The Chaplain’s Role: From a Commander’s Point of View


  1. Chaplain has more roles than any other officer, especially in sensitive areas.
  2. Chaplain is more visible than most officers, therefore he/she must be credible, be professionally competent, “read in” on the military function, know the mission, be concerned with the total environment.
  3. Chaplain needs to know military assets and systems, and how to use them.
  4. In his/her counseling, the chaplain should emphasize professional as well as spiritual aspects. He/she should be a positive force in the command.
  5. Negatively: Some chaplains have an unsoldierly bearing. Others’ attitude or demeanor are not consistent with the faith they represent.
  6. The chaplain should also be a soldier, a paragon of virtue. he/she should have absolute personal integrity (not just “talk the talk” but “walk the walk”). He/she must be aggressive, decisive, thorough, technically proficient, “real”, and physically fit.
  7. The chaplain must have-loyalty to the unit, the commander, and his/her endorsing agent’s beliefs. He/she must be true to his/her beliefs. There is no place in the chaplaincy for sham or acting.
  8. The chaplain should be supportive, yet candid. He/she should be sensitive to the needs of the command, yet not a doormat.
  9. The chaplain should be an agent of change. He/she should have a clear element of impartiality.
  10. The day is past when the chaplain is the morale officer of a unit. He/she must be dynamic and influential.
  11. There is nothing that a commander can do to the chaplain to cause that chaplain to lose integrity. Integrity would only be lost by the chaplain’s choice.
  12. The chaplain should be an integral part of the team.


Text excerpted and reprinted from the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches newsletter.


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