Herman named AZMN director of chaplaincy

By Noah Jaeger | Mar 19, 2024

Ken Herman, who retired last December as director of chaplain and volunteer services for the Arizona Department of Corrections, is now the director of chaplaincy for the Arizona Mission Network.

Chaplains serve communities in ways the average church leader cannot. Their calling is to shoulder the burdens from people in crisis, every day. As a result, these ministers can grow discouraged and weary. To continue their good work without growing weary, chaplains need leaders supporting them.

Ken Herman, a retired prison chaplain, was recently named as director of chaplaincy for the Arizona Mission Network of Southern Baptists. This role entails bringing support and encouragement to Arizona chaplains serving in various capacities.

“Since chaplains serve in high stress environments, they need care and support as well,” said David Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Mission Network. “Ken not only knows what is involved in serving as a chaplain, but he also knows the people who are serving as Southern Baptist chaplains in our prison system. He has the academic and professional credentials to lead this work.”

Herman retired last December after working in chaplaincy for the Arizona Department of Corrections for 18 years. The last seven years, he was director of chaplain and volunteer services, overseeing all religious programming in the Department of Corrections’ prisons, where more than 40 religions are represented in a population of more than 35,000 inmates.

Herman holds a master of divinity degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (now Gateway Seminary) and a doctor of ministry degree from Gateway.

In Herman’s teen years, he was called into ministry but was unsure what the calling meant. After serving 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, he attended seminary and, upon graduation, experienced a call to prison chaplaincy.

“Chaplaincy wasn’t on my radar, but ministry in the restricted environment of prison was a good match, because high security and controlled access was something I knew from the military,” Herman said.

Herman applied his skills from the military and his seminary education to minister to inmates.

“When talking with the incarcerated who have never heard God loves them despite what they have done and [have never heard] there is forgiveness by God which will set them free, you can visibly see a change in the person as God works in them,” Herman said. “God provides hope and renewal for those who seek Him, and chaplains are invited into areas others can’t enter for any number of reasons.”

Herman grew a desire to support chaplains and connect new believers from their ministry to churches where people can be discipled. He recognized how chaplains are uniquely gifted in delivering the gospel to unreached places in their state. Chaplains are vital missionaries and need the support of the Arizona Mission Network.

“At this time in our state, there is not a program linking the chaplaincy with the church, providing support and guidance for this unique call,” Herman said. “Chaplaincy is able to feed and support the church in the spread of the gospel through the work God has placed before them. Chaplaincy is part of the body of Christ and of the church’s ministry to engage communities not normally associated with the church.”

In his new role, Herman will strive to establish a chaplaincy program in support of chaplains serving in Arizona who are endorsed by the North American Mission Board and in support of local churches. This entails helping churches become aware of local chaplains. Herman will advise churches on the important work of chaplains and work to bring local churches’ support to those serving as chaplains.

“We are excited to have Dr. Ken Herman serving as the director of chaplaincy for the Arizona Mission Network,” Johnson said. “I hope our churches will lift him and all our chaplains up in prayer on an ongoing basis. They are our missionaries!”

Noah Jaeger, a freelance writer and photographer, is a member of North Phoenix Baptist Church and is the launch catalyst with Christian Challenge AZ.

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