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How To Become A Chaplain In The Army

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How To Become A Chaplain Assistant In The Army

CHAPLAIN 101: HOW TO BECOME A CHAPLAIN! Learn the basic requirements for becoming an Army Chaplain.

A good chaplain assistant greatly influences the success, well-being and knowledge of a chaplain. While ministry is the main focus for a chaplain, the chaplain assistant primarily handles all things related to the Army in order to help the chaplain succeed. Chaplain assistants provide the necessary background, technical and administrative support that chaplains need to accomplish their jobs. In this article, we discuss what an Army chaplain assistant is and does, how to become one, skills for chaplain assistants and FAQs about chaplain assistants.

S To Become A Military Chaplain

To become a military chaplain, you must meet all of the requirements to be ordained and be recognized as a chaplain. This includes earning a bachelors and masters degree, completing all certification requirements, and meeting all the requirements of the U.S. military. Listed below is a summary of the steps required to become a military chaplain:

  • Earn a bachelors degree, preferably in a closely related field such as religion, divinity, counseling, psychology or theology./li>
  • Complete a masters degree in religion or theological studies.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen if applying for active duty or the National Guard.
  • Become ordained- You must have ecclesiastical endorsement from your faith group.
  • Become certified- Certification entails that you are qualified intellectually, morally, emotionally and spiritually to complete your duties.
  • Apply and be accepted to the U.S. Chaplain Corps.
  • Meet all requirements necessary to join the corps, including specific fitness, health, age, and fitness requirements.
  • Must have two years of full-time professional experience, which has been verified by your endorsing agency.

Earning A Master’s Degree

To become a certified chaplain, and in some cases, to become an ordained minister, you will need to hold a masters degree. Generally, this is a Masters of Divinity or Theology, but some universities offer other graduate degrees in Religion. These programs offer more advanced studies in religion, including in-depth studies of the Bible and church history. Again, some of these programs, especially those that are aimed at preparing students for church leadership, will go into psychology, communication and counseling.

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How To Become A Military Chaplain

Chaplains have been present throughout military history to support the emotional and spiritual well-being of the troops. Even in the 21st century, all of the service branches recognize that beyond just beans, bullets, and band-aids, servicemembers and their families require sustenance of a less tangible nature, regardless of their specific religious beliefs. That’s why chaplains are still around in all of the service branches

But the way the chaplain program works might seem pretty peculiar to those who think in terms of the local minister, priest, rabbi, et cetera spiritual leaders in the civilian community who often cater to one specific flock. Although GoArmy.com maintains that “each chaplain ministers according to the tenets of his or her distinctive faith community,” every branch also insists on an atmosphere of plurality and tolerance.

That’s not just open-mindedness. It’s practicality: There are no restrictions on one’s religious beliefs in order to join the military, and there’s also no way serve such a diverse population by employing chaplains for each and every religion represented at every base and installation around the globe. Instead, chaplains are asked to “adapt and overcome” by serving all soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines with a spirit of tolerance and religious pluralism. In fact, the Air Force website lists “understand all major theologies” as a chaplain career task.

How To Be A Good Chaplain

Answers about being an US Army Chaplain

To be a good chaplain, you need excellent interpersonal skills to listen to your parishioners worries, fears, hopes, and grief and to provide comfort, counseling, and spiritual guidance in response to their issues. You work with people one-on-one and in small groups to work through big spiritual questions. You also plan and lead interfaith and non-denominational worship services, including sacred rites such as weddings, baptisms, and funerals. You also mentor non-believers who are interested in conversion or who just seek spiritual guidance. As a chaplain, you may coordinate religious retreats for the people you serve.

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I Get To Work With Amazing People

“THE VARIETY AND EXPERIENCES THAT ARMY MINISTRY OFFERS ARE INCREDIBLE.”

Key Responsibilities

  • Give spiritual support, both publicly and privately, at every level of the Army.
  • Provide pastoral care at home and abroad.
  • Offer moral guidance through formal teaching, counsel, and personal example.
  • Travel wherever your unit goes.
  • Study for postgraduate qualifications.

You do your initial training at the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre in Shrivenham, Oxfordshire.

Step 2After that you spend a few months at your first unit before completing military training on the 10-week Professionally Qualified Officers course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Entry Requirements

Ordained Minister or Priest in one of the Sending Churches

3 years proven pastoral experience at time of commission.

Qualifications You Could Get After Training

  • Master of Theology in Chaplaincy Studies
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education

Nomination Selection And Commissioning

Russo-Japanese WarFour ChaplainsDorchester

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In the United Kingdom, the Ministry of Defence employs chaplains, but their authority comes from their sending church. Royal Navy chaplains undertake a 16-week bespoke induction and training course, including a short course at Britannia Royal Naval College, and specialist fleet time at sea alongside a more experienced chaplain. Naval chaplains called to service with the Royal Marines undertake a commando course at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, Lympstone and if successful serve with a front-line Royal Marines unit. British Army chaplains undertake seven-weeks training at The Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre Amport House and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Royal Air Force chaplains must complete 12 weeks Specialist Entrant course at the RAF College Cranwell followed by a Chaplains’ Induction Course at Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre Amport House of a further 2 weeks.

