| Master of Chaplaincy Studies |
Rev. Terry G. Rempel
What a wonderful and interesting course. Rev. Dan Moore is an amazing person. Not only is he very knowledgeable with matters dealing with the chaplaincy but I also found him very spiritual. A lot of times it wasn't what he said but the way in which he said it. If he writes any more courses I'm certainly going to be taking them. I learned a lot from taking this course.
What I really like about the chaplaincy is its ecumenical approach. Although I'm a Christian I've always considered myself a very tolerant and ecumenical Christian. When I first considered taking the Master of Chaplaincy Studies course I had always thought that Chaplains were mostly all Christian and were all Pastors and Ministers of some sort. I was surprised to find that there are many Chaplains that embrace other faiths besides Christianity and I think that's just great. In this intolerant world that we live in today I think that what the world needs today is more Chaplains.
A Chaplain is certainly a Unique Minister as Rev. Dan suggests. People today are always on the go (some would say going nowhere fast). People change careers, move to different cities, go to war, go on vacation etc.,etc. A Chaplain has to be a very creative type of Minister. Not only does He have to serve people that seem to be always moving, but He has to serve people that are of a different faith than his own. This requires a level of tolerance and creativity that a normal Minister in a Church setting might never face. A Chaplain is basically a servant of God. There will always be hurting people and where there is hurting people that is where the Unique Ministry of the Chaplaincy should be.
Chaplains are people that are called to this unique type of Ministry. They have come to a stage in their lives when they want more than just the material or the face value so to speak. This usually happens even before the person is born, although we might not realize it until much later in life.The Bible speaks of God calling you even while in the womb. Rev. Dan calls this the Mark of the Divine, which is basically a hunger for something more, something bigger than physical life. Basically it is a desire or hunger for God as you understand Him or Her at your stage in your spiritual journey.
The Chaplain has to be a good listener, an objective listener. A Chaplain should have a thirst for knowledge not only spiritual knowledge but also worldly knowledge. He or She should have a child like curiosity about everything in life, being a life long student should be one of their goals. Also reading 1 Timothy and Titus (Bible) periodically to remind us that Chaplains,Ministers, etc., should be faithful, have good character, be of good testimony, practice sound doctrine (must know his scriptures) and be able to teach (good communication skills). Finally, as Rev. Dan says the Chaplaincy is a Ministry of presence, it is as if God is present when the Chaplain is present.
In this course I learned that trustworthiness, confidentiality, and compassion are a must. Chaplains/Ministers are called to a higher standard. Society also calls Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers etc., to a higher standard, but since Chaplains deal with the moral and God issue there higher standard is truly unique. Being a Chaplain is not for the faint of heart. It can sometimes be a very demanding profession as I've learned. A Chaplain deals with people when their at there worst. A Chaplain might receive a call at 3AM in the morning to accompany police officers to an accident scene. Or be asked to let family know that a child has been killed in an accident. Chaplains also have to be trustworthy, people have to be able to trust you, this will come only with time as you develop relationships and a good foundation of trust is built. Trust is built mostly by mouth control, knowing what to say and what to keep private. Quite simply Chaplains don,t gossip period. In the course it makes mention that information given to you belongs to the person giving the information. There are some legal Exceptions of course, but if you want to share information get permission first.
The Chaplain Ministry I believe and I've learned should also be a ministry of healing. Human beings are social creatures and as social creatures touch is important for health and well being. This is also a scientific fact. There have been studies done with infant children that prove this. Newly born infant babies that are handled and touched fare a lot better than those that aren't. The healing touch is truly a miracle and I believe we all have this ability.Its all a matter of the intent behind the touch. Before leaving this paragraph on healing, I can't forget to mention the healing power of prayer. When the average person thinks of a Chaplain/Minister they think that here is an individual that has God with them more so than a non Chaplain/Minister. With this belief system in effect this puts the Chaplain in a unique situation where prayer can often be very effective. The power of belief is an awesome thing. Prayer should always be used in A Chaplains Ministry of healing. Don't forget though when healing occurs, God gets all the glory.
I learned a lot in this course, but one thing I've learned is to know your physical limitations." Know thy self" is the old axiom. Chaplains I've learned can sometimes be very driven. This of course is very understandable, and a Chaplain should be motivated they are answering a very important call after all. The gist I got from one of the lessons in this course is that the spirit is willing but the flesh can sometime be weak. So with this in mind its important to always remember to take a rest from time to time. Take a day off, make sure to plan for and take vacations, also taking and occasional sabbatical might be a good idea. What it all boils down to is to "beware of burn out" as Rev. Dan says. You can't help others unless you help your self as well.
I think what helped me most about this course was the way in which it was written. This not to say that there wasn't a lot of knowledgeable facts because there was. What I'm trying to say is that I could discern information spiritually more than just knowledgeably. This certainly made the course interesting. And to be honest I always anticipated my next lesson.
This was an excellent course that I really enjoyed taking. The only thing that would improve on this otherwise excellent course I think would be more on counseling. Maybe an entire course alone could be written on this very important topic. I for one would certainly enjoy taking that course.
I was asked at the end of this course what I hope to accomplish as a result of taking this course. The most obvious answer of course is I want to become a Chaplain. I'm a 50 year old Christian man who's experienced a lot in life (lots of ups and downs) and feel I have a lot to offer experience wise. I understand that as a Chaplain/Minister one has to be very knowledgeable about matters relating to life, but I also think that life experience is also critical. When you've been there and done that so to speak I believe its easier to relate to people and council and help them more efficiently. One of the reasons of me wanting to become a Chaplain at this stage in my life is because I've made a lot of mistakes through the years. If I could just help one person avoid some of the mistakes that I've made this would bring me great joy. To see peoples lives being changed for the better and on track again gives me a spiritual high and all I can say is praise God!
Anyway as a way of ending this essay, I would just like to say, that whoever happens to read this would wish me good luck and pray for me.
Terry G. Rempel
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