NEWS & PRESS RELEASES
Matt DeGroft: Service and Leadership
Matt DeGroft is serving the Lord as part of BBC's Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Matt is a junior from Lisbon, ME. After growing up in Schroon Lake, NY, where his dad worked at Word of Life Bible Institute, his family moved to Maine. He graduated from Lisbon Falls Christian Academy in 2007 and now lives in Loescher Hall. He attends Summit Baptist Bible Church in Clarks Summit, PA.
Matt is part of BBC's ROTC program studying Chaplain Ministries and has the goal of serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Army.
Read more In the Spotlights here.
What led you to BBC?
Our youth pastor is from BBC and I was looking at schools where I could get a biblical education while being in the Army, specifically ROTC. This is the best school as far as I know within 12 hours of Maine that has that.
What program are you in here at BBC?
The Chaplain Ministries program. It combines pastoral and counseling together, so I take a lot of counseling classes and a lot of pastoral classes because that is how you can best minister in the military. You are going to be doing just as much counseling as you are pastoring. I have heard of guys in Iraq who are chaplains who do two or three chapel services a day, seven days a week, and do counseling on the side.
What constitutes as a chapel service?
It could be anything. It could be like a chapel service we have, it could be a Bible study, it could be one-on-one, it could be a couple hundred guys. You can do up to five or six of those a day. It is a huge area of missions. They have got every denomination, every religion. Catholic priests are popular, Baptists are pretty popular. Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Science, they have all of them. It is a very integral part of the Army. So as a chaplain, I have just learned how to deal with every single religion out there. I have to work with them closely with them.
Will you be a U.S. Army chaplain or would you do something else?
I can be whatever I want to be. If I wanted to switch branches of the military, I could, but it is a lot of paper work.
How does ROTC work?
We go to training. We have physical training four days a week every morning at 6:30 at the University of Scranton. Then we have class one day a week, and we have a lab another day a week where we practice everything we learn in class.
What happens after you graduate?
It depends. I want to be a chaplain. I have to get a Master of Divinity. After I graduate from seminary, then I go to training in South Carolina for six months, then I am posted in active duty somewhere in the world. I am in active duty for probably around eight years. Every year in undergraduate is one year of active duty. Every year in seminary is two years of active duty. I could do reserve, but that is not where God wants me. So, it is pretty cool that I get to go to active duty.
Once you have finished your active duty, are you in reserves or are you done?
You are done, if you want. You could go to 20 years. If you go to 20 years, you get half your pay for the rest of your life. That is a big plus. I mean, if you are going to go for 10 years, why not do 20?
Do you think that is what you will do?
I don't know. I would like to say yes, but whatever God wants. Whether it is being a pastor, teaching school, being a professor - whatever God wants me to do I'll do. As of right now, I would like to stay in for 20 years, but I am going to leave that up to God. It would be nice if I could see that far ahead.
What made you want to get into ROTC in the first place?
My dad and God. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be in the Army. So I could have enlisted right after high school and gone over to Iraq be a grunt if I wanted to. That's what I was going to, because I figured ROTC was way out there and I was never going to try. One day my dad came in and told me to check out BBC because they have a chaplain program there that they were starting. So I prayed about it. My dad wanted me to be a pastor, but I wanted to be in the Army. But I knew God was calling me to be a pastor, so I really found that God merged two of my dreams to be a pastor and be in the Army. He formed all these situations and opened the doors because I never thought I would get an ROTC scholarship, but somehow I did.
When were you sure that you wanted to do ROTC at BBC?
I think it was junior year of high school. I knew what God was calling me to it and I just ran with it. It was a big argument for a while. I really wanted to just go in the Army. But I figured I would rather do what God wanted me to and be happy than get over there and live miserably because that's not where God wanted me. Not that I wouldn't enjoy it, but I wouldn't enjoy it as much as doing what God wanted me to. It takes a great deal of faith to be in the Army. When you're in the Army, nothing is sure. You never know what's going to happen. You get taken care of, though. They own you, but you're taken care of.
What church do you go to and what are you involved in around campus?
Summit Baptist Bible Church. I'm in the sound booth every other week usually.
I played on the tennis team the first two years, but now I'm picking up golf. I asked my Army guys which would be the best sport to play for the Army and they said golf.
So what would you want to do after the Army?
I would want to be a pastor. During my master's, I might move back up to Maine and take a pastorate up there. Within 50 miles of my home church, there are 30 churches looking for pastors. Plus I know people up there. I wouldn't be too far out of my comfort zone. I know the people. I know the problems. That's where I might be while taking my master's credits.
What is your favorite thing about being here at BBC?
I would have to say the professors. They love God. I suggest coming to Bible college to anybody. You want to be a banker, you want to do business, go to Bible college. It is so good for anyone. I cannot imagine where I would be right now if I hadn't gotten a biblical education. I've grown by leaps and bounds since I've been here. If I didn't have this, I would be a mess. I suggest it to everybody. If a high school student asks me, I would tell them to go to Bible college for a year. I am so lucky to be here.
What are your thoughts on the war?
I don't like war. I don't believe in war. Obviously war is a sign of the fall. I think Christians sometimes don't understand what that means. I support the war in the sense that I wanted to go over and fight, but I don't like it. I don't like war or killing. I think the war in Iraq did not surprise God. But we are in it now, and I have to support it 100%. I want it to end, but I will go and fight if I have to. There is a time for war and a time for peace, just go with it.
What advice would you give someone contemplating ROTC?
Pray about it. Get in the Bible every day. Don't forget God in your decision. Don't rush into it. Whatever you do, keep God first no matter what. I have had people who were going to join and then decide not to join. I support that because we don't want a person who is not 100% sure that that is where God wants them. That's the worst place to be, if you're not sure that's where God wants you. Stay in the Word. Look for doors to open, but don't push doors open. Let God do it.
Learn more about the Chaplain Ministries program here.
Information for military students, veterans, and ROTC is here.
The story of Baptist Bible College & Seminary is best told through the lives of students and alumni. Share your story and tell others how God has been leading in your life. Visit www.bbc.edu/spotlight.
Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers an outstanding Christian education through on campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students learn to serve and lead as they gain critical leadership and life skills. To learn more, go to www.bbc.edu or call 570.586.2400.
Posted on: 2/19/2010 10:02:02 AM
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