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What Life In The Army Is Really Like

Enlisted collar insignia for Army Chaplain Assistants. They and the Chaplains are their own Corps.

Sergeant William J. Jones, Chaplain Assistant for Headquarters Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, gives invocation at a Non-commissioned officer induction ceremony at Kandahar Airfield in 2012.

Chaplain Assistants setting up church services.

Ranger Sergeant First Class Jeff Struecker

Ranger Chaplain Jeff Struecker

US Army Chaplain Center and School at Fort Jackson, South Carolina

What Can I Do Now To Prepare For Chaplaincy

STEPS TO BECOME A US ARMY CHAPLAIN

My first recommendation is to focus on your faith. Men and women in uniform deserve the most competent ministers of the gospel in our country. Youre going to need to understand your faith and be able to communicate your faith in ways that others can understand it, in order for you to be a successful Army chaplain.

If youre still in high school or college and considering the chaplaincy, my recommendation would also be to focus on your education. The education requirements for military chaplaincy is very high. This is the US militarys way of ensuring that the men and women who minister to the military are qualified and competent in their faith. You cant stumble your way through school and be an exceptional chaplain at the same time.

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Whats It Like In The Air Force

Life in the Air Force requires hard work, but also allows time for your own pursuits. Typically, you can expect an eight-hour workday, leaving plenty of time to relax, recharge and do other things you enjoy once you change out of uniform. Airmen get 30 days vacation with pay each year to use at their discretion.

Salary And Job Outlook For Military Chaplains

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes military chaplains in the broad category of clergy and reports that their annual median salary is $50,400. The salary can range based on a chaplains years of experience, education level, and job location, among other factors. The size of a base or camp can impact how much a chaplain earns. However, salaries in the highest 10% of the range average $86,970. In addition to salaries, chaplains may receive free on-site housing or a housing allowance, medical and retirement benefits, vacation pay, and other incentive payments from the U.S. military.

The BLS projects the number of jobs for clergy, including chaplains, will grow by 4% between 2019 and 2029, which is the same as the average projected growth for all jobs. Since 1789, the U.S. government has required chaplains to hold positions in the army, federal prisons, and the Veterans Administration. Even though not all military personnel have religious affiliations, the government ensures that they will have access to spiritual care providers should they want or need them. As long as members of the military continue to serve their country, the need for religious ministers and chaplains will be present.

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Chief Of Chaplains/chaplain General

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Military chaplains are often supervised by a chaplain general or chief of chaplains, on the staff of the leader of the nation’s military forces. In some countries, like Israel, Canada, and South Africa, one chief of chaplains/chaplain general serves in that position for all chaplains of all religions, in all branches of the military. In many other countries, such as France, there is a separate chaplain general/chief of chaplains for each faith group represented by chaplains. In other countries, like the United States, there is one chaplain general/chief of chaplains for each branch of the military. So, for example, in the United States, there is an Army, Navy, and Air Force chief of chaplains. They meet on as representatives to the Armed Forces Chaplains Board, to discuss issues that cross service lines, but each reports as a staff officer of his or her service, to the Chief of Staff of the Army or Air Force, or the Chief of Naval Operations of the Navy.

Is There A Degree I Can Earn In College That Would Help Me As A Chaplain

Fort Hood chaplains

Most seminaries require some kind of undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. Most seminaries dont require that degree to be in any specific discipline. Some undergraduate disciplines will help prepare you for the rigors of seminary some have nothing to offer as you prepare for seminary.

At the same time, some undergraduate degree programs teach theological topics so poorly that this poor instruction becomes a great challenge in seminary. My general recommendation is to get an undergraduate degree in any field of study that you find interesting. Just make sure that its from an accredited institution. For what its worth, I got my undergraduate degree in physical education!

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What Do Chaplains Wear

As a chaplain, you wear particular clothing or accessories that help others identify you as a member of the clergy. Your specific outfit will depend on your employer and your faith. For example, military chaplains and chaplains who work in the prison system wear a uniform that includes a dress shirt, pants, and jacket along with dress shoes and possibly a hat. If you work in a hospital, long-term care facility, university, or boarding school, you will likely wear a clergy collar and button-down shirt, but the overall dress expectations are more relaxed and casual than uniformed chaplains.

Helping Guide Those Who Serve

Chaplains serve as visible reminders of the Holydirectly and indirectly supporting the free exercise of religion for all Airmen, their family members and other authorized personnel. In taking the oath, chaplains pledge a personal commitment to the Constitutions protection of the free exercise of religion and its prohibition of the governments establishment of religion.

