Todd Combee has joined the Center for Cultural Engagement as the new director of Chaplaincy Relations for Texas Baptists and Baptist Chaplaincy Relations.
Combee, who has vast experience in chaplaincy and chaplaincy ministries, will oversee the endorsement, training and support of chaplains. He fills the vacancy created by the death in October 2022 of Bobby Smith, the founding and longtime director of Chaplaincy Relations.
“I am delighted to have Todd Combee as our next director of chaplaincy,” said Dr. Katie Frugé, director of the Center for Cultural Engagement. “His extensive military and pastoral background perfectly complement the ongoing work of Texas Baptist Chaplaincy Relations. As we prayerfully considered who the next director of chaplaincy needed to be, it was clear the Holy Spirit was leading us to him for this new chapter in the chaplaincy story, and I am thrilled for the days to come.”
Combee began his duties May 15, moving from the Baptist General Association of Virginia, where he served as director of chaplaincy since 2017. He has served with Texas Baptists as an associate endorser since 2020.
Combee served for 34 years as a military chaplain in the Virginia Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve. Combee served for 18 years as pastor of Bethesda Baptist Church in Mechanicsville, Va., before retiring after 36 total years in local church ministry. Combee and his wife, Susan, have been married since 1982. They have two sons and three grandchildren.
“I am excited and humbled to be leading Baptist Chaplaincy Relations as the new director/endorser,” Combee said. “Bobby Smith and Texas Baptists began this ministry 21 years ago, and I have had the opportunity to be a part of (the ministry) since 2017, when Virginia Baptists were invited to be a partner in endorsing, training and caring for our chaplains and their families. My goal is really a team goal: To carry on the great work the Baptist Chaplaincy Relations has become known for and continue to build our program into the premier chaplain endorsing program in the country.”
Chaplaincy Relations endorses and trains chaplains in the areas of military, correctional, lifestyle, public safety, marketplace, crisis response and pastoral counseling. Since its creation, the ministry has endorsed more than 1,125 chaplains, including 650 active chaplains.
“Chaplaincy Relations is a premier ministry of Texas Baptists,” Frugé said. “Their work is threefold: chaplaincy endorsement, pastoral care and support and chaplain training. Texas Baptist Chaplaincy Relations has built one of the top chaplaincy programs in the nation.”
Texas Baptists partnered with Virginia Baptists for chaplaincy endorsement in 2017. Combee was the first chaplain endorsed through the new partnership and immediately began serving on the Chaplain Endorsement Council and as an associate endorser for Virginia Baptists.
Smith, the founding and longtime director of Chaplaincy Relations with Texas Baptists, passed away after 25 years of service, leaving “a ministry legacy,” according to Frugé, of “a worldwide network of chaplains serving in every corner of our communities under the umbrella of Texas Baptists.”
Since Smith’s death, Eric Whitmore has served as interim director and endorser.
“As Todd begins this exciting new chapter, I also want to offer a tremendous ‘thank you’ to Eric Whitmore, as he so faithfully and capably has led as interim director these past few months, following the passing of Bobby Smith,” Frugé said. “Our entire chaplaincy team serves with excellence in all ways and has worked diligently to keep the ball rolling during this process.”
Whitmore added: “The last six months have been a difficult time as we all grieved the death of Bobby Smith. But this time has been good in other ways. Our team had the opportunity to begin healing and seeking God’s will. We joined together to provide our chaplains the quality care and attention they deserve. We worked diligently to prepare the way for new leadership. We continued the legacies of Bobby through timely endorsement, unparalleled pastoral care and world-class training.”
For more information about Chaplaincy Relations, visit http://txb.org/chaplaincy.
Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.
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