4702194231 info@firstresponderschaplainassoc.org Donation

Lesson 1

Introduction to Industrial Chaplaincy

Pastor vs Chaplain

Institutional Chaplaincy is a ministry that is unique and varied. Institutional chaplains serve correctional facilities, police and fire agencies, medical centers, senior-care, universities, and colleges. Pastors and Chaplains share many tasks and competencies. Both have experienced a special call to ministry and service. Both are teachers, caregivers, witnesses of their faith, and advocates for people. Both have a desire to equip people to grow in spiritual maturity. So one might ask, what is the difference? Perhaps the most significant difference is the setting in which the ministry is provided. Congregational Pastors usually minister to a group of people who have like or similar religious beliefs and who share many common cultural identities, such as, language, geographic location, socioeconomic status, or ethnic identity.

Chaplains, on the other hand, usually minister to a group of people of many different religious beliefs or no religious beliefs at all. These people usually represent many different cultural identities, including those of education, profession, and political persuasion. Community clergy is given authority by a congregation or ecclesiastical body, whereas Chaplains are given authority by the institution that employs them in addition to the ecclesiastical body that endorses them. Chaplains are clergy members from any one of various religious faiths who has chosen to minister to a group of people outside the walls of a church or other house of worship. From a Christian perspective, their role is pastoral, prophetic, and priestly, even while being nonreligious to those who profess no religion. They enter the ministry situation with no personal agenda and the attitude of a servant.

Christian Chaplains are an extension of Christ’s ministry to all people. There is a common misconception that Chaplains have left the real ministry to do social ministry. This could not be farther from the truth. Jesus did make a habit of regular synagogue attendance, and be often taught there (Luke 4:16-24). However, most of His ministry was very much outside the walls of the institutional “church.” He taught on the seashore, on mountaintops, over dinner tables, and along the roads as He walked. Additionally, He did not limit His ministry to devout Jews, but befriended sinners and tax collectors, healed Romans and Samaritans. He preached to crowds of mixed Jewish and Gentile ancestry.

Following Christ’s example of cross-cultural ministry, Chaplains provide many forms of caring ministry to countless people in various places beyond the walls of the church. Mathew 25 concerns Jesus’ teaching about the value of all persons, not just those who shared His ethnicity, culture, and religion. Jesus taught that if people wanted to be considered righteous and “inherit the kingdom” of God, they were to minister to all persons, particularly those considered the “least of these. “Many of the people who were considered the “least of these” are still with us. They are the homeless, the disabled, the uneducated, and the terminally ill. Chaplains are called to minister to the disenfranchised of society, the “least of these.”

Additionally, however, Chaplains face the challenge of providing loving care to all they encounter, even those whose social or economic status does not seem to warrant help or those whose celebrity already commands attention or assistance. Other times the challenge is providing and demonstrating the love of God to those who do not seem to deserve care, the perpetrator of a heinous crime or the one who threatens the Christian faith.

The Mathew text speaks to the Chaplain of the innate worth of all persons, not just those who agree with their religion, share their culture, or look like them. Because we are all “created in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), we are all entitled to, and worthy of, compassionate ministry and respect. Chaplains follow Gods example by loving and caring for any person regardless of age, gender, culture, race, color, or ethnic background. Jesus instructed people to take the initiative and go to those in need, not wait for people to come to them, specifically to those who are “sick or in prison.” There is undoubtedly biblical precedence for taking ministry to the people rather than waiting for them to come to the minister. The significance of the pattern for going to people in order to minister is that it was common in biblical times, that there is a long-standing precedent for this form of ministry, and that it is not a new or modern delivery system of ministry that should be looked at with suspicion.

The Chaplains mandate is to be involved in the crisis of people’s lives, regardless of personal religious convictions; the Chaplain is often in the position of ministering to the basic needs of others. That ministry is not a hook to obligate the client to remain for the sermon or any other overtly religious teaching or service, but an excellent example of the Chaplains own living faith. Ministry is provided without conditions and unrealistic expectations; it should be out of genuine love and compassion. The Chaplain must always exercise wisdom in choosing the appropriate ministry intervention for each situation.

Attending to the basic human physiological needs of survival must often take precedence over evangelizing with the gospel message. Starving people perceive that they have a greater need for food than they do for religion, and no amount of religion will assuage their aching bellies. The cold, the hungry, the thirsty, the hurting-they find little comfort in religious tracts and platitudes. They need blankets and a place of physical and emotional safety. The good works of Chaplains and other ministers often open the doors for faith. Jesus made ministry practical in order to make evangelism possible. James also made this point when he asserted that by our good works (deeds) others would be able to see that our faith is genuine. (James 2:14-17).

