Military Chaplaincy – CHPL 680

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course examines the theological, historical, constitutional, and cultural basis for professional military chaplains, and addresses the chaplain's opportunity to provide spiritual leadership, pastoral care, and advise commanders in order to best care for the warrior's soul. Attention is given to scriptural and military mandates for chaplains to provide spiritual warrior care, spiritual leadership, and spiritual counsel to military leaders. Further, the skills, strategies, and character traits necessary for effective chaplain ministry within military pluralistic culture will be explored. This course is taught as an intensive, in residence, and online.


CHPL 500 and 598


Military chaplains need to be prepared to minister religiously and effectively in secular and pluralistic military environments without compromising their theology and spiritual convictions. They need to understand the chaplain’s biblical authority and military authority and how they function together. Further, they must be able to accurately assess complex religious environments, ministry opportunities, and challenges to provide solid spiritual leadership and soul-care to military members and their families.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Analyze the unique ministerial role of the military chaplain as set in the historical context of the United States Constitution.
  2. Assess the biblical basis for the military chaplain and explain, in light of Scripture, the spiritual, moral, and ethical principles of chaplaincy ministry.
  3. Compare and contrast pluralism in the New Testament world as it relates to the military chaplain working within the pluralistic setting of today.
  4. Evaluate the unique opportunities and challenges of the military chaplain while serving in secular and pluralistic settings, both in peacetime and deployed setting.
  5. Describe the challenges of building an evangelical ministry while serving on a denominationally diverse chaplain staff.
  6. Develop a biblically based, culturally informed, ministry plan within the military context of the Army, Navy, or Air Force.

Course Assignment

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 350–400 words, contain at least 2 scholarly citations in current Turabian format, and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 200 words and contain at least 1 scholarly citation in current Turabian format. (MLO: A, B, C, D).

Practical Book Review

The student will complete a practical book review on 1 of 4 provided texts. The book review must be 800 words, focusing on the author’s approach in describing and defining Christian leadership and the task of a Christian leader. The paper will focus on the application of the book to the student’s future ministry. Citations must be in current Turabian format (MLO: D).

The Authority of the Call Paper

The student will write a 5–7-page paper on The Authority of the Call. The student will pay close attention to his/her call to chaplaincy/ministry, explaining how his/her call is fleshed out in the Army Motto “For God and Country,” the Navy’s Motto “Vocati Ad Servitium” (Called to Serve), or the Air Force Motto “Glorifying God, Serving Airmen, Pursuing Excellence,” as well as how Ordination and Endorsement plays a role in his/her being a military chaplain. This paper must use at least 5 current sources.

Funeral Director or County (State or City) Coroner or Medical Examiner

The student will either interview a funeral home director or County, City, or State Coroner or Medical Examiner on dealing with the dead. The student will focus on how the dead are treated. Is dignity a part of their treatment? How is the family dealt with? What is done to prepare the body for a funeral? What if the body is not intact? How do religious concerns affect the way the work is done? This must be a 3–5-page paper with a minimum of 3 sources. (MLO: A, B, C, D)

Biblical Rationale

The student will use scripture to explain a biblical rationale for military chaplaincy ministry. This assignment will explore what aspects of Scripture should guide and steer the ministry of the chaplain. Included in this will be an analysis of how to minister in pluralistic settings while maintaining a commitment to scripture. This paper must be 4–5 pages. If any suggestions are needed the student should contact the professor for help in advance. This paper could be written as a sermon that could be preached on chaplaincy. (MLO: B, C)

Military Chaplaincy Ministry Plan

In 10–12 pages the student will create a ministry plan for ministry in his/her unique military chaplaincy subfield (Army, Navy, and Air Force). Specific aspects required in this paper will be provided in this course. (MLO: A, B, C, D, E, and F)