Is God calling me to be a chaplain?

What is a Chaplain?

Chaplains serve in many contexts, among them:

  • Education [Nursery, Primary, Secondary, FE and HE];
  • Healthcare [Hospital, Community Hospital, Mental Health, Residential Care and GP surgeries];
  • Armed Forces, Police and transport;
  • Industry, retail, sport, culture and charities;
  • Community Chaplaincy [city and town centres and villages].

However, all chaplains serve the 95% who do not have regular [monthly] contact with the local church.Chaplains:

  • are distinctively Christian and utterly inclusive, at ease working with people of all faiths and cultures;
  • bring ‘life in all its fullness’ to communities beyond the church;
  • offer spiritual and pastoral care for all;
  • listen and care, pray for and bless the community they serve;
  • are existentially literate, at ease with spirituality and with matters of life and death;
  • share the life of the community; as a member of the team, rather then a visitor.

Who can be a chaplain?

If you believe that God is calling you to:

  • minister, serve, listen, care and pray beyond the church;
  • distinctively Christian and utterly inclusive, at ease working with people of all faiths and cultures;
  • bring ‘life in all its fullness’ to communities beyond the church;
  • offer spiritual and pastoral care for all;
  • listen and care, to pray for and bless the community;
  • be existentially literate, at ease with spirituality and with matters of life and death.
  • share the life of the community; as a member of the team, rather then a visitor.

this may be a ministry for you to explore.

Chaplains can be full-time and part-time, voluntary or paid, ay and ordained and from all Christian denominations and traditions.

Meet a Chaplain - Gwen Kearley

Chaplaincy is about showing God’s love. My prayer is that through what I do and say, people at school will see me as an approachable Christian presence and be able to choose to turn to God.

When I first took up the role, some people found the idea of a chaplain a bit strange.I have built up relationships and I try to have an open door to anybody.I see God at work in the school every day and my role is to help children, parents and teachers see that for themselves.

We have a prayer space in the school and collective worship has become much more focused on Jesus, Christian values and sharing biblical stories. I also run a ‘Bible Is Fun’ club for children with a connection to the church. I am often humbled by the way in which the children approach some of life’s big questions ; you can see that God is at work.

What’s involved in becoming a chaplain?

Discernment

Working out your calling is about listening attentively to God and reflecting with others.

If you feel called to this ministry, talk to your church leaders and local chaplains and consider attending an Exploring Chaplaincy course.

Not everyone who does the course will decide to go on to become a Chaplain.

Training

We want Chaplains to feel equipped for the role. An 8 session course, followed by regular training and mentoring.The course gives Chaplains confidence to go on to exercise their ministry on behalf of the church.

Becoming a chaplain

Those who:

  • have completed the course;
  • feel called to be a Chaplain ;
  • have been appointed to a specific chaplaincy role;
  • have completed safeguarding requirements;

are then commended by the Bishop for this role and released into their ministry locally.

Being a Chaplain

  • All chaplains have a role or job description for their ministry.  There are as many models of chaplaincy as there are local churches.  However, all chaplains ‘live and tell the story of Jesus’ within their communities and serve the 95% who don’t have regular [monthly] contact with the local church.
  • It is important for Chaplains to continue to reflect and grow in their ministry so they will be encouraged to meet together and continue learning.

How do I find out more?

First, have a word with your church leader or a local chaplain about chaplaincy.

If you would then like to find out more about exploring chaplaincy, please contact:

Mike Haslam, Chaplaincy Development Adviser