LUP030 – Military Ministry: Chaplain Joe Willis, Part 1

Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll hear in Episode 30:

  • Update: The fear of letting others run with the details of a ministry.
  • Encouragement: We’re familiar with missionaries to the U.S. military overseas. Our guest today shares how God took away his dream, then restored it again with his different approach to military ministry.
  • Tech. Tip: Learn how to search for words in a long web article on your Android or iOS device.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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  • Facing a fear that seems to be common in ministry – Letting someone else do the work.
  • For a long time, I let my developer do the work, and I was hands off. Then he went to go serve in a ministry for the summer.
  • I’m happy that he went to serve. It left me with no knowledge of how the system worked. I couldn’t go forward on projects.
  • If you’ve listened to previous episodes, you know how much time I’ve spent trying to automate the creation of the development environment.
  • Didn’t want to repeat the same loss of knowledge.
  • Tried to automate it by myself – learning every detail along the way.
  • Way too slow – as you’ve noticed by how long it’s taken.
  • My fear was that the next time he leaves, I’ll face the same problem – no ability to move forward.
  • But that’s exactly where I am right now, since I’m still trying to do it myself.
  • And the project to automate the setup – the whole point of it is to make things reproducible so anyone can set it up and figure out how things work.
  • Got counsel from others who lead large organizations. Yes – there’s a risk that someone could leave. Yes, things can be really bad when that happens. But you deal with it then; don’t be paralyzed by the fear of it now.
  • Decision: Hand the reigns back over. Let him set up development environment, with only periodic consultation.
  • Possibly even let him be the one to train the next developer.
  • Had to let go of the fear of lost knowledge. Have faith to delegate.


In the last two dozen or so episodes of the Lift Up podcast, you’ve met many guests, with many different callings.

Chaplain Joe Willis
Chaplain Joe Willis

Some left business to start ministry. Others knew from the beginning they were going into ministry. Still others thought they’d go into ministry and went into business.

We’ve even met one who left military to start ministry.

Today’s story starts out like that – someone who left military to start ministry. But some amazing God-given surprises come later.

Keep listening to hear Part 1 of the story of Chaplain Joe Willis.

“You want me to do what? I just gave you this command three months ago!” That’s an understandable reaction, but it still must have been hard to hear.

He was finally an officer in the military, and one with huge potential to move up in the ranks. This was the very kind of position he had dreamed about since he was a child. And now he was about to turn his back on it all to go to seminary, preparing to preach the gospel.

My friend Andy Bonikowsky likes to say, “God loves to surprise.” And the conclusion of this story next week is full of surprises! Now, you can probably guess from what I’ve been calling Chaplain Willis at least a little bit of what God had in store, but the beauty of God’s plan is in the details. I can’t wait to share with you next week how God worked through those details to bring Chaplain Willis to his current ministry with Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International.

If you’re not already subscribed to this podcast, be sure to sign up. You can follow links to iTunesStitcher, or Google Play – or a simple RSS feed if you already use your own podcast player. That way you’ll be sure to hear the conclusion of my conversation with Chaplain Joe Willis.

Tech. Tip

I’m sure you’ve hit this before. I know I have. You’re googling around doing some research on a topic. The snippet on Google’s search results page looks like it’s just what you’re looking for, so you click the link.

Then, you’re met with a ginormous page of text. You scroll and scroll, but you can’t locate that little snippet that Google presented in the search results. You can’t find the answer to your question buried in those paragraphs and pages of words.

If you’re using Windows or Mac OS, you can just hit Ctrl-F or Command-F and type in a piece of the snippet to have your browser show you where it is.

But what if all you have is your phone or tablet? There’s no Ctrl or Command key on an Android or iOS mobile device. Are you out of luck? Do you have to just keep scrolling until you happen to see your answer?

Fortunately, no.

Mobile browsers do have a way to find text on the web page, but you won’t get there by pressing Ctrl-F or Command-F.

Find browser text on Android and iOS

Find Text on Android

On Android, you’ll see a “Find on page” option in the browser menu in the upper right. If you’re using Chrome for Android, that menu will probably be just a simple icon with three dots, one on top of the other. If you’re using the built-in Android browser, sometimes just called “Internet,” then you might find the word “More” in the upper right of your browser screen.

Whichever menu you see, click it to open it up. Then, swipe to scroll until you see the “Find in page” or “Find on page.” Different browsers will call it different things, but that’s the option you want. Tap that, then start typing one of the phrases from the snippet you’re looking for. As you type, your browser will scroll down and highlight the text on the page that matches what you’ve typed so far.

Find Text on iPhone or iPad

On your iPhone or iPad, the Safari browser hides the find option behind the “Share” icon for some reason. That’s the little rectangle with the arrow pointing up out of it.

So go ahead and tap the Share icon in Safari, and you’ll see a panel with two rows of buttons. The top row lists applications that you can share to, and the second row lists a whole bunch of other things you can do, like copy, print, and Find on Page.  Swipe left on that row of buttons to scroll until you see the Find on Page icon. Again, you can tap that, then start typing, and Safari will scroll and highlight the text that matches what you’ve typed so far.

So, to search a web page for a specific word or phrase on a phone or tablet with no keyboard, look for the Find in page menu item on Android, and the Find on Page button behind the Share icon on Safari.


Today, you’ve learned how to find text on a web page even on your phone or tablet without a keyboard. You also heard the first part of Chaplain Joe Willis’s story of being called out of the military into seminary to preach the gospel. And we talked about being willing not to need to know all of the details for a ministry that is delegated for someone else to lead.

I’d also like to remind you that you can leave a rating or a review for the Lift Up podcast on iTunes. Bryan Entzminger did just that a few weeks ago. He said, “I love how Steve marries together tech tips, current events, and teaching. He has great perspective and presents his information with amazing grace (not the song, the approach). What a wonderful show.” And he gave us five stars! Bryan is the host of the “Engaging Missions” podcast. Each week he interviews someone in ministry across many different denominational perspectives. You can find him at Thanks so much, Bryan for those kind words.

Have you felt overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do? Is it possible that, like me, you’ve been trying to stay too deeply involved? Not trusting someone else with the details? It might be time to let go. Why not pray about that and see if it’s time to give up a little bit of control.

And maybe you’d like to leave a rating or review for the Lift Up podcast. If you’d do that, you could honor Hebrews 12:12 and lift me up today.

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