Groundbreaking AG Chaplain Passes at 91

AG Chaplain John A. Lindvall
In this 1952 photo, Chaplain (Captain) John A. Lindvall (standing center with book), leads members of the regiment in singing during religious services held in the field. (U.S. Army Chaplain Museum)

Chaplain John A. Lindvall, one of the first Assemblies of God endorsed military chaplains, passed away on July 14. He was 91.

According to the former director of the AG Chaplaincy Department, Chuck Marvin, Lindvall was a groundbreaking chaplain for the Assemblies of God. “In many ways, he paved the way for future AG chaplains, earning respect and recognition at the highest levels,” Marvin says. “In fact, he was one of the reasons I chose to enter the chaplaincy.

“Although he was a tough soldier, Chaplain Lindvall was loved as a compassionate, outgoing pastor who led many to Christ and discipled them as well,” Marvin adds. “He had an impish twinkle in his eye, respectfully poked innocent fun even at senior officers and his social skills often left people with a hearty laugh because of his sense of humor.”

Lindvall, who was born in Muskegon, Mich., became an Army chaplain in 1944, serving in the European Theater in World War II. Following the war, he became an Assemblies of God missionary, serving in Switzerland, Germany and Czechoslovakia until 1950, when he was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. He would receive the Bronze Star for his efforts there.

Being a master parachutist, Lindvall was the first chaplain sent to Vietnam, ultimately overseeing eight other chaplains. In 1967, Lindvall became the first AG chaplain to achieve the rank of a full colonel in the U.S. Army.

“John Lindvall set the bar for all other AG chaplains,” Marvin says. “His efforts inspired others and earned respect for the Assemblies of God Chaplaincy program so that now the military equates AG chaplains with quality.”

According to AG Military/VA Chaplaincy Representative Scott McChrystal, Lindvall invested in other chaplains as well. “In addition to being a pioneer,” McChrystal says, “Chaplain Lindvall was always willing to take time to teach and mentor younger chaplains.”

However, Lindvall's service to God didn't end with his retirement from the military in 1971. In addition to serving in pastoral roles, he founded Mission Ministries, Inc. This evangelical ministry was dedicated to supporting, motivating and equipping missionaries and Christian workers in serving the poor and needy throughout the world.

“He always had a heart for missions,” Marvin says. “Chaplain Lindvall was also particularly instrumental in helping to form the annual Assemblies of God military retreats for military personnel and ministries in Germany.”

Lindvall was preceded in death by his wife, Ella Mae (2008) and his four brothers and one sister. He is survived by his four children, their spouses and grandchildren.

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