Another Chaplaincy concept modeled for us in scripture is what Jesus asked for and needed from others during His darkest moments in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mathew 26:36-45). Twice Jesus asked His disciples to “stay and keep watch.” No doing for would help Him in that hour. Not even His closest disciples Peter and John could do anything for Him except to stay and keep watch. Keeping watch involves active emotional and spiritual presence in addition to physical presence. Jesus was asking for His disciple’s presence. He needed His disciples to stay and be with Him.

The Chaplain, as a representative or ambassador of Christ, is privileged to stay with someone emotional, physical, or in spiritual pain, without trying to fix the person’s problems, offer unsolicited advice, or recite religious platitudes. Being present in a time of crisis offers tremendous moral support, the fact that the Chaplain is there may enable them to believe that God has not abandoned them and communicates Gods assurance, “Fear not, for I am with you.” (Isaiah 41:10, NKJV)[i] By (CI) Chaplain Norberto Guzman, B.A., M.C.C.  / Signet Bible College and Theological Seminary / Special resource: www.coursehero.com[ii]

Different Roles of Chaplains

Chaplain’s in Law Enforcement Overview

Law enforcement Chaplains serve municipal law enforcement agencies, such as city police, or county agencies that include sheriff’s departments. They also serve state agencies that include rangers, state patrol, and highway patrol. In addition to these entities, there is a broader field in federal agencies that includes the Secret Service, the FBI, and U.S. Border Patrol. In all such settings, Chaplains provide direct services to a particular station or office as well as being available to the rest of the department or agency. Law enforcement Chaplains have many duties that relate directly to officers and staff of the law enforcement agency. For example, the chaplain may ride with officers while on duty, attend roll calls, departmental meetings, and provide counseling for officers and staff, as well as families members. They may be called upon to visit officers and departmental personnel who are hospitalized or homebound.

Chaplains in law enforcement have many duties that relate to a victim or the community at large. In this arena, they counsel victims of crime and provide them with direct spiritual care. In the event of a disaster where large communities have been majorly affected, families need someone to aid them and direct them thru the chaos they have endured. Chaplains visit them, counsel the families, and bring them comfort. The Chaplain who visits these communities in distress communicates God’s assurance, “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV) Spiritual care in the aftermath of major disasters can be feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, providing water for the thirsty, or sheltering the exposed. Once the person is met with their immediate needs, then they will be in a mindset to minister. Law enforcement Chaplains fill a unique role in providing spiritual care, religious ministry, and intercession in the lives of many officers and support personnel who serve the public in crises and stressful situations. [iii]

Chaplains may be the only spiritual provider many officers and staff will ever know. With compassion, experience, and common sense, Chaplains counsel and encourage through availability, presence, nonjudgmental listening, and building trusting relationships by being dependable, honest, and transparent. Many agencies require specialized training; some of the courses are physical fitness, burn out and self-care, first aid, CPR, and critical incident stress management. Most training in law enforcement Chaplains, however, focus on death and injury notifications and suicide prevention. Each agency has its own requirements, and even the experienced Chaplain has to go thru the agencies training program.   By (CI) Chaplain Norberto Guzman, B.A., M.C.C.  / Signet Bible College and Theological Seminary /Special Resource: bcnn1wp.wordpress.com

The Fire Chaplain Overview

Many fire agencies recruit local clergy to serve as volunteer chaplains in order to handle emergencies within the department. The issues surrounding firefighters are similar to that of those who serve in law enforcement. Duties include performing death notifications, counseling department personnel, and their families, and being available to minister during times of crisis. Fire chaplains also perform weddings, funerals as well as invocations and benedictions at academy graduations. Often, firefighter’s tensions are heightened by the long hours spent in the fire station away from their families. The fire service becomes the second family for the firefighter adding stressors to the life of the emergency responder. Firefighters compete against their fellow firefighters for advancement. Shift work often leads to an increase in tensions. Long periods are spent with coworkers in training, station and equipment maintenance, fire prevention inspections, and in highly intense emergency incidents. The adrenaline is often flowing just because they are on duty. This factor alone increases tensions as firefighters try to deal with each other and the public while the body is in a continual state of alarm.

Prison Ministry Overview

Undoubtedly, correctional ministry requires a calling. The minister enters the world of locked doors, barbed-wire fences, armed guards, and painful solitude. They enter into the suffering of a defeated people who live with anger, depression, loneliness, hostility, and even despair. They penetrate the darkness of prisons while providing for the free exercise of religion for all inmates. In the tradition of Isaiah, they preach the good news of God’s forgiveness and restore spiritual blindness. While inmates may face many years of incarceration, the minister releases the oppressed from emotional and spiritual prison of self-condemnation, anxiety, and bitterness. Inmates suffer the same disappointments, hurts, and grief that others face outside the prison walls. The experience separation anxiety, broken relationships, embarrassment, disappointments, deaths of loved ones, issues with self-esteem, and physical illness. The difference between inmates and the average citizen is that inmates experience these things in complete isolation-separated from loved ones and support systems. The very nature of the circumstances makes them more vulnerable to emotional and spiritual distress.

