Family Business


From time to time you hear that when people describe what they do for a living and how they got into their profession.

Take the military for example. Sometimes serving in the armed forces is just what a family does, what a family expects of their children, how a family identifies itself. Not unlike the “Lieutenant Dan” character in Forrest Gump who described his family lineage as participating in (and consequently dying in) every American conflict from the then Vietnam War all the way back to the American Revolution. For some families, the military is simply a way – the way – of life. This did not apply to my family.

There certainly seemed to be a family business in my family but it wasn’t the military. In fact, I could not recall a single member who served in the armed forces. However, where we lacked in the “Uncle Sam wants you!” category, we made up in the “Preach the gospel!” exhortation in the Bible. My father was a Lutheran minister and his father before him. His five brothers entered the ministry as well as eventually my four brothers. My other grandfather was a preacher… and well, you get the picture. Family business on both sides of the aisle.

Which also makes it no surprise that I was in the “Family Business” as well. For two years after graduation from the seminary, I had been in ministry teaching religion at a Lutheran Prep school in Wisconsin. You know, however, no matter how much you plan your future – things change, sometimes dramatically. I learned that I was not the exception in this case.

This is “My Story” of how a Lutheran minister looked around only to see that his new cohorts were the members of his platoon in Basic Combat Training in the United States military at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Chaplain Steve Schroeder, CW4—Retired, served in both Afghanistan and Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, flying many mission in combat situations. A helicopter crash ended his flying career and opened the path for a ministry helping those experiencing severe trauma.