What makes a good chaplain?

Chaplains work in a variety of contexts:

  • Chaplains are pastors: they need to be able to listen care and attention, empathise, understand, maintain confidentiality, and seek to be available to those in need.
  • Chaplains are interpreters: they try to identify, understand and share in issues affecting the culture of a particular context and what God is doing there and to help the people there to understand God. This means winning the right to be heard and sometimes being in the role of critical friend, mediator, reconciler, speaking truth to power.
  • Chaplains are ambassadors: they represent the Church, and they also report back to the Church about the new insights they have gained.
  • Chaplains are pray-ers: they pray for the places where they work and when it is appropriate they pray with the people who are there sometimes creating new forms of worship for their context.
  • Chaplains are midwives: enabling the birth of awareness of God in the place where they serve.
  • Chaplains are connectors: they connect their faith with their context by being chaplains to all and demonstrate gospel values such as compassion and concern for social justice. 
  • Chaplains are guests in the contexts they serve, but often work by acting ashostscrossing bridges to provide hospitality, welcome and interaction with others.


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A small group resource for nurturing engagement in God's mission through chaplaincy

RAF Chaplaincy Video 0714

Chaplaincy in the RAF

Watch a video shown at the 2014 Methodist Conference. Padre Chris Acher describes his motivation to become a military chaplain, and his experiences with the RAF in Afghanistan.

"Chaplains are... the church that has left the building... We can all be involved in chaplaincy."

Martyn Atkins - General Secretary of the  Methodist Church in Britain

Read articles from the Epworth Review Chaplaincy issue December 2010