Bob Arnold

Grace Church, Iowa
Healthcare Chaplaincy
Grace Church
February 19
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About My Family

I am in my 40th year as a VA chaplain, all at the same hospital in Iowa, and am anticipating retirement soon. Primarily, I work with acute psychiatry, ICU and rehab patients. My laid back demeanor and my education in psychology and counseling greatly aid my pastoral care of veterans.

When off duty, I enjoy tending my apple orchard, home improvement projects, woodworking and Cajun/Creole cooking. My wife, Karen, is a social worker who counsels children from dysfunctional families. When not working, she enjoys music, visiting her New Orleans family and teasing me whenever she can. Our daughter, Julie, is also a social worker who aids special needs children in a public school in Joplin, Mo. When she is not working, she enjoys sand volleyball, sight-seeing at historic places and her two cats, Harley and Daisey.

About My Ministry

I’m an SBC-endorsed healthcare chaplain. My ministry with hospitalized veterans is intense and emotionally challenging, yet extremely fulfilling. Over the years, I have been recognized with several awards: National VFW Award for “Outstanding Patient Care” (1991); National VA Chaplain Best Practices, one titled “A Worship Aid for the Visually Impaired” (2005), and another titled “A Walk-About Group: Reducing Aggressive Behaviors in Psychiatric Patients” (2018).

But, my greatest joy has been having the opportunity to be part of the national WMU Christmas in August program. That testimony has made a significant impact on our hospital staff and patients, who are now much more receptive to spiritual care.

SBC Chaplaincy

Chaplaincy is a vital frontline ministry and extension of the local church. Chaplains reach the lost among the thousands of men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces, correctional facilities, healthcare settings, public safety, disaster relief sites, and corporate environments. SBC Chaplains care for the broken, offer hope to the hopeless, and advance the gospel of Jesus Christ in hard-to-reach places.
The qualifications expected of a Southern Baptist applying for endorsement as a chaplain or counselor are established by their institution and the Chaplains Commission, SBC. These qualification requirements vary according to the type of chaplaincy or counseling ministry involved but all are expected to meet a high level of ministerial competence.


Please pray my mother will remain medically stable with her single kidney functioning at 18% and a chronic heart and back condition. Pray my sister will continue to have strength and patience as our mother’s caregiver, even with her own COPD issues. Pray for Karen’s continued improvement toward better health after having cancer. Pray for Karen’s family’s post-Hurricane Ida care in our home. Pray I will maintain a healthy heart condition and have sufficient sleep and strength to continue my full-time hospital ministry while being on call 32 hours a week for crisis situations. Pray I can withstand the intense and constant vigilance required to address COVID issues with my veterans.


Commit to long-term prayer support. Explore the opportunities to extend the reach of your church by becoming a chaplain. Be involved in supporting chaplains and their families. Send notes of encouragement. Talk with a chaplain about his or her ministry context. Send resources that support a chaplain’s ministry context. Pray for chaplains and their families.
NAMB does not provide compensation for SBC endorsed chaplains. However, a general fund is available to receive donations in support of the ministry and pastoral care to SBC endorsed chaplains. To donate, please visit Support Chaplaincy (