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AGTS News—Graduate overcomes challenges to realize his calling as an active duty Army chaplain

Dr. Cheryl Taylor

Scott Norman (M.Div. 2011) stood proudly as his wife and Chaplain Col. (Ret.) Scott McChrystal, military/VA representative for the Chaplaincy Department of the Assemblies of God, pinned on the shoulder decorations that would mark him as a chaplain in the United States Army. But Norman has not always been the confident man of God that the AGTS community applauded exuberantly on October 19, 2011. A stuttering speech impediment left Scott timid and insecure—afraid to let God use him in ministry or pursue the education he needed to fulfill his calling. Dr. Cheryl Taylor

Born in 1967 and raised in the Church of God in Christ, Norman's family's heritage can be traced back to founder Bishop Charles Harrison Mason. At the age of 12, he confessed his devotion to Christ. "Having grown up with much knowledge about God's law," said Norman, "I kept high moral standards and was recognized as an outstanding citizen."

It wasn't until he started attending Bethel Temple Assembly of God in Hampton, Va., that Norman began to truly understand the love and grace of Christ in addition to holiness. "I then became heavily involved in the Worship and Arts ministry at Bethel Temple," said Norman. "During that time, the Holy Spirit taught me about being a servant and stepping out of my comfort zone. I was comfortable singing but not speaking or teaching. I saw myself limited by my speech impediment, but God looked beyond my stuttering and equipped me to proclaim the gospel. I have gone on to be involved in youth, young adult, home care, men's, senior adult, pastoral care, mission, racial reconciliation and worship and arts ministries. I even owned my own business."

In addition, while Norman attended Bethel, he began taking courses at its college (Bethel College), working towards an associates degree — a degree that took him 21 years to complete.

"God spoke to me in a vision, telling me that I needed to finish that degree and then He would how me the next step," Norman says. "God kind of set me up. If He told me at that time I was going to be a chaplain, I would have said, 'I rebuke you, Satan,' as you must have a masters degree to be a chaplain and here I couldn't even complete my associates degree! But Bethel College was fantastic and God used that experience to help me to realize I could do all things through Jesus Christ.

"As God revealed my true calling, I began to understand why my ministerial journey had been so diverse," continued Norman. "God had called me to serve him and my country by being a chaplain for the United States Army."

Since a 72-hour master of divinity degree is required for military chaplaincy, Norman knew he would have to seek more education. While God had helped him overcome many of his insecurities, his stuttering had crossed over into poor self esteem in the area of education. "Not until 2007 did I finally trust God to equip me for my destiny," said Norman. "I finally recognized and embraced my God-given purpose in life. I am convinced that without AGTS and the AG Chaplaincy Department I could not have fulfilled my calling."

Norman, with his wife, Jamie, began service as an active duty chaplain at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in December 2011.

"Scott Norman is a talented, mature minister of the gospel," said Scott McChrystal. "He and his wife, Jamie, share a passion to minister to military people and will be a marvelous addition to Army Chaplain Corps."

AGTS is a leading provider of chaplaincy candidates to all branches of the military and has a long history of training chaplains for fields as divers as rodeo, rock climbing, prison and hospital chaplaincy.

Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 12:20 PM

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