An Air Force Chaplain’s Unique Approach to Discipleship

Ron and Marsha Harvell

The US Air Force’s deputy chief of chaplains, Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Ron Harvell, and his wife, Marsha, have been on mission for God in our nation’s capital since 2018. Although the halls of the Pentagon and the busy streets of Washington, D.C., look different from some of the areas of the world where Ron has been deployed, this urban missions field is a strategic command center from which to minister to about 2 million people who are a part of the Air Force.

Ron has a passion for discipling new Christians, as he well remembers his journey as a teenager learning to walk in faith with the Lord and discern the Lord’s calling. Because military members face unique challenges not always encountered by civilians, service to one’s country provides many object lessons Ron can draw upon when helping Air Force members better understand service to God.

 “One of the main struggles I see new believers go through is that they are rarely fed immediately after they become Christians,” Ron says. “Helping new believers grow should be an intentional part of every church, family, or ministry.” Toward this effort, Ron and Marsha have developed a guide for new Christians titled 50 Steps with Jesus: Learning to Walk Daily with the Lord.

This ministry tool provides a way a new believer can be shepherded through those critical first days, weeks, and months after beginning a new life in Christ. 50 Steps is being used around the world and is being translated into different languages.

“Our greatest joy in ministry is watching new believers fall in love with Jesus and walk with Him, seeing them equipped to pray, learn the Word, and be a part of a community of faith,” the Harvells say.

Ron has been an Air Force chaplain in some form since 1986, having joined the Air Force in an active duty status in 1991. He and Marsha are North American missionaries to the Air Force.

Sherye Green is a freelance writer who attends First Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi.

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