COORDINATOR OF BCC ALUMNI ASSOCIATION APPOINTED
In its November 2011 Mid-year meeting, the IFCA Board of Directors approved the appointment of Ron Wilkins as the coordinator of the new BCC Alumni Association. Ron will also serve as associate endorser developing and sustaining communication media throughout the BCC. His goal is to assist the Director, Rob Meyer, in facilitating the sharing of knowledge, experience, and wisdom by experienced BCC chaplains and in building BCC teamwork.
In 1959 Ron enlisted in the Navy and committed his life to serving Christ while serving his country. During Boot Camp, he attended the Sunday morning General Protestant service and evening evangelical service. Interestingly, Sunday morning attendance was mandatory but evening attendance was discouraged! This was his first experience of anti-evangelical bias.
Next came Navy Electronics School at Treasure Island where Ron experienced the same insidious anti-evangelical bias as at Boot Camp. Hungry for the Word, Ron studied the Bible through the area ministry of the Navigators. Ron graduated with honors and served a year on a destroyer. In 1961 he became a midshipman in the University of Oklahoma NROTC.
At OU Ron was involved with Campus Crusade for Christ and Baptist Student Union evangelism programs. Ron felt the call to ministry and obtained the Navy’s reluctant permission to change his major from electronics to pre-ministry. Upon graduation in 1965, Ron was commissioned a Navy Line Ensign. He served shipboard and then volunteered for riverine warfare in Vietnam. After his combat tour, he married his fiancée, Camilla Finley, in 1969 and served as a counter-insurgency instructor at Coronado, California.
Ron’s first experience with effective Navy chaplain ministry came at Coronado with IFCA chaplain Dave Meschke and his wife, Betty. Ron and Camilla saw what a godly, gifted, and dedicated chaplain and wife team could accomplish for the Lord. The base chapel was filled, and ministry outreach extended across base and into housing. Dave and Betty mentored Ron and Camilla on how to accomplish effective team ministry to fulfill the Great Commission in the military.
In 1971 Ron resigned his commission and served on Campus Crusade Military Ministry staff for two years. Next he completed his seminary degree (ThM) at Dallas Theological Seminary. Then, in 1977, he was endorsed as an IFCA Navy chaplain.
While a student at the U.S. Navy Chaplains School, Ron challenged the faculty to consider providing a separate evangelical chapel service on par with the General Protestant service when practical. It was to no avail, but Ron maintained this agenda. His ensuing experience showed evangelical activities often had larger participation and vigor than General Protestant ones.
Implementing the Meschkes’ mentoring, among other successful ministries, Ron and Camilla successfully conducted Vacation Bible Schools, Backyard Bible Clubs, and evangelistic Sunday School programs for some three thousand children, hundreds of whom professed Christ as Savior through these Gospel presentations!
Ron retired as a commander in 1995, but from personal experience Ron and Camilla knew the value and importance and of effective mentoring. So upon learning the Director of Chaplains desired to develop mentoring, Ron requested the opportunity to serve! Welcome aboard, Ron & Camilla!