Is a calling or a profession for some chaplains?

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Chaplain Taylor in Chicago, Illinois

53 months ago

I am a minister in my church. I do chapliain work as well in the hospitals, jails, nursing homes,and peoples homes. Why is it so hard to actually work in this profession without a thousand degrees attached? Shouldn't it be that God has called you to do his will in the earth? Or is that "old hat". "What's God got to do with it type attitude". Respond to that...

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Virginia in Oakland, California

51 months ago

Doing God's will on earth is great -- a good way to live an honorable, loving and productive life. That is not the same as what you address, "actual work in this profession," referring to professional chaplaincy. You do not need "a thousand degrees," but you do need social, spiritual and academic preparation. You must study and also receive specialized training in an institutional setting. A minister in a church does not have the skills, training and expertise of a health care chaplain. The requirements for health care chaplaincy include a master's degree in ministry, theology, or divinity, and then a prescribed 1600 hours of Clinical Pastoral Experience under an authorized supervisor in a teaching hospital. Only then can a candide apply for board certification. She must meet qualifications in competencies, aptitude, knowledge and spirituality. Anything less would do a disservice to the people whom the chaplain serves. On the other hand, one who is called to be a "friendly visitor" or a "prayer partner" can work quite well under the supervision of a Board Certified Chaplain. Please refer to the websites www.nacc.org and www.professionalchaplains.org for further insight and understanding. Peace and all goodness in your quest for God's purpose in your life.

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Chap E in Arlington, Texas

45 months ago

Virginia in Oakland...what a great response about being "friendly visitor" or "prayer partner"! These can be valuable supportive resources for folks, especially as they work under the supervision of professional chaplains who are tasked with helping patients connect with their own communities of faith outside the given institution in which they serve. It is also important for those seeking to do chaplain work to realize that chaplains are essentially "professional listeners" who can assess and reflect the theological and/or spiritual location of those they work with without the need to alter those positions. This is a calling of its own. One must be VERY willing to challenge their own assumptions about their faith and religious traditions. If this is not something one is prepared to do...in other words, if you are not in a place to question certain aspects of faith (which can be a faith strengthening process), then chaplaincy is likely not your calling. Being a representative of your faith community in a secular setting is not the same as being a professional chaplain. Professional chaplains certainly bring the influence of their own faith tradition to their work, but their job is much broader than that. Their job is to be helpful to the other person in exploring and discovering how that person's own set of beliefs about God/meaning of life can be a resource for them. This involves more than sharing one's own faith. It was helpful for me to understand this as I began my journey in chaplaincy.

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