By Gregory Girard
Chaplains: Specialized Ministry in a Global Setting
A chaplain is a minister of Word and sacrament called by God and ordained by a classis to minister outside the walls of the church. Chaplains extend compassionate care for everyone within their institution regardless of religious preferences; they almost always work in the context of a multifaith team. Other responsibilities include providing worship and ministry leadership, assisting other religious groups by coordinating or contracting for their needs, and advising institutional leadership on moral and ethical issues.
Chaplains are required to receive advanced training and education in order to serve as ministers in this specialized ministry.
RCA chaplains are grounded in their own theological tradition. They have a joyful and unapologetic faith commitment, a strong pastoral identity, and a sense of mission to those they serve. Their appointment and continuation as chaplains depends upon the approval of the denomination through a process called “ecclesiastical endorsement.” This assures that each chaplain is fully qualified to represent his or her faith group.
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Thinking about becoming a chaplain? Learn more about chaplain ministry.