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The two-tiered purpose of this study is to help Sailors serving aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, who have been to Executive Officer's Inquiry or Captain's Mast, to experience the life-changing power of God's forgiveness and avoid recidivism. The initial target population is first-term Sailors assigned to a proven post-NJP anti-recidivism mentoring program. This study adds the opportunity for these Sailors to voluntarily participate in chaplain-led small groups centered on auricular confession and the pronouncement of God's forgiveness.

Service aboard a Navy warship has tremendous physical, mental, and spiritual challenges. Enlisted basic training and officer accession programs do an excellent job of preparing men and women for military service. However, some Sailors have a hard time fully committing themselves to an organization that requires strict obedience to legal orders and is unforgiving of poor ethical and moral choices. They often look to peers rather than more senior personnel to determine what is right and wrong. This can lead to clashes with the chain of command and further alienation between new Sailors and their chosen profession.

Navy chaplains have a special opportunity to bring the language of God's forgiveness and love into this unforgiving environment. This study has produced a ministry tool sensitive to the particular concerns and limits of Navy chaplaincy while remaining faithful to Scripture, tradition, and reason. This study concludes that it has significant potential to help men and women serving not only on aircraft carriers, but in a variety of military ministry settings. Additional research, through full implementation of the proposed initiative, is needed to confirm that potential.

Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Fredrickson, Kurt

Document Type





George H.W. Bush (Aircraft carrier); Church work with military personnel; Small groups; Church group work with men; Forgiveness; Military chaplains


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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