Longtime Foursquare Pastor Charlie Sattgast has been selected chief of the chaplain corps for the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the United States Air Force’s all-volunteer auxiliary. He will be sworn in at a ceremony at CAP’s annual convention in San Antonio, Texas, on Sept. 2.
Formed just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, CAP has 57,000 members who perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.
In his position, Charlie—deputy chief of chaplains the past two years—will oversee the world’s largest volunteer chaplain corps (more than 830 people). He will serve a three-year term.
“I’m a little surprised and humbled,” says Charlie, pastor of hospitality at The Oregon Community (Portland North Foursquare Church) in Portland, Ore. “It’s definitely an honor. Now that I’ve been asked, I trust I am God’s man for the job.”
A Foursquare-endorsed CAP chaplain since 2004, Charlie earned his master’s degree in pastoral studies from Multnomah University and a doctorate in organic leadership development from Bethel University.
Jason Reynolds, director of Foursquare Chaplains International, says Chaplain Sattgast is well known for his deep faith and humility.
“I believe Charlie is a wonderful testimony to the scriptural message of James 4:10, ‘Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up’ (NKJV),” Jason affirms. “He takes very seriously his responsibilities and carries out his duties with excellence. He is a man of wisdom and approachability, which makes him someone who can be trusted even with delicate matters.”
A businessman before sensing God’s call to ministry, Charlie served as senior pastor of Portland’s Grace Foursquare Church from 1994-1998. He later served as an assisting minister there and at Eastside Foursquare Church before joining The Oregon Community in 2010.
The first Foursquare-endorsed chaplain to serve in this position, Charlie is most excited about the opportunity to direct the spiritual lives of the 24,000 cadets who are part of CAP’s program. The auxiliary recently revamped the 24 virtues it teaches to young people over a two-year cycle to align them more closely with the Air Force Academy’s. They include such traits as integrity, service before self, and excellence.
“Our hope is we can make a difference in the lives of young people in instilling these virtues,” Charlie explains. “The chaplain corps is the keeper of the core values; it’s our mission to make sure we keep them in front of the people.”
Charlie decided to enlist in the CAP in 2001 to support his daughter when she became a cadet. Then he became a squadron chaplain, and “one thing led to another,” he says, crediting the Lord for all the opportunities.
The highlight of his 16 years in the patrol is working with young people. Like the woman he counseled who later told a Celebrate Recovery meeting she was alive because Charlie asked her at a meeting how she was doing. Or the man who, after interacting with some cadets, told him: “I had given up hope for the future of our country. I’ve never met young people like them.”
“If ministers understood the level of impact they can have beyond the walls of their congregation without that much extra time or effort, more would be involved in Civil Air Patrol,” Charlie asserts. “Chaplaincy has an impact in the community that no other branch of the church can have. It’s an exciting and fulfilling calling.”