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Divinity students hear from Air Force Chief of Chaplains

Chief of Chaplains of the United States Air Force and Liberty University alumnus Maj. Gen. Dondi Costin (’91, ’92) addressed students during the Rawlings School of Divinity graduate Convocation on Monday.

“It’s good to be home today,” Costin said, “because Liberty is my home.”

In his role, Costin oversees the religious and moral welfare of more than 664,000 active duty, guard, reserve, and civilian forces serving in the U.S. and overseas. He is responsible for establishing programs to meet the religious needs of Air Force members and their dependents, and he manages 2,000 chaplains and chaplain assistants who minister around the world. Costin also serves on the Armed Forces Chaplain Board, which advises the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on religious, ethical, and quality-of-life concerns in the military.

Costin spoke to divinity students about the call of a military chaplain. He compared his initial days in the military to those of Moses in the early chapters of Exodus.

“When I was called into ministry, I told the Lord ‘No thank you’ over and over again,” Costin said. “Similarly, Moses was in an impossible situation, and God asked Him to do things that seemed impossible, and God told him not to worry. God gave him exactly what he needed to get the job done, and He will do the same for you.”

Costin explained that at our core, humans are works-based people. He said that most of us claim that we will do exactly what God wants us to do until He calls us to something that we do not think we can handle.

According to Costin, students can avoid falling into this trap if, like Moses, they follow three simple steps: leave their comfort zone, look ahead to heavenly rewards, and live by faith rather than sight.

“Leap into your savior’s arms,” Costin said. “More importantly, help other people do the same thing. This is what being a chaplain is all about. Chaplains help people leave their comfort zones, because they have left their comfort zones themselves; they help people look for a greater reward, because they have done this themselves; they help people understand it is possible to live by faith and not by sight, because they have done this themselves; and most importantly, they help people who are willing to hear that they too can have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.”

Costin contrasted Moses’ early apprehensions to Isaiah’s zeal. While Moses said “Here I am, send somebody else,” Isaiah responded “Here am I, send me.” Costin encouraged future ministers to follow the latter example.

“I do not know what you are planning on doing with your life and your ministry after you leave Liberty, but I hope that you consider military chaplaincy and say immediately, ‘Here am I. Send me, Lord.”

Costin’s visit was part of Military Emphasis Week at Liberty. Throughout the week, more events will be held as Liberty continues celebrating its military community. Visit Liberty’s News & Events page for coverage. Get information and see the full schedule at www.Liberty.edu/MEW.


  • Read a Q & A with Costin, just before his Aug. 28 promotion ceremony, in the Liberty Journal.
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