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November 12, 2017 is
Orphan Sunday


Community Clergy Training
from the VA -
Pastoral care for rural
veterans and families.
Various locations/dates.









As a country, we have a responsibility to show gratitude and support to those who have served in our armed forces, by assisting them with their return to civilian life and making sure they have the healthcare, counseling, job opportunities, and other resources they need. However, not all communities have a conveniently located Veterans Administration facility, and many veterans face challenges in accessing the services they need.
Communities, including churches, can help.


In this Veterans Day series from the VA, "What Veterans Day Means to Me," a Vietnam veteran explains the importance of community.
"In that moment where a fellow human being is willing to lay down his or her life to save another,
humanity transcends war.
Once you get a glimpse of that selfless love, it stays with you for the rest of your life."


The need is real: FAQs and statistics

Many communities have made great strides toward ending veteran homelessness, but still in 2016, over 39,000 veterans were estimated to be homeless on a given night. Homeless veterans are mostly male, disproportionately black, and often have a physical or mental disability.

PTSD is a very real problem among veterans, but it is also complex and difficult to define. Estimates of PTSD incidence among veterans vary as high as 31%, with up to half of those not receiving treatment.

Sources and additional information:

Veterans Administration Office of Public Affairs

Department of Housing and Urban Development - Estimate of Homeless Veterans

U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness

National Alliance to End Homelessness - This site lists federal programs serving homeless veterans and contains articles about risk factors to veterans, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Newsmax - Assorted feature articles with links to statistics

Veterans and PTSD website


What churches and individuals can do

  • Become knowledgeable about resources and services available through the VA and encourage individual veterans in your sphere of influence to use them. Look for gaps veterans might have in accessing services--transportation, accountability, technology, etc.--and work to address them.
  • Become familiar with the Chaplaincy department of U.S. Missions and other VA chaplains. Get acquainted with the chaplain(s) at VA facilities near you, and ask them how you or your church can serve.
  • Find out what is already being done by other organizations in your community to serve veterans and address issues such as homelessness and substance abuse. Attend any group meetings and see if there is a need you or your church can fill. Maybe a meeting space for a support group? Volunteer at a thrift shop? Serve disabled or elderly veterans by doing errands or lawn care?
  • Talk to veterans in your congregation or others you know personally. Are their needs for fellowship and camaraderie being met within your community? If not, consider starting a ministry at your church or partnering with other churches to do so.


Veterans Administration and government resources

Veterans Crisis Line - 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or chat by text at 838255 - Staffed by veterans who understand. If you ever feel like you are in crisis for any reason, or if you know a veteran who might be, keep this number handy. 

Community Clergy Training from the VA - The Veterans Administration recognizes that in many communities, particularly rural ones, veterans are not easily able to access all VA services, and a trained local clergyman may make a lifesaving difference. Find an upcoming event or a nearby chaplain here. This training incorporates resources for moral injury.

Resources for wounded warrior care from the National Resource Directory, a partnership of agencies to facilitate access to services.

Veterans Health Administration - Even communities not close to a VA healthcare facility may be able to access services such as caregiver support or medical home care for elderly vets.

NAMI Homefront - Free educational sessions from the National Alliance on Mental Illness for family and friends of veterans dealing with mental health issues.

Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program - Connecting National Guard and Reserve members and their families with resources prior to, during, and following deployment.


Resources from Chaplaincy ministries and related ministries

The Warrior's Journey website - faith-based online resource for the military and veteran communities, in cooperation with Network 211. Its "challenges" and "ethos" sections speak faith-based perspective into context familiar to these warriors.

The Warrior's Bible - edited by Military Rep/Endorser Scott McChrystal of Chaplaincy Ministries, this study Bible incorporates articles and input that address real issues faced by the military and veteran communities.

Jesus Loves Veterans - Ministry by a U.S. Missions chaplain, to homeless veterans and veterans in transition.

The Warrior Refuge - Created by a U.S. Missions military chaplain, this ministry facilitates outdoor adventures designed to alleviate stress and build relationships. In addition to serving veterans, programs are available for active military, first responders, and faith leaders. See a recent article about this ministry here.



Community organizations and ways to volunteer

Point Man International Ministries - Groups of veterans helping veterans in locations across the United States. Also organizes "homefront" groups of spouses, parents, and friends. Visit the website to find an outpost near you.

The Mission Continues - This St. Louis, Missouri-based non-profit equips and empowers veterans to "keep serving and succeeding" in community projects across the United States.

Mental Health First Aid - Specialized training for family and friends of at-risk populations. The veterans component addresses issues and situations specific to the military/veteran environment. Find a course near you, or get information about hosting one.

Support groups and informational networks are available for many health challenges faced by veterans. Check for resources for veterans with mesothelioma cancer due to asbestos exposure.

American Red Cross - Local chapters provide emergency communication, emergency assistance, assistance with coping skills and reintegration, and more to military and veterans and their families.

Honor Flights - Honoring veterans with a flight to visit Washington, DC and the memorial of the conflict(s) in which they served. Sign up a veteran to go, or find out how to volunteer or give.

Fisher House Foundation - This network of homes located near major VA and military medican centers has saved families millions of dollars by enabling them to stay nearby at no lodging cost while a loved one receives treatment.

Chappy's Outdoors - Started by an Army chaplain, this group coordinates outdoor retreats for wounded veterans, "healing heroes through God's Creation." You can volunteer, host an event, refer a veteran, or donate. 

Invention Discovery Center - Helping veterans develop ideas and skills learned in the military into useful inventions or facilitating employment of veterans in companies created by other inventors.



Starting a veterans ministry or improving congregational care for veterans

The Military Chaplains Association is developing Veteran/Military Friendly Congregation certification materials. Contact them for more details or to sign up.

Stephen Ministries offers training in many aspects of congregational care. This article explains how involvement in Stephen Ministry helped a wounded veteran push through his challenges and become the first amputee to return to active command on the same battlefield.

From CruMilitary (formerly Campus Crusade Military Ministry) - "Church Guide for Ministering to the Military"

Blog post: "Vet to Vet Discussion Group" - In the context of disabilities ministry, a physician who is also a veteran discusses the issues faced by veterans from the different conflicts through the years, and why a support group and camaraderie with other veterans are important.


Additional resources that may apply to specific veteran needs can be found on our pages for crisis/critical incidents, chronic or debilitating illness, homelessness, substance abuse, and disabilities.


View additional compassionate ministry topics and resource sharing guidelines, here.






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Phone: 417-862-2781 x3267
Fax: 417-863-7276

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