A native of Washington state, Kathi Gregoire graduated from Western Washington University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. Soon after graduating, Kathi sensed a call to full-time ministry, and in 1996 she became a Chi Alpha missionary at Montana State University – Bozeman. Her life was turned upside down in 2001, when she suffered a brain injury in a skiing mishap that caused lingering effects that forced her to step down from her Chi Alpha position in 2006.
However, after experiencing miraculous healing from God, Kathi returned to full-time ministry in 2015 as a chaplain for the sheriff’s office in Gallatin County, in which Bozeman is located. In addition, she graduated in 2018 from Global University with a Master of Arts in Ministerial Studies. Kathi has been married since 2001 to her husband Jerry, who she met through Chi Alpha at MSU – Bozeman. After 25 years in Montana, she and her husband moved to Joyce, Washington, to be closer to my family. Kathi shares how the ministry prepared her for her current job, and the opportunities that come with it.
Describe the impact Chi Alpha had on you as a student.
The biggest thing is that I was introduced to the Holy Spirit. I didn’t have any exposure to the third member of the Trinity and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. It also gave me a nurturing place, so when I landed on campus, I had a place to grow in my faith. A high percentage of high school students, when they go to a secular university lose their faith. Some of the best friends I have are from my Chi Alpha days, including my husband! I was also called into vocational ministry while I was a student in Chi Alpha. Chi Alpha helped me learn how to manage my time and finances effectively. I learned about fasting and still use the foundational tools today. I was a core facilitator so I learned a ton about leading small groups and hands on ministry. I met Jerry, my husband, at a Chi Alpha at Montana State University. Dick Schroeder from MSU – Bozeman Chi Alpha did a teaching called “The Father Heart of God.” This teaching radically impacted my life for the better. The video series can be found on YouTube.
How did Chi Alpha prepare you for your current role as a chaplain?
The biggest way Chi Alpha prepared me is the view that ministry is based on relationship. Law enforcement is a tight-knit, closed community. You have to be welcomed and accepted by the law enforcement officers (LEOs) first. So, basing my ministry as a chaplain, I just spent a lot of time with LEOs, whether its ride-alongs, or visiting with them in the patrol area or at special events, etc. Getting to know them and them getting to know me builds relationship. President Trump recently visited Belgrade and it was a great opportunity for me to get to know LEOs from across the state. The currency of heaven is relationships and I try to build relationships with the LEOs I serve.
What are some of the challenges and rewards of being a law enforcement chaplain?
The reward is getting to be around some of the best people I’ve ever met. The LEOs I am around are some of the kindest, smartest, and most fun people I’ve met. There are tough days. A year and a half ago in a neighboring county, a deputy sheriff was ambushed and killed, and I was part of the notification team that went to his home and informed his wife. Another time I was on a notification to a friend of mine and I told her that her husband had been killed in a work accident. Anytime someone dies that is not in the hospital or hospice care, I notify family. It is a sacred privilege.
What advice do you have for anyone who is interested in pursuing chaplaincy ministry?
I would say, get involved with any kind of ministry. Learn ministry, learn how to be with people and around people in a ministry setting. And you better be baptized in the Holy Spirit; it empowers you for service! That’s what you do; you serve. Period. If you’re interested in law enforcement chaplaincy, contact your local law enforcement agency and schedule a ride-along. See what they do and what they deal with.
How are you continuing to live on mission and be involved in discipleship after graduation?
My husband and I are active in our local church and have been small group Bible study leaders, greeters, just about everything including being on the deacon board. We purposefully invest our time and resources into others whether through formal opportunities at church or informally through relationship. We try to always have someone older pouring into us, as well as us pouring into someone younger.
How have you found the ability to give in the marketplace impacts your walk with God/community?
We plan in our budget a section we call “The Joy Fund.” When an opportunity presents itself, we pray together, follow the Lord’s leading and with joy we give money out of that fund. We also support Chi Alpha missionaries monthly financially and prayerfully as well as some overseas missionaries and US Mission missionaries. If we don’t give, we are part of tying the hands of those called to serve in this capacity.
What advice/encouragement would you give other alumni who are trying to live on a mission in the marketplace?
Don’t edit Jesus out of your conversation. I have heard Christians say we have to be careful, but my personal experience has shown me people are fine hearing about Jesus in my life. Some have even told me that they wonder why those that they know are Christians don’t talk about Jesus in their lives.
- Compassion: The Painful Privilege, written by Dan Nolta, for emergency chaplaincy. Rev. Dr. Robby Jernigan’s Emergency Services Chaplaincy courses through the Assemblies of God: www.emergencychaplains.org.
- The chaplaincy department at the Assemblies of God National Office: https://chaplaincy.ag.org/this-is-my-church/emergency-services.
- Kathi Gregoire can be contacted for more information and is available for speaking engagements: [email protected].