i have realized that, in spite of my valiant efforts to make what i say make sense to civilians, there are some things that need to be explained. keep in mind that everything i'm about to say brings with it about 5 other things that should be explained, and if you have military experience, you'll look at this and will want to add several exceptions and specifications- this is not an exhaustive explanation, but hopefully it will help this life we now lead make more sense for most of you!
each installation (for our sake, an installation is a fort- like fort stewart- it is the geographical location) has a chaplain that stays there and runs the chapel ministries at the installation. each brigade has a chaplain, and each battalion has a chaplain. there are typically several battalions in a brigade. in the active duty world, the first several years of your career are spent as a battalion chaplain. (this is what jon was in iraq and will be after this year of being a trainer.) battalion chaplains serve their unit (battalion) AND usually a post chapel.
ft. stewart currently has 5 post chapels. these are basically church buildings and are run similar to a large church that has different campuses across town. each faith group (protestant, catholic, islam, wiccan, etc) has access to these chapels. for example, at ft. stewart, there is catholic mass; protestant traditional, contemporary, liturgical, and gospel; as well as other meetings for varying faith groups.
when we say that jon is the "associate pastor" at the gospel service, that is not his full-time job- he is still a chaplain trainer. however, he also has responsibilities at this church service. the gospel service has about 300 people who regularly attend and has its own small groups and ministries- just like any other church. the difference is that some of the ministries are post-wide- for example, the youth group is the post youth group- regardless of what service you go to on sunday morning (or if you go at all), the youth group meets at one of the chapels on sunday nights. ladies Bible study (pwoc), single soldier ministry, and kids' church are other examples of this.
i've also had the question- "what is the gospel service- aren't all services gospel?" a post gospel service is predominantly african-american; the music is the style of gospel music you may hear on the radio (NOT southern gospel, mind you!).
i hope that clears things up a bit!