MTS Student Commissioned as Chaplain in U.S. Navy
Paul Song’s commissioning into armed forces second on Chicago campus in Moody’s recent history
On October 25, during Moody Theological Seminary chapel in the Alumni Auditorium on the Chicago campus, student Paul Song was commissioned and took an oath to pursue a position as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy.
Paul Song being commissioned by Lieutenant John McCauley.
The Oath of Office to become an ensign in the Navy and a member of the Chaplain Candidacy Program was administered to Song by Lieutenant John McCauley, Navy Recruiting District Chicago's officer programs operations officer.
“I’m excited for this journey,” Song said, “God has shaped me in a way that I know my ministry calling. I see myself as a patriot and I love our country, so the opportunity to serve God and my country is exactly what I want to be doing.”
Lieutenant Commander Chad Sobotka, Public Affairs officer Joe Wax, Commissioning Officer John McCauley along with Song’s parents attended the ceremony.
“Moody Theological Seminary was humbled to host Paul’s commissioning with the U.S. Navy,” said Dr. John Jelinek, vice president and dean of MTS. “We are extremely grateful to the men and women of our armed forces for their sacrificial service to our nation. It is a unique honor to serve them in the position of chaplain, and we are excited that Paul is moving down that path and that we are in a role of helping prepare him for this ministry.”
Being commissioned into the Chaplain Candidate Program is Song’s first step in becoming an active US Navy chaplain. Song recited the following U.S. Navy Oath of Enlistment:
"I, [Paul Song], do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."
For the next year, Song will serve alongside current military chaplains, experiencing what they do on a day-to-day basis and taking opportunities to minister to Navy personnel.
After the commissioning, which is phase 1, Song will complete the other two phases to become an active duty chaplain. The other two phases include completing his Master of Divinity at MTS in Chicago, and a few months of Naval and chaplaincy training.
Song is the second student to be commissioned into the military on the Chicago campus in Moody’s recent history. In 1993, student Joe Hilbert was commissioned on campus as a second lieutenant in the US Army and served in the Artillery. Twenty-two years later, he is a colonel and serves as the commanding officer of the 82nd Airborne Division Artillery at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Paul's parents were able to be in attendance at his commissioning
Although Paul’s father is a pastor he didn’t plan on going into ministry. Instead, he received his bachelor’s in bio chemistry, but when he graduated he did not have a clear idea for his future. During that time, he was involved in a small Korean church where he served in children’s ministry, college ministry and as a translator from Korean to English.
At the conclusion of his undergraduate studies Paul applied to various jobs, and he also applied and was accepted to MTS, willing to go where the Lord wanted.
Song realized God had a clear call for his life—to serve Him and understand His Word more deeply through biblical and theological training. While pursuing his master’s degree at MTS in Chicago, Song met a U.S. Navy recruiter and began to learn more about being a naval chaplain.
“The military drew me in,” Song said. “Growing up, all my life I had a lot of friends who were believers and I enjoyed talking to them about religion and faith, but I felt a calling to work with people who don’t know Christ so that I can bring them the message of hope.”
In addition to continuing his MDiv classes at MTS this year, Song will take several trips to the US Navy’s Great Lakes Naval Base in North Chicago, Illinois, where he will shadow chaplains and continue his journey to become an active duty chaplain.