Tom Mooney was drafted into the US Air Force in 1972 and served there for the next four years. In 1977, Tom surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and began a rewarding career that has taken him from street ministries to recovery homes, to churches. In 1994 he was called to Berean Christian Ministries in Rocklin, California. In the same year, a new church, Last Day’s Harvest Ministries, was founded, and Tom Mooney became their senior pastor, a position he holds today. Tom’s many years in street ministries and his musical talents give him a unique perspective and ability to relate to the men, and he has become one of the mission’s most beloved teachers.
How did you come to work at Union Gospel Mission?
“I was called by the incoming Director of the Sacramento Union Gospel. We had met at the Springs of Living Water Retreat, where he was Dean of Men, and I was leading our Church’s High School Choir in the State Competition. We had begun a relationship, and I was volunteering by teaching the Drug and Alcohol Program and counseling one day a week. The Director called me and told me he believed it was God’s will for me to become the Chaplain of the Sacramento UGM. This was my heart’s desire as well since, in my time as a volunteer, I had identified certain needs and some areas I felt the Lord could use my life and testimony to move the program forward. I called my board of elders and laid out the invitation, and what it meant to and for the church and for my ministry as well, and after prayer and agreement, I answered the call in 2003.”
What does a UGM chaplain do?
“A chaplain at UGM provides spiritual direction for the men on the program, through daily teaching of the word of God. I had set it in my heart to teach nothing but the word of God and to teach men to rely on God’s word and his word alone. Through teaching and scripture memorization, our minds are renewed, and through the Gospel so we can be restored to the image of our Creator. A Chaplain provides weekly Biblical Counseling and helps our men work through the issues, habits, and wounds that have afflicted them and assist them in finding healing for their souls.
One of the areas of ministry I have enjoyed is leading the singing on Sunday morning and preaching the Gospel for our Sunday morning chapels, and sharing a hot meal with our guests. It is such a blessing to introduce men to the songs of faith and the traditional hymns of the church. My favorite services have always centered around the Mission’s Holiday Food Box Program, the neighborhood signs up for turkey dinner food boxes, and they come and sing their hearts out and rejoice in the gospel. A chaplain has the blessing of seeing the power of the Gospel working in the lives of our guests and program men.”
What are the challenges you face in your position?
“Only God can change a heart, only God can enable a lost sinner to hear the life-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only God can mend a broken heart. It matters not how eloquent a speaker may be. Only God alone can honor that message and ‘prick’ a sinner’s heart. We are totally dependent on God and God alone, ‘except the Lord builds the house they labor in vain who build it…’ PS 127:1. Anything we might accomplish by our own craft or skill is vanity, and the people we serve deserve only the pure word of God delivered by a heart that truly loves them and seeks nothing but what is good and edifying for them.”
To UGM’s donors/supporters:
“I want to thank you for your faithfulness and for supporting the Mission with your prayers and donations. What humbles me is your desire to give to the ‘Kingdom of God’ and your desire to see the ‘Kingdom of God’ going forward. So often, I see the same people, year after year, bringing in their donations, bringing in the clothes which we so desperately need so our clothes closet doesn’t run out. I get to know some ‘saints’ of God with a heart of service, for years working with them, and then God them calls them home. I keep their pictures on the wall in my office, but suddenly God brings in two more with the same heart of service. Then I know this is their mission, not ours, it is God’s Mission and I am so in awe of being a part of what God is doing.”