve Ministries, Inc. (SMI) has joined with Pointman Leadership Institute (PLI) in providing a Virtual Leadership Ethics Course (VLEC). "Pointman instruction, built on time-tested, universal principles, will help you and your management team develop into more dynamic personal leaders. From this training, participants discover that leadership is more about who you are than what skills you possess" (PLI). Coupled with Serve Ministries' online platform and proven teaching methodology, this partnership will challenge and prepare many to influence their subordinates, peers, and leaders with ethical leadership. The pilot course is currently underway with the first course tentatively planned for late September 2023.

We will publish registration and other specifics in the SMI September 2023 Newsletter.

SMI Supported Ministries

SMI Chaplains serve a vast array of ministries:

Chester County Prison

CISM Peer Support Team 4


Refined Ministries

Stabilizing Life Christian Ministries

The Cross, No Longer I

and many, many more . . .

Legacy Program

Donor Levels






SMI Ministries

Course Scholarships

Chaplain Support

and more . . .

Platinum Legacy - $500 per/mo. for 12 consecutive months or one $6,000 lump sum donation.

Gold Legacy - $100 per/mo. for 12 consecutive months or one $1,200 lump sum donation.

Silver Legacy - $50 per/mo. for 12 consecutive months or one $600 lump sum donation.

Bronze Legacy - $25 per/mo. for 12 consecutive months or one $300 lump sum donation.

SMI is a 100% volunteer ministry. No one is compensated for their time and/or services.

Serve Ministries, Inc. (SMI) is an Official Ecclesiastical Endorsing Agency for Veterans Affairs Chaplaincy. Please contact us if you are interested in becoming a Full-Time Employed Chaplain for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Chaplain on "the Move"

These days, Daniel Gilyeat enjoys life in the panhandle of Florida (Navarre) with his wife Ana and seven children (about the size of this writer's HS varsity basket ball team). The family recently traveled to the Northwest (Montana, Wyoming and Colorado) enjoying family fellowship and the awe and majesty of God's creation.

When Daniel travels, in or on his collection of hot wheels (U.S.M.C. flaming hot 2006 Dodge pick'em-up truck, his Johnny Cash, 'One Piece at a Time' Harley Davidson, or his terrain grabbing steel blue wheel-track), he does so in style. When asked if he ever lets Ana take the wheel, he says nope and points to the Camel!

We got news for you Sergeant Dan, don't be deceived by that 30 kph (18.6 mph) speed limit sign above that Bactrian's head. Camel's can run up to 40 mph (on a drag strip). You put her on that camel and we're betting she'll have the last laugh!

Chaplain Gilyeat is this month's SMI Chaplain on "the Move!"


The Raging War Within

Veterans and first responders know the impacts of their service, especially if they have experienced crisis and trauma. It is an inevitable reality for anyone who comes into harm's way. In these pressing times, God is calling on men and women who have served at an extraordinary high rate to be "ambassadors of Christ" to minister to others who are suffering. To minister effectively to our nation's heroes, you must first embark on a special mission. You will need to conduct the critical analysis of your journey and why you had to weather the storm.

How do you begin the journey out of fear, anxiety and depression?

Most self-help techniques only look at one or two areas to fix the entire human being. A holistic approach is needed to most effectively take you to your next destination. "Flight out of Darkness" is a first-hand example of how to implement scripture into challenging life situations and begin recovery from chaos. Learn how God can use your strengths to repair your wounds and return you to wholeness.

You're not alone, not ever.

Suicide is not a title or action for those who have completed the act, but rather, an eternal consequence endured by those left behind. We live in a world of opposites. If there is day, there is night. If there is life, there is death. If there is Heaven, there is Hell. If there is nothing, there is something. Because we live a physical life and die a physical death, we also live a spiritual life and die a spiritual death. I do not know why this is so hard for people to understand. What is the disposition of the soul of one who completes the act of suicide?

Podcast or Book

The Watchman podcast is hosted by John Newby, an SMI Community Chaplain and active police officer in North West Florida. His purpose is to Serve With Those Who Serve. The beauty of this effort is that you will be hearing from current and former military and veterans, law enforcement and first responders who want to help others get through the tough times. John hopes to help others understand the deep nature of serving while working to lead others through SMI's H3 Cycle - Hurting, Healing, Helping!

* Beckner, W. Thomas. Correctional Chaplains: Keepers of the Cloak. Orlando, FL: Cappella Press, 2012. pp 1-2.

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Serve Ministries, Inc (SMI) is a 501 (c) (3) Non-Profit Organization.

All donations are deductible under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 170.

Employer Identification Number: 83-2877800

P.O. Box 218, Niceville, FL 32588