In the course of their dedicated service, our military and first responders—armed services, law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and others—face challenges each day that few of us will ever know. Both those in the military and first responders find inspiration in a pocket-size book of daily devotions— Strength for Service to God and Country and Strength for Service to God and Community—published by Strength for Service, Inc. A third volume, Service to God and Community, is specifically for Boy Scouts of all ages.
“A catalytic ministry of the General Commission on United Methodist Men, Strength for Service, helps to spiritually equip those who keep us safe by providing a copy of these pocket-size books,” according to Larry W. Coppock, Project Director. The mission of Strength for Service, Inc. is “to publish and provide spiritual and inspirational literature for members of the armed services, law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs/paramedics and other community servants.” Strength for Service has a “rich history and tradition and has made a difference in the lives of thousands of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who have received the book,” Coppock added.
In 1942 shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Methodist Publishing House published Strength for Service to God and Country. The original publication was given to 1.6 million troops during World War II and the Korean Conflict but fell out of print in the 1950s. In 2002, some 550,000 copies were published with the help of the General Commission on United Methodist Men after a Boy Scout in 1998 discovered a worn copy that had belonged to his World War II Corpsman grandfather and arranged to have the book republished for sailors at bases near his Southern California home. The contents have been updated slightly to reflect contemporary language and culture and to add reflections and devotions from contemporary religious leaders but the new volume remains true to the original’s spirit.
Rev. DooSoo Lee
The Rev. DooSoo Lee, an elder in the Northern Illinois Conference who has been commissioned as a U.S. Army Chaplain and currently undergoing the Chaplain-Basic Officer Leader
Course at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, explains that an Army Chaplain serves soldiers and their families, cares for the wounded, and honors the fallen.
While many spiritual books published by different denominations and religions are available at Fort Jackson, Rev. Lee notes Strength for Service is difficult to find. He would like to spread the pocket-size volume so that as many soldiers as possible have access to it. Further, he hopes to use it for spiritual formation with soldiers in his future ministry as an Army chaplain.
Confirming his call to ministry as an Army Chaplain, Rev. Lee explains that he knows how hard and tough military life is from his own experience. An Army Chaplain is both a religious leader and an advisor as a staff officer, he says. He emphasized the importance of his experience as a pastor in local churches in the Northern Illinois Conference in seeking to become an Army Chaplain.
“If I didn’t have experience with the local churches as a pastor, I can’t imagine being a Military Chaplain,” he stated. Moreover, “the most positive and compelling support for the Military Chaplain can come from local churches,” he explained.
Strength for Service Goals
On the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, some 135 churches responded to an offer to purchase Strength for Service books and gave away 7,000 copies. Strength for Service seeks to partner with churches to provide these daily devotions to soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and first responders who bear the responsibility to keep us safe and hopes to print and distribute 100,000 of the devotional books from 2018 to 2020.
As our thoughts turn to Veterans Day on November 11, sponsoring Strength for Service’s daily devotions could be a way to honor our current military and first responders.
For more information or to find how you can partner to provide copies of Strength for Service, see the