John Morris started serving the Lord at age 19, and has had an incredible journey as both an Army chaplain and United Methodist pastor, both positions from which he recently retired. He shares his story of walking away from the goals that his parents had for him and into one that God did, and how he remained confident in that calling — even to this day.

Who is John Morris? John Morris is a Senior Instructor at the General Colin L. Powell Leadership Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a STEM school focusing on a commitment to leadership and service. John spent 31 years in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard, and served as the Staff Chaplain and Action Officer of the Chaplain’s Office of the Pentagon until his recent retirement. He also retired in 2018 from being a United Methodist pastor, and then returned to his roots in education at the academy, teaching Junior ROTC classes to high school students.

As a first-generation American born to a mother fleeing a war-torn France, John knows what it is like to struggle to fit into a new country. He sees his extensive record in serving in the Army and as a pastor as the perfect gifting of the Lord to serve as the JROTC instructor at a school where many students speak a different language than English at home. He knows the struggles these students are facing and views the chance to help young people physically, spiritually, and emotionally as an honor.


“The Pentagon was a challenging, tough place. But I saw God at work there.” — John

“I don’t see that I made a turn in any direction, I just kept following that still, small voice.” — John

“Going to war is like pulling the sewer grate off of Hell and then dipping people in it.” — John

“When I switched from a business major to an education major, I made the big shift of serving self to serving others.” — John

Action Steps:

  • People who live in the present pray for direction as opposed to rescue.
  • John has three pieces of wisdom for people facing a challenge or a resistance to your calling: 1) Seek counsel, 2) Maintain connection, and 3) Take comfort in the scriptures. Those three equate to confidence in moving ahead in your calling.
  • Walking into a situation with a Godly confidence as opposed to a skillset or capability confidence should be a goal that we all have.

Resources mentioned:

  • Official website for the General Colin Powell Leadership Academy:
  • Connect with John on LinkedIn.

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