The environment within the correctional institution breeds many issues that intensify with the level of security of the institution. Jails, prisons, and penitentiaries all deal with inmates who succumb to peer-pressure while confined. The pressure to conform to the attitude of criminals or bad people is a coping mechanism for those who feel weak and vulnerable. The correctional minister is continually dealing with the fear inmates have of being perceived as weak and exposed because they have chosen to make a lifestyle change, abandoning the life of criminal activity.[v] Inmates also deal with issues of depersonalization and dehumanization. They fear breaches of confidentiality, prejudice, and discrimination. For some, fear is the natural outcome of the impending release, resettlement, or even execution. Correctional ministers have the difficult task of building trust with inmates through personalizing their relationships, humanizing their circumstances, equalizing their perceived inequities, and fostering peace and reconciliation in circumstance of prejudice, discrimination, racism and all forms of injustice.

The environment of the correctional institution is often a microcosm of the greater world of crime outside the bars, guarded walls, and monitored rooms of prison. Thus, it is particularly vital for prison ministers to understand the complicated nature of gangs, sexual assault, drugs, and crime. These are frequent issues inside prison walls, as well as in the world beyond. In ministering to inmates, the Chaplain is called to provide compassionate care for people. In doing so, they are constantly assessing and making decisions about what approach to take. Respecting the boundaries of inmates while honoring his own boundaries may create tension for the Chaplain. How does the minister deal with this tension, and by what standards does he or she function? Boundaries are established for the mutual protection and accountability of the Chaplain and inmate.

The prison Chaplain is committed to proclaiming God’s love to a people that may have never been to a church or heard God’s word before. He steps in thru the prison doors and speaks God’s word. Taking the initiative to meet people in their pain and suffering requires courage and compassion. He intentionally chooses to enter into the lives of people, accompanying them on a journey that may include hardship as well as joy.

The prison Chaplain enters into an environment of differing cultures, interests, and religions. Therefore, it is essential to have integrity and be compassionate in his character so that he could evangelize thru his walk. The work of a prison Chaplain begins with God’s call to ministry. Every person experiences God’s call in one way or another. It may be the call to saving faith or the call to faithful discipleship. By (CI) Chaplain Norberto Guzman, B.A., M.C.C.  / Signet Bible College and Theological Seminary

The Hospital Chaplain Overview

Hospital Chaplains offer ministry and spiritual guidance to patients, family members, and caregivers within the hospital setting. Many Hospital Chaplains work in an interfaith environment using a non-denominational style of counseling. They may perform specific religious duties related to the faith they were ordained in, for example, administration of last rites. Chaplains work with a diverse population, counseling patients undergoing surgical procedures, facing “end of life” issues or involved in traumatic accidents. They also offer comfort and support to patients’ families. Hospital staff may call upon chaplains to calm angry or emotionally distraught friends and family members of patients. Chaplains may conduct religious services in the hospital chapel, including officiating at memorial services and weddings. In some cases, a Hospital Chaplain will provide spiritual support to fellow staff members and care providers.

The Hospice Chaplain Overview

Hospice chaplain duties pertain to the end of life needs of not only dying patients, but also their families, caregivers, community, and even the interdisciplinary medical team. Hospice is more than just providing medical interventions during the end of life. Hospice Chaplains provide direct spiritual support and end of life counsel to patients and families in keeping with the spiritual beliefs of the patient and family. The goal of Hospice care is to enable patients to die with dignity, without pain, which includes meeting spiritual needs and social needs. [viii]

The Corporate Chaplain Overview

Some businesses, large or small, employ chaplains for their staff and clientele. According to The Economist (August 25, 2007, edition, pg. 64), there are 4,000 corporate chaplains in serving in corporate America. Other chaplaincies outside of emergency services include rodeos, racetracks, fairgrounds, truck stops, clubs, and lodges.  Typically, chaplaincy in these specific venues serve on a volunteer basis and contain the following duties but not limited to, performing opening invocations at significant events, officiating weddings and funerals and ministering to personnel and their families. Truck driving chaplains often drive large rigs from truck stop to truck stop conducting church services for long-haul drivers. Usually, the trailer converts into a portable open platform allowing weary travelers to participate in church services while away from home. As in the case of the emergency service community, the chaplain spends time with personnel developing relationships and provides spiritual counseling to those in need.

