A chaplain is a member of the clergy, a religious ministry professional in a legal sense. A Chaplain is ordained and licensed to work outside the church in a secular setting. There are similarities in the work a Chaplain and Pastor does, but Chaplains do not hold an office of authority within the church, as does a Pastor. Chaplains bring the sacred to the secular environment. Chaplains have authority to represent the church for such things as ritual, worship, ordinances, pastoral care, and weddings. Our chaplains are motivated first and foremost by the love of Christ and filled with a desire to serve those outside the church as the hands and feet of Jesus. Because we believe that Jesus is God the Son who came into the world to save sinners from death and permanent separation from God, we make Him the heart of our mission. We are "Ambassadors of Christ" and work to proclaim the love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and changed life that can only come to those who are won by Christ's love which we carry into the world in which we serve. We desire to share that truth with the people to whom we are sent.
How do we do this? By loving people as they are, accepting them without judgment or condemnation. We do not force our faith upon them. We wait patiently for them to be drawn to Him through their friendship with us. We listen and love, we help and serve. We are interested in their stories and we ask seriously curious questions while listening to understand rather than to respond. We are keepers of "The Sacred Presence" to people who are hurting and in need.
For fifteen hundred years, Chaplaincy has been a distinctly Christian ministry. It comes from the fourth century. An office of "Capelli," the French word for cloak or cape. It is from the legend of the cloak of Pastor Martin of Tours - AKA St. Martin. He was a Roman soldier turned born again Christian and became a famous pastor. The Chaplain is the "Keeper of the Sacred Presence." The Chapel was a place of calming peace where a person could find rest and talk with God. Modern Chaplains are still "Keepers of the Sacred Presence." We must be at peace to bring peace and be calm to bring calm to a hurting world who needs to feel comfortable talking to God. This is why we learn to listen: So that God can do the talking!
Our Logo features the Southern Live Oak Tree. Like the Live Oak, Chaplaincy has deep roots and many branches of opportunity to serve people with the love of Christ. At the core of our ministry, the root that gives us life is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our work is rooted in trusting Him to do what we cannot. Our Chaplains learn to serve together with a community of believers, like a family, on mission for Jesus to a particular people group.
Our Chaplains are dedicated, mature and growing believers who follow the call of God on their lives to reach out to people in need. The many branches of ministry performed by our Chaplains include, for example:
- Recovery from addictions
- Jail, prison, and those recently released or on parole
- Disabled and special needs
- Troubled teens
- Sex trafficking victims
- Nursing home/assisted living
- English as a second language
- Emergency, crisis, and critical incidents
- Marriage and family care
- Military and veterans
- Police and fire
- The homeless
- Office and workplace environment
- Motorcycle ministry
- Hospice Care
Do you remember the story of "The Good Samaritan"?
Jesus told about the most unlikely of individuals, just a regular Joe like you and me, one who the professionals least expected to do any good. The Samaritan stopped and helped the man. He bandaged his wounds, gave him cool water, carried him to an Inn where he could receive extended care. He even promised to come back and check on his progress and pay any unpaid bills. That, my friends, is a picture of what it looks like to be one of our Chaplains.
Won't you join us?
Let us show you, empower you, and send you out to do the same. Life on mission for Jesus in community with others who share the same sense of purpose is wonderful indeed. Come with us and learn how to make a friend, be a friend, and draw the friend to Christ.
Chaplains are expected to be skilled at two important things: Communication and Faith. We listen twice as much as we speak. We practice the ministry of presence and ask seriously curious questions to help the person talk about their life and circumstances. It is through active listening that we earn the right to share our faith when they are ready to receive it. We are experts on religion and spiritual truth. We do not prescribe solutions, nor do we try to fix anyone because we simply cannot fix them anyway. Only God can do that. So we listen listen, love love. We engage in relationships.
Our motto is "Make a friend, be a friend, draw the friend to Christ"
And, you may have to be their faithful listening helpful friend for a long time before you earn the right to share faith. We do not push, force, or proselytize. We do not judge. We are gentle and caring, never pushy or obnoxious. We listen to understand rather than to respond.