In September 2017, Jim Carter became the new executive director for the Presbyterian and Reformed Commission on Chaplains and Military Personnel (PRCC) and the Mission to North America (MNA) Chaplain Ministries director. Carter replaced Doug Lee, who retired from the position.
Carter comes to MNA Chaplain Ministries after serving as founding pastor of New Presbyterian Church in Wilton Manors, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale. He previously spent nearly 24 years as an Army chaplain on active duty and in the Army Reserves.
According to the Department of Defense, the purpose of chaplaincies is to “accommodate religious needs, to provide religious and pastoral care, and to advise commanders on the complexities of religion with regard to its personnel and mission, as appropriate.”
Although he loved his time in pastoral ministry, Carter and his wife, Terri, felt God leading them to re-enter the world of the chaplaincy. They are passionate about supporting chaplains in their roles as missionaries who proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the United States and around the world.
There are 63 civilian chaplains and 134 full-time military chaplains in the PCA. Four civilian chaplains also serve as Reserve Component Military Chaplains. According to Gary Hitzfeld, MNA Chaplain Ministries administrative assistant, six PCA chaplains are deployed at any given time. PRCC includes the chaplains from seven Reformed denominations.
A Leader for Changing Times
The U.S. war on terror has placed extraordinary demands on military personnel. Though the intensity of the need has ebbed and flowed, soldiers, sailors, and airmen have faced the possibility of deployment for 16 years.
“The new normal is we are facing combat and the daily demands of the war on terror,” Carter said. “We need ministers of the Gospel who are going to stand firm and proclaim Christ in the midst of this very challenging time.”
The Carters understand the struggles that military families face. During his 24 years in the armed forces, Carter deployed overseas for two tours of duty totaling nearly two years.
For civilian chaplains who serve in places of need such as hospitals, hospice units, prisons, and police and fire departments, Carter wants to provide support and care. He provides pastoral care to the military and civilian chaplains in the PCA and PRCC through mentoring, pastoral visits, and preaching in churches to raise awareness of and resources for chaplain ministries locally and around the world.
As religious liberty faces increasing pressure in every sector of life, Carter wants to ensure chaplains are never muzzled by governments from proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As director of Chaplain Ministries, Carter provides denominational support in cases where religious liberty might be challenged.
As a chaplain, Carter always felt he had his endorser’s support, and he wants current chaplains to have confidence in his support for them.
Six PCA chaplains are deployed at any given time.
A native of Monroeville, Alabama, Carter studied at Belhaven College and earned master of divinity and master of arts degrees in marriage and family therapy from Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson. He earned a doctor of ministry degree from Erskine Theological Seminary.
Carter was awarded the Legion of Merit and received two Bronze Stars for his service to the nation during his combat tours.
He and Terri have two adult children.