LISTEN: Healthcare Chaplaincy, Part 5 (Work of the Chaplain Podcast #37 with Daniel Whyte III / Gospel Light Society University)


Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

Our Work of the Chaplain passage for this episode is Matthew 10:8 which says, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”

Our Work of the Chaplain quote for this episode is from Martin Luther. He said, “Christian life consists in faith and charity.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine book: “The Work of the Chaplain” by Naomi K. Paget and Janet R. McCormack.

Our topic today is: Healthcare Chaplaincy (Part 5)

— Ministry in Context

Healthcare chaplaincy is conducted in a diverse and pluralistic setting where the “client” did not go to the institution with the specific need or intent for spiritual care. The patient is a captive audience, often unable to leave his or her bed and vulnerable due to the hospitalization circumstances. Therefore, a chaplain making a “cold call” (an unrequested visit) must be especially sensitive to the needs and wishes of the patient as they relate to a ministry of spiritual care. Chaplains honor the “free exercise” clause of the First Amendment not only by refraining themselves from “evangelizing” but also by guarding against anyone else who might seek to proselytize or take unfair advantage of a patient in a vulnerable situation.

— Ministry Functions

Healthcare chaplains, like military chaplains, may perform all the rites, rituals, ceremonies, and offices of a religious leader in their faith group, and they are often called upon to officiate at ecumenical or interfaith functions as well—especially days of remembrance and funerals. They may function with a client’s local clergy as an ad hoc spiritual care team or as the only clergy member the client knows. Because of the emergency nature of much of healthcare, chaplains in this setting may be asked to perform services they may otherwise not do from their own theological position or tradition. Any chaplain would be well served to have thought through possible scenarios and formed a plan before an emergency ministration is requested. As always, being available, approachable, non judgmental, and still representing “The Holy” by title and mere presence is a necessary tension of chaplaincy.

Ali was born Muslim but had not been practicing for years. Now that he was in hospice care he was rethinking the meaning of life and life-after-death. He asked the Baptist chaplain to get the nurse to turn his bed to face east, toward Mecca, and to help him hold his hand with the index finger raised as he smiled and took his last breath. Only the chaplain and the Jewish nurse were with him at the end. The nurse asked the chaplain for the meaning of the raised finger and learned that the patient was affirming for himself that there was “only one God.” “The Muslim, Jewish, or Christian God?” she asked. “I don’t know,” the chaplain answered, but it seemed enough to Ali that he and God were communicating with each other at long last.”

As one who ministers within a healthcare institution and also to the institution, a chaplain serves as a member of the interdisciplinary patient care team. Thus, the chaplain has a role in educating administrators, staff, teams, and the community regarding the relationship between religious and spiritual issues to patient care and the institution.

Healthcare chaplains are also intercessors and advocates (see Chapter 3). They advise and encourage people in the healthcare system so they may be free to choose their own path, to make difficult decisions, or to establish personal boundaries that meet their needs and affirm their values.

She had been found in her submerged car in the river. There was no brain activity, but the paramedic protocol required putting her on a ventilator for transport. The ER doctor was ready to pronounce her dead, but her adult children refused to have the ventilator disconnected for fear of “killing Mom.” The chaplain understood their fear as well as their deep Christian faith. After a lengthy time of listening and praying, she helped the family to act on their faith belief that God did not need a ventilator to miraculously heal Mom and that alive or dead their mother was safe in God’s care and love.

The expanding need for healthcare agencies and professionals to keep up with rapidly increasing medical technology and options means chaplains must be well versed in medical ethics. In some institutions, chaplains not only serve on the staff ethics teams but also lead those teams in difficult healthcare decisions. In fact, chaplains are often expected to clarify critical value is-sues with patients, family, staff, and the institution.

Healthcare chaplains provide spiritual care through the critical ministries of presence, listening, and dialogue with patients, family, and other staff. They help clarify, redefine critical issues, and illuminate confusion and misunderstandings. Through their participation in the mutual journey, chaplains help patients, family, and staff reevaluate values and beliefs that give meaning to life and relationships. As chaplains facilitate listening, they help all parties involved understand, integrate, and respond to the transcendent—even (and especially) in times of uncertainty, suffering, and pain. In times of spiritual and physiological crisis, chaplains bring heavenly assurance, “Fear not, for I am with you.”

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue learning about the Work of the Chaplain in our next podcast.

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— PRAYER —

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.


Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.

He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.