Seminary Student Johnson Targets Chaplaincy

Charlie JohnsonCharlie Johnson was happily traveling his life’s path when a red light from God forced him to change direction.

At least, he thinks it was red.

“I came from a military family, and I always wanted to be a helicopter pilot,” Johnson said. “I felt that way until the day they told me I was color blind.”

Johnson, disqualified from his boyhood dream, began to consider other options. He planned to pursue a degree in meteorology before recognizing God’s call to ministry at a camp chapel session during the summer before his senior year in high school. Today, Johnson is studying to earn a Master of Divinity degree from Maranatha Baptist Seminary and targeting a military chaplaincy with the Air Force when he graduates.

The 24-year-old from Parkersburg, WV, picked Maranatha for seminary in the fall of 2010 after earning his undergraduate degree. He is scheduled to complete his seminary degree in May, 2013, and be commissioned as a chaplain candidate in the Air Force.

“The list of Department of Defense-approved seminaries that are both accredited and conservative is a very short one,” Johnson said. “Maranatha’s MDiv program met the highest possible (academic) standard, the classes teach us to interact with theological concepts rather than regurgitate them, and the Graduate Assistant program was as good as it gets in terms of financial assistance.”

Johnson’s work as a Graduate Assistant in Facilities Management helps pay the school bill. He will meet his military obligations during the next two summers—a four-week commissioned officer training school, a two-week chaplain candidate course, and two 35-day active duty internships.

“This is the perfect way for me to fulfill God’s calling for my life as well as my desire for a military career,” said Johnson, commissioned as a Second Lieutenant after earning his bachelor’s degree. “Chaplains teach ethics classes during (military) professional development schools, so I feel like I can be a positive influence in that way. But, most of all, I’m going to be a spiritual caregiver for a lot of people. That is the part I’m really looking forward to.”

Read more about Maranatha’s chaplaincy program here.