This course explores the essential functions of chaplaincy. The student will demonstrate self-awareness through linking personal history and calling to current modes of pastoral care. The student will exhibit that he or she can be a non-anxious presence to people in times of crisis and reflect on the experience.
This course will introduce the students to hospital ministry through exploring some key functions to chaplaincy. The class is highly personal and will require the students to critically engage underlying assumptions and ministry practices. The goal of the course is to help the student learn about him or herself, perform best pastoral care practices, and reduce ministry burnout. An unaware minister offering pastoral care can turn the session into an encounter where the minister validates him or herself and misses the patient’s needs.
Chaplaincy involves a tension between doing and being. An effective pastoral caregiver has self-awareness and recognizes the gift of being a non-anxious presence with people in times of crisis. However, many ministers unknowingly carry around personal myths that influence and hinder their ability to be a calming presence for others or identify the patient’s needs. This class shows the minister how personal history and calling can allow for ministry longevity through pointing the patient to the only one and true Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
The primary verse that undergirds the class is Jeremiah 1:4-10, “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” “Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” The class is designed to help the student understand how God has called him or her and how that calling functions in ministry. Through Jeremiah’s call readers of Scripture can see how: 1) God created and knew Jeremiah, 2) Jeremiah’s view of himself and personal history impacted his ministry, 3) God’s assurance and the emphasis of Divine presence through Jeremiah’s ministry.
The focus of the course is on the student knowing him or herself so he or she can go into the world for effective ministry.
Working in a ministry with a lot of trauma and crises can take a toll on ministers. This class is designed to help ministers alleviate some of the emotional pressure through recognizing how context (such as personal history) shapes decisions and ministry.
An understanding of personal history and cultural values will assist the minister in pastoral ministry to those with a different personality, culture, or life experiences.
The student will engage in several reflective essays and readings to better engage on how to support, confront, and minister to others.
The student will write a brief autobiography to understand how his or her personal story integrates with ministry. The student will read, write, and reflect about calling, ministry, and the role of being a non-anxious presence. Lastly, the student will have at least one pastoral care visit where he or she writes about thoughts, feelings, and observations throughout the visit.