The Three Levels of Chaplaincy

There is often the debate of what defines a professional chaplain and the expectation and role they should play in ministry. In some church organizations, the role that a chaplain plays in ministry is often seen as an extension of the church with minimal relevance being placed on actual chaplaincy work. While ministering the Gospel of Christ to the incarcerated in prison, the chaplain’s primary objective, the overall duties of a professional chaplain are more in-depth and will vary depending on industry needs. These duties will differ from those who are serving as visitation (Volunteer) chaplains in the county detention centers and correctional facilities where the requirements are not as arduous.

Ecclesiastical Endorsement

The Professional Paid Chaplain

Ecclesiastical Endorsement is similar to accreditation and is a process by which a denomination or ministry organization certifies to the requesting agency that they wholeheartedly support and validate the qualifications and expertise of the chaplain and will take responsibility for chaplain conduct should he or she fail to meet the employer’s expectations or breach protocols. Most federal and state governments and healthcare organizations require endorsement as a prerequisite before paid employment. In order for a denomination or ministry organization to provide government recognized endorsement they must go through a strict governmental registration process and spend thousands of dollars in registration fees. Many independent churches and ministry organizations are unable to afford the cost associated with becoming an accredited endorsing agency, forgo the process, and provide independent endorsement for their ministers. This may or may not be acceptable to government and healthcare organizations when applying for a paid position as a chaplain. Generally speaking, Ecclesiastical Endorsement is not required by governmental agencies (Military excluded) for voluntary positions though a form of licensing or ordination is a minimal requirement.

Most hospitals, state and federal agencies require their chaplains to have Ecclesiastical Endorsement and a minimum of a Master of Divinity Degree (There are some exceptions) in order to function as a chaplain, while local agencies tend to be more liberal on the matter and forgo the need for endorsement and higher education. When a monetary value is placed on the chaplain, the requirements and expectations are much higher.

The Volunteer and a Reserve Chaplain

Local agencies generally do not require ecclesiastical endorsement or a graduate degree since they classify their chaplains as a reserve or volunteer personal.  It is difficult to ask the local pastor of a congregation to volunteer his or her time and prequalify for a chaplain position with a graduate degree when there is no compensation for time and effort. Ironically, emergency services chaplains (usually a volunteer position) are often exposed to crises such as shootings, suicides, in the line of duty deaths, and at times are faced with physical dangers while a full-time paid chaplain (I.e., prison and hospital) may never be exposed to the same level of stress.

The emergency services chaplain will periodically receive ongoing training in crisis management and safety in order to meet emergency services demands. The hospital or prison chaplain will rarely be required to respond to crises other than that which takes place within the hospital or prison setting. Though the emergency service chaplain is a non-compensated position, they are still classified as non-paid professionals. In comparison, a reserve police officer is required to undergo the same level of law enforcement training as a fulltime paid officer, yet the reserve officer is a non-paid position.

Visitation Chaplains

Visitation chaplains (Lay Ministry Chaplains) typically volunteer their time meeting special needs at the county lockup, correctional facilities, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and so forth. While a full-time correctional chaplain will have to contend with the rigors of prison politics and life on the inside behind the walls, the visitation chaplain (volunteer) will only be tasked with providing the inmates with basic religious needs such as religious services, necessary counseling and performing ceremonial duties. In hospital-related ministries, the visitation chaplain will be tasked with visiting those who are sick and dying and will report directly to the on-duty (senior) chaplain. In most cases, these types of ministerial duties are usually part of a church outreach ministry to reach the needs of the local community.

[i] By (CI) Chaplain Norberto Guzman, B.A., M.C.C.  / Signet Bible College and Theological Seminary

[ii] https://www.coursehero.com/file/36977813/Ferguson-docx/

[iii] https://bcnn1wp.wordpress.com/2017/09/29/listen-first-responder-chaplaincy-part-5-ordained-chaplains-work-of-the-chaplain-54-with-daniel-whyte-iii-gospel-light-society-university/


[v] https://bcnn1wp.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/listen-correctional-and-prison-chaplaincy-part-7-ordained-chaplains-work-of-the-chaplain-49-with-daniel-whyte-iii-gospel-light-society-university/

[vi] https://bcnn1wp.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/listen-correctional-and-prison-chaplaincy-part-7-ordained-chaplains-work-of-the-chaplain-49-with-daniel-whyte-iii-gospel-light-society-university/

[vii] https://iuhealth.org/for-media/press-releases/iu-health-frankfort-hospital-appoints-new-chaplain

[viii] https://www.change-career-with-purpose.com/hospicechaplainduties.html


For picture on picture click on the three dot on the bottom right hand side, and click on picture on picture.

Lesson 1 – Introduction to Industrial Chaplaincy      

This content is available on PDF

English Version

Spanish Version

Lesson One Available on Audio

– English Version MP3

– Spanish Version MP3

Unit Test Lesson 1

Follow This Link >>>

English | Spanish