Business & Belief

Whiteside aims to kindle workplace faith as chaplain

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Moses didn’t begin his ministry until he was 80-years-old – since crossing that milestone a few months back, Dr. Charles Whiteside aims to catch-up.

“If every church in town doubled their attendance, still less than half of our people would be in church on any given Sunday,” he says. “That is of concern.”

The founder of Ana-Lab – now president-emeritus – aims to address that concern through a new, personal venture: he’s reaching out to businesses in the Kilgore-area to provide free chaplain services in the workplace.

Whiteside has crafted the initiative as Caleb’s Mountain Chaplaincy, built around the 14th chapter of the Book of Joshua in the Bible when one of the spies who entered the land of Canaan, Caleb, reminded the leader of Israel how, at 40 years-old, he'd provided a true report to Moses and was promised an inheritance in the Promised Land.

“So here I am today, 85 years-old!” Caleb said to Joshua. “I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.”

He’s still shy of 85, but Whiteside is ready to stake his claim as well.

“That story’s always been an inspiration for me,” he said, eager now “To be a catalyst. To reach some non-Christians and reactivate some inactive Christians – we have more of those than any kind.”

Licensed to ministry by First Baptist Church of Kilgore, Whiteside notes he’s neither a licensed nor certified counselor and not ordained. He’s “slow-walked” the idea, wanting to do it right, to do it free, to do it when the time is ripe.

“I can’t give you a time and date that I felt this call,” he said. “It’s a strange feeling: I really feel the Lord wants me to do this thing, but I don’t know anyone that’s done it this way.”

He’s reaching out to similar services while making connections in the community. Currently, he’s offering Christian devotionals on a weekly, twice-monthly or monthly basis, whatever a particular business prefers.

Chaplaincy services help improve employee morale and productivity, he noted, in addition to the spiritual impact. He’s aiming for businesses with between 10 and 30 employees and seeking out workplaces where, hopefully, he’ll be a stranger to the employees.

“There are people there I can have some influence on,” he said. “There are plenty in Kilgore. I don’t need to go out of town.”

It’s a strange but wonderful feeling, Whiteside added, one that comes as a surprise.

“This is such a weird thing. I’ve never heard of anybody doing a thing like this at such an advanced age – I’m old! But I’m looking forward to it.”

For more information about Caleb’s Mountain Chaplaincy, call Whiteside at 903-985-9976 or 903-984-0551.

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