Home  >  Foundations of Chaplaincy
Share |
Foundations of Chaplaincy
A Practical Guide
PAPERBACK; Published: 2/18/2021
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7749-9
Price: $ 24.99
280 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
Add To Cart

An approachable overview of the nature, purpose, and functional roles of chaplaincy 

Chaplaincy is unlike any other kind of ministry. It involves working outside a church, without a congregation, usually in a secular organization. It requires ministering to those with starkly different religious convictions, many of whom may never enter a house of worship. It is, as Alan Baker writes, “ministry in motion.” Those who are embarking upon this unique and specialized call deserve equally unique and specialized guidance, and Foundations of Chaplaincy offers exactly that. 

Baker surveys the biblical and theological foundations of chaplaincy before enumerating four specific responsibilities and skills that define chaplaincy’s “ministry of presence”: providing, facilitating, caring, and advising. Baker’s thorough guidance on these matters is supplemented in sidebars with practical advice and anecdotes from over thirty chaplains currently serving in a variety of settings and organizations. 

Chaplains who serve in healthcare, the military, correctional institutions, police and fire departments, sports teams, college campuses, and corporations have essential roles to play in their respective organizations, but theirs is rarely an easy calling. With Foundations of Chaplaincy as an introduction and an ongoing reference, those called to this important vocation may be assured of having the tools they need to cultivate a strong, mission-driven pastoral identity rooted in their own theological tradition while simultaneously participating in a multi-faith team.

Table of Contents

1. The Foundations of Chaplaincy
The Call to Ministry and the Call of Chaplaincy
Biblical Basis for Chaplaincy
Characteristics, Advantages, and Challenges of Institutional Ministry
Five Ministry Tasks and Competencies
Four Chaplain Functional Capabilities
2. The Chaplain as Provider
Definition of Provide and Perform
Incarnational Ministry and the Center Set
Tribes and the Context of Ministry for Chaplains
Institutional Duality of Chaplaincy
Ecclesiastical Environment in the Institution
3. The Chaplain as Facilitator
Definition of Facilitate and Facilitation
Religious Accommodation
The Constitutional Foundation for Governmental Chaplaincy
Cooperative Pluralism and Practice of Access
4. The Chaplain as Caregiver
Definition of Care and Caregiving
Pastoral Counseling in Chaplaincy
Eight Quick Counseling Questions
Special Counseling Observations
Cognitive Focused Counseling and Distorted Thinking
Suicide Awareness and Prevention
Confidentiality and Privileged Communication
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
5. The Chaplain as Adviser
Prophetic Voice of Chaplain to the Institution
Definition of Advisement and Adviser
Public Prayer: Worship Service and Civic Ceremony
6. Bringing It All Together
Final Thoughts
Organizations and Settings Typically Served by Chaplains
Scenarios and Case Studies
Sample Clinical Pastoral Education Verbatim
Checklist for New Chaplains: Moving from Parish Ministry to Chaplaincy
Helping Churches and Employers Understand the Difference between Chaplains and Pastors

“I have known Alan Baker for decades and can think of no one more qualified to write about the foundations of chaplaincy. This book should be required reading for anyone who is attempting to understand how a positive and powerful ministry can be sustained in an inclusive environment of religious diversity. Alan imparts a wisdom he has forged in the crucible of experience. His wisdom has blessed me during my nearly eighteen years as Chaplain of the United States Senate.”
— Rear Admiral Barry C. Black
62nd Chaplain of the United States Senate
“A clear, lively, and theologically grounded exposition of the distinctive calling of chaplaincy, richly illustrated with stories and biblical resources. The book offers an account of the dimensions of the chaplain’s role as a facilitator or provider of religious services to those of diverse traditions but also a skilled and caring presence for people facing any of the challenges of human life and an adviser to organizational leaders. This is a much-needed resource for a form of ministry of growing importance in our religiously plural world.”
— Sondra Wheeler
Wesley Theological Seminary
“Chaplaincy is one of the most difficult ministries. Alan Baker knows from experience both the difficult challenges and the wonderful opportunities of being a pastor ‘of’ the church while not ‘in’ the church. Thank God he has written this much-needed book on the subject. It is full of wisdom.”
— Richard J. Mouw
Fuller Theological Seminary
“Alan Baker offers an accessible and helpful vision for chaplaincy that prioritizes presence and yet offers helpful insights and tools for navigating and thriving in one’s life as a chaplain. I see this book being widely used as a resource, not least for my seminary students discerning their call to chaplaincy.”
— Chuck DeGroat
Western Theological Seminary
“The calling and role of chaplains has often been relegated by the church to a second-class status. But chaplains serve on the front lines of ministry, bringing a compassionate presence to those confronting pain, anguish, or despair, and suddenly asking their deepest questions about God. Alan Baker is one of the finest chaplains I’ve ever known. As chaplaincy increases even as church attendance decreases, this book will become an indispensable guide. It distills Baker’s rich experience into the most thorough and helpful resource available for anyone considering this high and holy calling.”
— Wesley Granberg-Michaelson
author of Without Oars: Casting Off into a Life of Pilgrimage
“Chaplaincy is both an art and a science, and Foundations of Chaplaincy provides a thorough exploration of both aspects. Illustrating the journey from calling to credentialing to career competence, this primer offers a helpful picture of the science, or ‘how to do chaplaincy,’ revealing a comprehensive array of pastoral care scenarios and institutional environments. But the real insight is in the unveiling of the art of chaplaincy, that is, how to strike the precarious balance of serving the diverse spiritual needs of both the religious and unaffiliated, while remaining a fully functioning member of, and therefore completely within the boundaries of, a secular institution; all the while remaining faithful to the mandates of the chaplain’s own belief and faith tradition. Foundations of Chaplaincy explores this dynamic and challenging undertaking with a deep appreciation for this essential vocation.”
— Rear Admiral Margaret Grun Kibben
61st Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives
“Chaplaincy is a special calling for a unique kind of ministry that only a select few men and women clergy can embrace. It involves working outside and beyond a single faith group to provide spiritual guidance and pastoral care to persons in diverse settings. Chaplains are called to be fluid and open in their approach to ministry to people from various backgrounds. Chaplain Baker captures this well in his writings.”
— Chaplain Michael L. McCoy
former National Director of Chaplaincy in the US Department of Veterans Affairs
“Baker brings his beginnings as a USN Academy plebe through his retirement as the sixteenth Chaplain of the US Marine Corps to this insightful primer on chaplaincy. Foundations of Chaplaincy is both a discourse on the chaplaincy field and a ‘how-to’ course on the professional world of chaplains, who live in the tension between allegiance to their own faith tradition and assuring the free exercise of all persons in a secular, pluralistic environment. The four functional capabilities of chaplains to ‘provide, facilitate, advise, and care’ inform chaplains and management alike how this tension is lived out with integrity. Information and insight are peppered with practical stories and biblical examples. Prospective through experienced chaplains can all benefit from absorbing the wisdom of this text.”
— Jan McCormack
Denver Seminary
“Chaplaincy is one of the most interesting and innovative forms of ministry. It finds its roots within the established church, but takes the ministry of care, compassion, and presence into the world in a diversity of healing ways. But what exactly is chaplaincy? What do chaplains do? Why should anyone care? In this interesting and timely book Alan Baker lays out the essence of the tasks of chaplaincy in a way that is clear, accessible, and open to a broad range of people inside and outside of faith communities. Anyone who wants to know about and understand the importance of chaplaincy should read this book.”
— John Swinton
University of Aberdeen
“Through years of pastoral ministry, I have been blessed to serve with retired military chaplains, along with those in active duty. These persons have been amazing partners in the life and witness of local congregations. It is obvious that Alan Baker’s book, Foundations of Chaplaincy, would have been a very helpful resource for all of us involved in these relationships. With great wisdom, Admiral Baker provides insight into the chaplaincy and ministry. I am encouraging chaplains to read Foundations of Chaplaincy, along with lay leaders of local parishes, especially those in military communities. I thank Alan Baker for his distinguished service in the chaplaincy, and for sharing his knowledge of this critical and influential area of ministry. I am sure that the men and women who have embraced this call will greatly benefit from the counsel found in Foundations of Chaplaincy.
— Dr. Jay Coker
PCUSA pastor (retired)
“Dr. Baker employs an introduction coupled with follow-on chapters building the reader’s knowledge, skills, and competencies for an enhanced ministry of presence. Written after decades of ministry experience that intertwine diverse fields of chaplaincy, this textbook should be incorporated into every chaplain’s personal and professional development. Lastly, Dr. Baker also incorporated discussion questions at the conclusion of each chapter in Foundations of Chaplaincy that helps assimilate a team’s group discussion on increasing their presence of ministry.”
— Dr. D. A. Grace
“Retired Navy Chaplain Alan ‘Blues’ Baker writes valiantly to recenter and reground US military chaplaincy on foundational concepts and practices. Chaplain Baker directly addresses military chaplaincy, but his framework and principles readily apply to health care, corrections, university, and other chaplaincies. His six chapters weave together four essential roles of chaplains with relevant vignettes illustrating ministry in action. He includes five appendices with tools of the trade for chaplains. The footnotes and bibliography are helpful to students of chaplaincy, and the index makes for quick reference. Intentionally or coincidentally, Baker addresses what might be called a ‘battle for the soul of chaplaincy.’ For at least two decades, US military chaplaincy has struggled to hold on to a coherent conceptual framework and unifying values. Baker revivifies essential constructs of chaplain practice and elevates religious support of (mostly young adults) in uniformed service. Serving others has been the historic raison d’etre for chaplaincy. These principles push against a separate strand of contemporary military chaplaincy: overt sectarianism focused on the nation’s culture wars. Chaplain Baker makes the case: faithful military chaplains are not sectarian religionists, but agile, compassionate, and devoted spiritual and pastoral guides. These same principles apply to ministers who aspire or now serve in multiple chaplaincy settings.”
— Eric Wester
The Living Church
“Baker does an admirable job describing chaplaincy, both in the opportunities and challenges it presents. It never seems he is attempting to sell the concept. He honestly offers his experiences, augmented by examples from other chaplains, to provide a candid picture and help in discernment.”