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The context for the modern military chaplain differs from most congregational ministries and contains certain uncommon complexities. These complexities, in part, are the result of First Amendment court cases and related lawsuits, being under the authority of a secular military organization, and accentuated by societal alterations. The public debate on religion and religious activity in the military, a number of First Amendment lawsuits challenging government chaplaincy, and the increasing secularization of American society create a distinct ministerial environment with numerous pitfalls. These factors result in requirements for a military chaplain to care for all persons regardless of faith, and to ensure the religious freedom of all service members including non-Christian faith groups.

This project is a training module for new Christian chaplains entering the military. The guide may have application for other chaplains, though the theology, traditions, and Scriptures are thoroughly Christian. The guide instructs on the current environment of military chaplains and on the legal constraints from contemporary interpretations of the First Amendment’s religious clauses. Most chaplains adapt well to these ministry complexities over time. The project aims to speed the adaptation by better preparing new chaplains for the contextual changes and enable a greater understanding of the many dynamics affecting this particular form of ministry. This information will assist new military chaplains to avert destructive results, learn the distinct environment faster, and allow their vital ministry to flourish. The training module is in a pilot program phase to improve the presentation, text, and other factors. The training curriculum will be offered to any new chaplain’s Endorsing Agent and other interested parties upon conclusion of the pilot.

Content Reader: Alan Baker, DMin

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

First Advisor

Baker, Alan T.

Date Uploaded

April 2018

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Military chaplains; 1st Amendment; Constitution (United States)


Missions and World Christianity


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