An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

HomeNewsroomNewsArticle Display

Article - Article View

Action Chaplain: Boulware’s pulpit puts him with people he serves

Helping Airmen in their spiritual journey, regardless of what their beliefs are, is found through mutual respect. Chaplain (Capt.) John Boulware, 21st Space Wing chaplain, sees the fruit of this work when he baptized Airmen in “the tub” while stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi May, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Helping Airmen in their spiritual journey, regardless of what their beliefs are, is found through mutual respect. Chaplain (Capt.) John Boulware, 21st Space Wing chaplain, sees the fruit of this work when he baptized Airmen in “the tub” while stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi May, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Chaplain (Capt.) John Boulware, 21st Space Wing chaplain, offers the invocation at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colorado, Sunday, May 21, 2017, during Defenders of Freedom Veterans Recognition Ride. He fulfills his mission by spending most of his time among those he serves. (Courtesy photo)

Chaplain (Capt.) John Boulware, 21st Space Wing chaplain, offers the invocation at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colorado, Sunday, May 21, 2017, during Defenders of Freedom Veterans Recognition Ride. He fulfills his mission by spending most of his time among those he serves. (Courtesy photo)

Chaplain (Capt.) John Boulware, 21st Space Wing chaplain, scans identifications and hangs out with the 21st Security Force Squadron gate guards Aug. 23, 2017 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Boulware fulfills his mission by spending time with the Airmen he serves. (Courtesy photo)

Chaplain (Capt.) John Boulware, 21st Space Wing chaplain, scans identifications and hangs out with the 21st Security Force Squadron gate guards Aug. 23, 2017 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Boulware fulfills his mission by spending time with the Airmen he serves. (Courtesy photo)

Helping serve food in the Aragon Dining Facility at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2017, Chaplain (Capt.) John Boulware, 21st Space Wing chaplain, spends his time shoulder-to-shoulder with the Airmen he serves. (Courtesy photo)

Helping serve food in the Aragon Dining Facility at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2017, Chaplain (Capt.) John Boulware, 21st Space Wing chaplain, spends his time shoulder-to-shoulder with the Airmen he serves. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- He climbs the tallest towers to clean solar panels. He cooks and serves Airmen at the dining facility. He fuels jets on the flight line. And in the middle of it all he ministers to the spiritual needs of his fellow Airmen. He is Action Chaplain!

To best fulfill his mission, Chaplain (Capt.) John Boulware, 21st Space Wing chaplain, spends his days alongside the folks he is compelled to serve. Building relationships and trust is what will make the biggest difference, he says.

“Chaplains are a visible sign of the Holy,” Boulware said. “We are to be a spiritual presence.”

In fact, he calls his role as chaplain a “ministry of presence.” When Boulware is regularly alongside Airmen who are on the job, relationships are built and strengthened. They learn to value him and, eventually, trust him.

“When trust is gained (Airmen) will tell me about their lives and seek spiritual guidance,” said Boulware. “When we build trust we can tell them how to alleviate stress and how they can become the leaders they are supposed to be. By being a ministry of presence it allows (Airmen) to ask questions about their own spirituality.”

The Chaplains Corps has a tactical mission plan like other groups. The plan involves being attached to units and creating ministry within them, devising fellowship opportunities said Boulware. The chaplaincy advises leadership, offers confidential counseling and provides accommodation for spiritual growth, whatever an individual’s background.

Developing that all important trust is a two way street. Boulware said spending time alongside those he ministers to allows him to show his trust for them in their own environment. Once the trust is flowing both ways, doors open to provide a spiritual presence.

“It leads to the discussion of spiritual maturation, resilience and fortitude,”Boulware said. “We do not always preach at them, but we support them in a spiritual sense.”
Carrying that idea a little further, Boulware said chaplains are very different than first sergeants. Chaplains provide rest, respite and no judgement.

“We are a neutral ground for them,” he noted.

Being committed to the ministry of presence as seriously as Boulware means he finds himself outside of the chapel and pulpit frequently. In the course of building trusting relationships he has flown with refueling aircraft, climbed communications towers to clean the solar panels on top, spent time with defenders on gate duty and on patrol, and rode in Humvees during deployment. All with the intent of being with Airmen, getting to know them and creating trust.

For Boulware, ministering among the troops on the job is a no-brainer decision. He said he has to be with them.

“My personality is that I would rather be there,” he said. “This generation doesn’t often find themselves in pews and at services, so I take it to them.”

Boulware continues to expand his action-packed ministry. He is obtaining certification to do all-terrain vehicle patrols at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colorado, and also to ride along on fire trucks during calls. He said because we live in a tumultuous world the ministry of presence includes being with Airmen in both the best and worst of times.

“I see the military as a missionary field,” he said. “I have always been interested in missionary work and can do it within the confines of Air Force regulations.”

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui