Do I have to be a Christian?

by Someone Interested In Becoming A Chaplain
(Portland, OR)

Faith Group Concerns - How To Become A Chaplain

I am interested in pursuing a chaplain career but I notice that your website seems to be aimed at Christians.

Key Question On Becoming A Question

My question about becoming a chaplain is because I am of a different faith.

Do I have to be a Christian to be a Chaplain?

Can I have a different faith?



Role Of Chaplain Explained

The simple answer is that chaplains come from many faith backgrounds. The reason for this is that the purpose of chaplaincy is not to convert people to a specific faith. A chaplain's role is to support those they serve, whatever their spirituality, helping them draw on their spiritual resources.

I will say that I believe the key to being a good chaplain is having respect for the fact people can choose.

One of the challenges when I served as a chaplain was a disrespect for my particular faith perspective, which by the way is conservative evangelical Christianity.

One reason I chose not to go on with the supervision track in chaplaincy was that I had attended a supervisor's convention held in San Diego when I was taking Clinical Pastoral Education.

What I observed was a disrespect for anyone whose faith perspective was like mine.

Now I say this in response to this question because from my experience, those whose faith is not Christian seemed more welcome to professional chaplain ranks than those professing to be Christians.

I determined at that time that even though I may not be the same faith group or persuasion of those I served, my task was to help them follow their own faith without discounting them or their faith choice.

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