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What Did You Enjoy Most About Chaplaincy

I personally enjoyed being around warriors. These men and women are my heroes. I had the privilege of ministering to the greatest people in our country. I am also deeply patriotic. That made serving as an Army chaplain the ideal combination of giving my time and attention to my country and to Jesus, my Savior.

Responsibilities Of Military Chaplains

WHY YOU NEED TO BE A CHAPLAIN IN THE MILITARY!

As members of commanders staffs, chaplains serve as moral, ethical, and spiritual advisers to their commanders. They ensure that individuals are afforded religious freedom and oversee the unit and base religious programs. Much of their work is done one on one with service members and their families. They must be able to minister effectively in a pluralistic religious environment, respecting and accommodating members of all faiths, without compromising their own religious beliefs.

In addition to the ministry functions listed under General Ministry Responsibilities, military chaplains have the following responsibilities:

  • Advise commanders regarding the impact of religion on military operations.
  • Minister aboard Navy and Coast Guard ships at sea and during combat operations.
  • Develop and support chapel-sponsored youth activities, youth vacation scripture study programs, and religious education programs.
  • Teach classes to service members on topics of religion, ethics, leadership, and other topics that build moral character in men and women.
  • Provide pastoral counsel to service members and families during times of crisis, and support them in the many challenges they face during military deployments and periods of family separation.
  • Work closely with local priesthood leaders in the activation and retention of less-active military members.

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The Young/schumacher Chaplaincy Candidate Scholarship Program

Sponsored by Grace Brethren Investment Foundation, Inc. and The Eagle Commission.

The Young/Schumacher Chaplaincy Candidate Scholarship Program, in memory and honor of Grace Alumni Dr. Jerry Young and Dr. John Schumacher , is designed to offer financial assistance to qualified students who are attending graduate schools of theology and are preparing for an active-duty or reserve career ministry as a chaplain in the US Armed Forces. Recipients of this scholarship must be members of or currently attending a local church in the Charis Fellowship. They must also be accessioned as Chaplain Candidates in one of the military branches. The applicant affirms that his plans are to pursue a ministry in the chaplaincy and further agrees to repay any funds awarded should those plans change. For every year of active-duty service, 25% of the cumulative funds awarded will be forgiven.

For information and an application form:

Please contact Dr. Mark Penfold and now Charis Fellowship Endorsing Agent, Chaplaincy Ministries, at or via the Eagle Commission Contact Us link at www.eaglecommission.org.

Answers About Being An Us Army Chaplain

I am regularly asked questions about military chaplaincy. This is an attempt to answer some of the most frequent questions about life as a chaplain in the United States Army. While I am familiar with chaplains in the USAF and US Navy , I can only speak with experience about life as an US Army chaplain.

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What Rank Is A Chaplain

5. They hold rank, but not command. In the United States, service members have a constitutional right under the first amendment to engage in religious worship. While chaplains are commissioned officers and can obtain the rank of major general or rear admiral, they will never hold command.

Qualificationstraining And Duty Stations

Chaplain sections play key role in units

Individuals who wish to join into this MOS do not have to have a faith background.

They have to be eligible for Secret Clearance.

They also must have a drivers license and pass all physical and medical requirements.

To enter into this MOS, recruits must score at least 90 on the Clerical portion ASVAB.

This position requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training.

Advanced Individual Training will be seven weeks at the United States Army Chaplain Center and School.

Skills that are helpful in this MOS:

  • Ability to operate office machinery
  • Ability to organize and plan
  • Interest in working with clergy office work
  • Accurate record-keeping and organizational skills

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Military Chaplain Duties And Qualities

While an officer in the Chaplain Corps, military chaplains are considered non-combatants. This means that they may not participate in hostilities, combat, or any direct mission where combat may occur. In fact, the U.S. prohibits chaplains from carrying weapons in the field, although they may participate in marksman courses and competitions. Chaplains enjoy special status as outlined by the Geneva Conventionsif captured, they must immediately be returned to their home country unless they elect to stay and minister to other prisoners. They are never to be considered a prisoner of war. Even those who elect to stay and minister to prisoners must be treated well and with respect.

Those who serve as military chaplains are under the supervision of the chaplain general or the chief of chaplains. Each of the three branches of the military has a chaplain general. These three serve on the Armed Forces Chaplain Board, which discusses issues that affect all chaplains in the U.S. military. However, they each individually report to the staff officer of their particular branch of service .

Military chaplains normally wear the uniform of their branch of service, except when they are performing religious ceremonies or services. They are given a rank that is based on promotion selection and their years of service, and they generally wear an insignia that identifies both the fact that they are a chaplain and what religion they are a part of.

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