2019 AGTS Alum of the Year: Scott McChrystal
Name: Scott McChrystal
Graduation Year: 1984 from AGTS with MDIV, 2013 from AGTS with DMIN
Current Position: Military Representative and Endorser, Chaplaincy Department, General Council of the AG
City and State: Springfield, Missouri
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
I joined the Army in 1970 as an Infantry Officer and did that for 12 years. Military experience included a year in Vietnam and three assignments with the 82d Airborne Div at Fort Bragg. In 1980 I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and received a call from God to go into fulltime ministry. In 1982 we came to Springfield and started coursework for an MDIV, graduating in Dec 1984. In Dec 1985 I went back on active duty as an Army chaplain and completed 21 more years, retiring in 2005. In Aug 2005, I came to Springfield to begin my tenure as Military Rep & Endorser for the AG. I will leave this position effective July 31 of this year. My plans are to join The Warriors Journey, a non-profit Christian organization committed to serving the military community. I also anticipate continuing to serve at AGTS while also doing some writing, coaching, and speaking.
What is your favorite memory from AGTS?
Without question, my favorite memories are the fellowship and camaraderie with students, staff, and faculty. Interestingly, my association with EU/AGTS has included some awesome experiences: during the 1982-84 time period, I taught in the Business Dept for EU as an adjunct professor. I also took Bible classes at CBC as a student. At the same time, I studied for MDIV courses at AGTS. Over the past 14 years, I’ve had the privilege to teach students preparing for military chaplaincy at AGTS which has included working with a good number of undergraduate students. The interactions with students, staff, and faculty have been rewarding and valuable beyond words. I have learned a ton and gained in my passion to support Christian education in any way I can. I count it a privilege to know so many Christian leaders who have graduated from EU/AGTS or are presently working to equip leaders for service in a wide range of fields.
How did AGTS help you identify/develop your calling?
The knowledge, guidance, and motivation I gained equipped me in so many ways. The coursework developed my ability to study and learn from the Bible. The wisdom of my professors helped to shape my capacity to apply the theological truths I was learning to the culture and environment of the military. The chapel services were especially significant toward helping me to shape my calling and identity as a person and as a minister. Collectively, the wholesome environment helped prepare my family and me to leave Springfield and serve in places all over the world.
How did your experience at AGTS prepare you for life after graduation?
My experience at AGTS gave me the learning and the confidence to represent the Lord and the AG in the military. The wonderful relationships I developed in EU/AGTS community were enormously helpful throughout my career as an Army chaplain and certainly over the past 14 years in my capacity as Military Rep and endorser for the AG. As stated previously, I am convinced that Christian education is pivotal for the AG as we mold leaders for the future.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
Students tend to look beyond their academic preparation and want to dive into life after school as soon as possible. This is understandable. I felt much the same way. My advice is to treasure the journey. Take full advantage of the rich experiences available while you’re still a student. View the financial hardships, the seemingly endless study required, and the many other challenges as God’s chosen means for equipping you for future service. God doesn’t waste an experience. While time demands tend to be rough, do your best to develop friendships with students, staff, faculty. Get involved with a local AG church. In other words, don’t isolate yourself. God has placed others around you. They’re an essential part of His plan. Finally, seek the Lord for balance. He doesn’t want your school experience to stress you/your family out.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from AGTS?
This question falls into the mainstream of what I have been doing for the last 14 years. First and foremost is having a strong sense of your identity. Know who you are in Christ. Be real- don’t put on a façade. Also, extremely important is having a good emotional IQ. Said another way, have good self-awareness and the ability to sense how you are perceived by those around you. Display confidence clothed with genuine humility. Be a person of character and display traits like initiative, loyalty, and the willingness to learn. Strive to be a good communicator. Show love and respect to everyone.