Chaplain Wayne Hollenbaugh
We are delighted to welcome Chaplain Wayne Hollenbaugh to serve Greensville Correctional Center S3 as of January 1, 2016! A former career military man, Chaplain Hollenbaugh served the Army for 24 years before retiring in 2014. He has felt a Holy Nudge for some time to return to prison ministry.
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Called at the age of 17, Chaplain Wayne Hollenbaugh started out as a young Royal Ambassador Counselor in the Southern Baptist tradition here in Virginia. That call led him to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and then some years after to Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, for further training. After serving, Germany, Korea, Guantanamo Bay and Honduras and various posts stateside, he retired from the military to come back home. Chaplain Hollenbaugh now serves the S3 Unit at Greensville Correctional Center.
“I started out in chaplaincy as far back as seminary working an internship in youth corrections and found a comfortable place there. After some years in the army, I served for 3 years at the United States Disciplinary Barracks in Leavenworth Kansas. It was a great ministry. In fact, I wanted to go back… It seemed like I had a draw in that direction.”
A self-described, “Institutional Theologian,” Chaplain Hollenbaugh shares, “When people are incarcerated, whether they are guilty or not, it is a humbling experience. God can best work in the lives of people when they are humble. I am a therapeutic minister. I want to be a channel for theology to heal in that situation. Healing theology…”
Humble himself, Chaplain Hollenbaugh wants people to see the God he points to will use any and everybody. Recognizing a truth that many on the outside don’t often realize… we are all incarcerated – or were. He recounts a story where a woman interested in prison ministry heard a complaint from someone who didn’t understand her pull, “They are incarcerated…. they are criminals!!” the complainant argued. She responded with the simple truth, “We all are.” Chaplain Hollenbaugh shared, “She understood grace.”
Simply put, “I preach to people in prison when they’ve done wrong and they are behind bars and they can’t get away. Someone needs to be there to help them. Jesus said we need to be there to help them and so that is what I do. Last Sunday night was good – the first time I preached – and I felt like I had a flock there. It felt good to minister in that way!”
“As the chaplains, we are the personification of the Church behind bars.” Chaplains are the hands and feet and heart of Jesus Christ behind bars. “The challenge with prison ministry is a certain amount of ambiguity in terms of how to spend your time and how to make the most of your time. I want and like to treat people with congeniality and hope it will always be received and used for ministry. But, you also have to be aware that it may be wasted and abused.”
I want to be something special to them by being nothing special but justified in the kingdom of God. I want them to see that you don’t have to be something special to be something special in the Kingdom of God.”
When not busy being a chaplain, he likes to spend time with his wife, Mary. They enjoy traveling and spend as much time as possible at the beach – and he longs for more time to fish. When he was at Fort Story, he lived on the beach and remembers going to Cape Hatteras and the Outer Banks while growing up. He continues to love swimming – even into October and November if he can – and walking on the beach with Mary.