In chaplaincy, there is a foundation. That foundation is integrity. Without integrity the Chaplain has no ministry, let alone a message of hope. Integrity goes a long way to define the Chaplain. In a pastoral care relationship trust is THE key component. Everything else is built upon trust.
Three key areas of life the Chaplain reveals his integrity:
- One’s word. In the mid-20th century there was a saying, “My word is my bond”. As the century was coming to a close it was clear that one’s word was not their bond. Obfuscation became the rule of the day. It could be argued that in the business world and political world that was the best one could expect. After all, politicians have the reputation of lying like cheap rugs. Unfortunately, obfuscation and deception seeped into the religious communities. Since many Chaplains come out of a religious/faith community that culture which permitted obfuscation sometimes rubbed off. I will say this as clearly as I can; a Chaplain’s word must be his or her bond. For it to be anything but this, the Chaplain has no future.
- Finances. The Chaplain should have a superior credit rating as financial integrity is vital to the reputation of a minister. When a Chaplain takes a position and agrees to the terms of the offer, he/she is bonded by his word and will work for the company that him or her. I suggest that a Chaplain never accept a position if the financial terms are such that if the Chaplain took the position that he or she would immediately begin a search for a new position due to financial considerations.
- One’s work. The Chaplaincy is a challenging profession. Some days are so busy that you wonder where the time went. Other days are slow and mundane. In whichever type of day the Chaplain finds him/herself it is expected that the Chaplain operate at the highest level of service possible. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it takes great effort, but we aren’t selling widgets, we are providing peace, comfort, and support. It is expected of the Chaplain to put in a full day’s work. I urge our Chaplains to have their work complete, their documentation complete, and their schedule ready for the next day by 4:30PM. I expect them to go home and enjoy their family and invest themselves there.
Chaplain Colleagues, 2016 is a unique period in our national and world history. The expectations of integrity hold firm. Be a person who is known for this key character quality.