Welcome to the Ordained Chaplains podcast. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society University, and this is “The Work of the Chaplain” Lesson 81. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help those who are interested in serving others through chaplaincy, pastoring, coaching, and counseling to learn the basics of this profession.
Our Work of the Chaplain Passage for this episode is Proverbs 4:23 which says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Our Work of the Chaplain quote for this episode says, “Lack of boundaries invites lack of respect.”
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: Chapter 11 – “Minefields” for the Chaplain (Part 5)
Diagnosis & Assessment (contd.)
Assessment provides valuable information for chaplains. It is foundational in planning ministry—prioritizing needs, triaging issues, setting goals for spiritual care. Ministry becomes goal-directed rather than symptom relieving. Assessments guide chaplains to deal with important matters first—to deal with the perceived issues as well as the real issues. When accurate information is gathered, there is a greater likelihood that an appropriate intervention will be considered and applied.
Chaplains are expected to do spiritual assessments, but if spirituality is about beliefs and values that give meaning to life and all that is held sacred, then chaplains must take a multidisciplinary approach to doing assessments. They must consider the spiritual, physical, emotional, relational, and cultural aspects of a person’s being. As they complete this holistic assessment, they are better able to help people find hope and peace in their circumstances, to find God in their situation whether it be a crisis or a celebration.
Chaplains must complete assessments in order to prioritize needs, to utilize appropriate and effective interventions, to reduce vulnerability and risk, and to set the stage for dialogue and communication between caregiver and client. Providing appropriate spiritual care is dependent upon accurate diagnosis and assessments.
Personal Boundaries & Ethics
Chaplains are called to provide compassionate care for people. In doing so, they are constantly assessing and making decisions about a course of action. Objectivity and standard protocols are the modus operendi for chaplain interventions, but what happens in those gray areas where standards are not clearly stated or where personal preference could influence the decision?
Respecting the boundaries of clients while honoring one’s own boundaries may create tension for the chaplain. How does the chaplain deal with this tension, and by what standards does he or she function?
Boundaries are established for the mutual protection and accountability of chaplain and client. This is both a right and a responsibility. Setting boundaries must never be used as a form of manipulation. It is highly unethical and manipulative to arbitrarily set boundaries for each occasion or circumstance as a convenience or advantage for personal benefit. Boundaries must be set for the health and welfare of both chaplain and client. Setting and respecting boundaries is a way to empower those who are weak and to guard those who have the disadvantage. Boundaries define limits without having to say the word no.
Setting appropriate boundaries begins with self-awareness. Chaplains must know what they are willing to do and what things are beyond their desire or willingness to do. Reflection and meditation may help clarify the limits for chaplains. Ask yourself, “As a Christian, am I willing to pray without saying, ‘In Jesus’ name . . .’? As a Muslim, am I willing to administer the bread and cup when asked? As a Jew, am I willing to conduct interfaith worship (as differentiated from multifaith worship) on Saturdays?” Or even more practically, “Am I willing to be on-call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year?” Chaplains must be aware of those things that empower them and those activities that they would rather avoid—perhaps out of conscience, fear, inability, lack of experience or disinterest.
The Hebrew scriptures say, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Self-awareness means knowing what you want and don’t want, knowing what you are willing to do or not do, knowing what you can do or cannot do, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and knowing what energizes and empowers you or what depletes you. Self-awareness means being honest with yourself.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, we will continue learning about the Work of the Chaplain in our next podcast.
— PRAYER —
Now, 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.”