If I could do it again

I’d have dumped my biblical languages credits into an MA and made chaplaincy the focus of MDiv and then did a full year hospital residency (CPE) – why?

Because I think the training one gets for the chaplaincy is very pertinent to pastoral ministry.  Now, I am not saying pastors are to be chaplains (they must not) but I think the pastoral care and skill sets one learns in chaplaincy will make one a better pastor who is able to provide good pastoral care and spiritual direction to a congregation and to various individuals as well.

For example in the chaplaincy focus at AGTS – one can take a class learning about PTSD and how to work with those dealing with it (it’s not limited to military personnel); you take a class on interpersonal techniques in helping relationships so you learn what to do and what not to do in helping others; you can get a class on addictive behaviors in family systems and gain insight on pastoring those caught up in addictions; you can get a class on counseling diverse populations so you learn to deal with all sorts of different folks and learn to get out of one’s own ethnocentric mono-culturalism, :-); you can take a class on psychopathology so you don’t get confused and think every person who comes in the door “acting weird” might have a demon, or maybe they do…. or don’t.

These are, of course in addition to the normal MDiv requirement and most of these are electives so not all would be required, but you’d be surprised at their general usefulness.   In the three years we’ve been at the Canyon we’ve already encountered all of these issues and have more than once been left wondering what to do or how to handle it.

So, proably, if I could do it again, that is what I would do! 🙂

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5 responses to “If I could do it again

  1. Amen, the ministry of the chaplaincy is a good ministry, but always connected to a real biblical theology. Sadly, in the military it gets somewhat political at times and the chaplain must stand fast on both Christian spirituality and Holy Scripture. But very nice Brian! (And Craig) Would that we had more men in this field of ministry and even theological choice.

  2. Father Robert.

    It is a much needed area and one that I am passionate to pursue. Prayerfully I will complete a masters degree after this Batchelor and then go onto a Phd… I intend God willing to do it on the pastoral ministry and suspect chaplaincy will play a large role in this.

    • Craig,

      Nice! That is a place I can pray for you! I love the chaplaincy, I have been asked to expand my time in a more formal way and position. This is one of those places of providence I have not decided upon. But perhaps at my age this is the better path? Though I really feel drawn toward Orthodoxy left to myself? But, God will show me His way. I miss too the place of the more theological, with Orthodoxy I can go this way again. But God’s will be done! Best of blessings are you pursue your path and open doors!

      Again, my prayers too,
      Fr. Robert

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