ordained chaplain volunteer

My name is Derek Kunzman. I am a student at the Christian Leaders Institute to become an ordained Chaplain and volunteer. I am a 34-year-old husband and Father to two beautiful toddlers. We live in Indiana and enjoy life in the Midwest.

I am an actor and filmmaker. My faith and love for the Trinity protect me in the film industry. Before I ever step onto a film set, I always pray to be a life-giving spirit like Christ. I also ask for the love of the Trinity to radiate from my core so everyone around me can feel the warmth and presence of God. The cast and crew feel it. Fellow cast and crew approach me and ask about my faith because they feel a Loving presence when I am on set. This has often opened the door to sharing my testimony and love for God.

My Upbringing and Development

My dad grew up in the Southern Baptist church, and my mom was in the Catholic church. So, they raised me and my four older brothers in many different nondenominational churches. My dad’s job required us to move several times while growing up. So, once we moved to a new area, we went to all the different churches to see which church family we fit in best.

God blessed me with the gift of empathy at a very young age. I did not understand everything every preacher was saying when I was younger. However, I felt God’s presence in the words the preachers spoke. When people came to greet us or talk to my parents, I knew if they had a heart for God or if they were putting on a performance.

In college, I met someone, who is now one of my best friends. He opened my heart and mind to experience the Word of God. He introduced me to the writings of many of the great Christian mystics. From reading those books, meditating and praying every day, and reading the Bible from front to back twice in one year, I entered the divine dance with the Trinity. As a result,  I truly experienced the Word of God and came to know my Lord and Savior, Jesus, in a much deeper way.

Further Growth

During that time, I also met Father Antony, who is now my spiritual Father. He has been a wonderful mentor, teacher, and friend. Further, it was at this time that I chose to be baptized. I was 21 years old, and what I felt that day is still indescribable.

During my junior year in college, my dad lost his job as Director of Security for a large trucking company. A criminal organization bought the trucking company my Father worked for. It forced many of its employees to leave. This situation created a long period of hardship for my parents. My dad was in his 60’s and was “overqualified” or “too old” for every job he applied for. As a result, my parents had to sell their home and move into a small apartment until my dad could find a job.

Used by God

I was home visiting one weekend before they moved. One day, my mom opened up to me while my dad was out of town for a job interview. She told me about how hard of a time she was having with everything. I had never seen my mom break down like that before. She was opening up and being very vulnerable. At one point during our conversation, she got up to let our dog outside.

When she left the room, I stood up and walked to the window to look outside. Then, I started praying. I told God that I had no idea what to say to my mom to comfort her and that I completely surrendered to Him. I asked God to use me as a vessel, as a conduit, as His voice to speak to my mom.

My mom came back into the room. We sat on the couch to continue our conversation. She had tears in her eyes when she sat down. At that point, still not knowing what to say and being fully surrendered to God, I opened my mouth. God spoke to my mom through me. To this day, I don’t remember what I said or, rather, what God said. What I do remember is what my mom said to me when I finished talking. She said, “Children are supposed to look up to their parents, but son, you are my rock and I look up to you.” She started crying and gave me a hug I will never forget.

My Spiritual Dream

My spiritual dream is to be present in my walk with God and open and available to any and all who need love from God. I pray to always radiate the love of the Trinity, and for everyone, I am around to feel that love. I pray that my children witness my discipline in my walk with God, and the compassion of Christ that I show to them and to others. Further, I want them to see the never-ending gift of the Holy Spirit. That is my spiritual dream.

Ordained Chaplain Volunteer

My hope is to study and become an ordained Chaplain through the Christian Leaders Institute and volunteer. I do not plan on making this a full-time career. I simply want to volunteer to minister at jails, hospitals, police departments, VA clinics, and film sets. Also, I want to make house calls for people in need. I know I don’t need to be an ordained Chaplain to volunteer. However, I want people to know that I had proper training and study, and am committed to God, my faith, and my ministry. That is also why this CLI training is so important to me.

Register a Study Account

Register for a free study account, automatically enrolling you in the Getting Started Class at the Christian Leaders Learning Platform. The Getting Started class will take you less than an hour to complete.

When you log in to the Learning Platform, you will notice that the Getting Started Class automatically appears on your dashboard.    

The Getting Started Class will orientate you to the Christian Leaders Learning Platform and the Programs offered, including:

  1. Ministry Awards, Certificates, and Diplomas with the Christian Leaders Institute.
  2. College Degrees with the CLI’s Leadership Excellence School.
  3. Minister Credentialling (Ordination) with the Christian Leaders Alliance, including local Soul Center registration possibilities. 

Note: You can enroll in tuition-free courses or mini-courses immediately without finishing the getting started class.  

Find out more about women in ministry here.