Article by: Suzanne R. Holsomback
In May 2008, Will Alley completed his journey at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, crossed the stage, and received his seminary diploma. The years of education and experience during seminary prepared Will for the next chapter in his life - Army Chaplaincy.
After graduating from the Virginia Military Institute in 2001, Will fulfilled his ROTC commitment and accepted a position in the Army. The Army commissioned Will as a Second Lieutenant and deployed him to Iraq in the fall of 2003. It was during this time that Will began thinking about his future plans. He realized that after he returned to the United States, he would have a year left on his active duty commitment, in which he could prepare for a profession in the Army or a civilian career. As he and his wife Jessica prayed, meditated on scripture, and sought guidance on Will's next step, the desire for ministry began to develop in Will's heart and mind.
Will says, "I had many opportunities before me, but none of them seemed right. As I continued to pray, a third option began to appear...ministry. Being a preacher's kid, growing up I had no desire to be a minister, but now I felt God calling me there." Will relates that as he tried to ignore the idea of ministry, it consumed his thoughts. "Finally I gave in realizing that I gave my life to [God] a long time ago, so I needed to hand over my career and future to him as well. By that time the call had come into focus as specifically being a call to minister to military families as an Army Chaplain."
As Will accepted his call to military chaplaincy, he prayed that the decision would be confirmed through Jessica who in Will's mind was resolute on returning to Virginia. During an email exchange a few days later, Jessica told him that she and her mentor at church had discussed Will's future. He says, she "blurted out from nowhere that she thought I would make a great Army chaplain. When I read that email, I could not respond quick enough with 'well you won't believe what God has just laid on my heart!'"
When Will returned, he discussed his calling with his pastor at First Baptist Church in Belton, Texas and learned that the church desired to begin a ministry to military families. Will's call and the church's new direction matched perfectly. The church hired Will as Minister to Military Families as he began his seminary studies at Truett.
Over the past three years, Will and FBC Belton have ministered to family members of soldiers and soldiers who are being deployed and those who have returned. One area of ministry that Will saw grow was the work with soldiers recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Thinking about one particular soldier in his Bible study, he says he learned a great deal about healing and faith while watching the soldier recover from the trauma he experienced. Will smiles and says that he has seen God move in soldier's lives and in the lives of their families in incredible ways.
Will is spending the summer completing his army chaplaincy training in South Carolina and returns to Fort Hood, Texas in September to await deployment. Will says, "I know God is with me and that if I continue to lean on him for guidance and strength he will not let me fail. I am very excited to begin this new phase of the journey."
If you would like more information about ministry to Military Families through First Baptist Church Belton, please visit their blog site: http://militaryministry.wordpress.com/.