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Online · School of Divinity · Christian Leadership & Church Ministries

Introduction to Chaplaincy Ministry

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

Course Description

Examines the theological and cultural issues of a formal and informal ministry setting. Explores the similarities and differences among the various types of chaplaincies. Gives attention to ministry in religiously pluralistic, multicultural and multi-staff environments. Emphasizes skills, strategies and character traits necessary for effective ministry.





This course is designed to help students understand the biblical nature of chaplaincy, comprehend the various types of chaplaincy ministry professions, explain the historical development of the chaplaincy from the early biblical days to today’s chaplaincy, understand the legal foundations of chaplaincy, illustrate the key roles of chaplains, and appraise key issues surrounding the chaplain ministry today. The study is correlated to the cultural and historical events in the chaplaincy in order to give students the tools to use and explain the role of the chaplain.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain the various types of chaplain ministry disciplines.
  2. Explain the historical context of the chaplain’s role throughout history beginning with early biblical times.
  3. Explain the professionalization of the military chaplaincy.
  4. Assess the constitutionality of the military chaplaincy, both from a Free Exercise Clause and an Establishment Clause perspective and its implications for evangelical chaplains.
  5. Analyze the opportunities and challenges chaplains face when serving in pluralistic environments.
  6. Explain the biblical nature of chaplaincy.

Course Resources

Required Resources

The resources below are provided in the course at no cost to the student.

Bergen, Doris L. The Sword of the Lord: Military Chaplains from the First to the Twenty-First Century. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2004.

Paget, Naomi, and Janet McCormack. The Work of the Chaplain. Valley Forge: Judson Press, 2006.

*Hansen, Kim P. Military Chaplains and Religious Diversity. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

*Morgan, Terry. The Chaplain's Role: How Clergy Can Work with Law Enforcement. Seattle: CreateSpace, 2012.

*Parker, Andrew, Watson, Nick J., and White, John B. Sports Chaplaincy. London: Routledge, 2016.

*Sullivan, Winnifred F. A Ministry of Presence: Chaplaincy, Spiritual Care, and the Law. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.

*Swift, Christopher. Hospital Chaplaincy in the Twenty-First Century. London: Routledge, 2014.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

*Note: the student will choose 1 of the resources marked with an asterisk to use for the Research Paper: Part 4.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Word
    5. School of Divinity Writing Guide:

Course Assignments

Required readings and video lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

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

Discussion Board Forums (4)

The student is required to provide a thread in response to provided prompts for each forum. Each thread must be 800 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to two other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be 200 words. (Outcomes: A, D, E, F)

Quizzes (2)

Quiz 1 will deal with the history of chaplaincy from 27BC – 1600AD.

Quiz 2 will deal with the legality of chaplaincy in pluralistic settings.

Both quizzes will be 45 minutes each and be composed of 25 multiple-choice questions. Students must take the quiz during the allotted time. (Outcomes: B, C, D, E, F)


The Test will deal with the history of chaplaincy from 1601-1950.

The Test will be 75 minutes and be composed of 50 muliple-choice questions. Students must take the test during ht eallotted time. (Outcomes: B, C, D, E, F)

Research Paper

The student will complete a research paper for this course. The Research Paper is broken down into 5 parts. (Outcomes: A, B, C, D, E, F)

Research Paper: Part 1

Student will write a 5 page paper analyzing how the chaplain is to glorify God by bearing Christ’s image and message to others, so that they can enjoy a holy and loving relationship with God and one another. Prior to writing, the student will research the ministry of Jesus in the assigned Gospel, considering parallels between Jesus’ ministry and chaplain ministry. Examples might include comparisons between the incarnational, relational, exemplary, and servant leadership of Jesus and chaplains. Applicable information will provide a biblical basis to be used in Research Part 5. The paper must be accomplished in Turabian footnote citation style.

Research Paper: Part 2

The student will write a 5 page paper explaining the various types of chaplain ministry. This assignment is designed to prepare the student to select one particular chaplaincy discipline on which to focus for the remainder of the research paper. Applicable information will be helpful in writing Research Part 5. The paper must be accomplished in Turabian footnote citation style.

Research Paper: Part 3

The student will write a 5 page report following a chaplain interview. Students will interview a chaplain currently serving in the particular chaplain discipline chosen following Research Paper Part 2. Applicable information and quotes will be used in Research Part 5. The paper must be accomplished in Turabian footnote citation style.

Research Paper: Part 4

Students will write a 5 page critical evaluation of one of the options under Required Resources (the texts marked with an asterick), consisting of a summary and critique. The summary must focus on the main ideas and significant themes in the book, as well as an account of the author’s overall purpose in writing. The critique section must contain a well-thought-out critical interaction with the author’s thesis and the main points of the argument he presents in the book. The critique must present the strengths and weaknesses as well as an overall evaluation of the book. Applicable information will be used in Research Part 5. The paper must be accomplished in Turabian footnote citation style.

Research Paper: Part 5

The student will write an 10-page research paper. The paper will analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing the chaplaincy discipline chosen. Information gleaned in the previous 4 parts of the Research Project will be utilized in writing and must be properly annotated in footnotes. Additionally, Research Parts 1-4 will be included as appendices, but will not count towards the page count. The paper must be accomplished in Turabian footnote citation style.


Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (4 at 50 pts ea)


Quizzes (2 at 50 pts ea)




Research Paper: Part 1


Research Paper: Part 2


Research Paper: Part 3


Research Paper: Part 4


Research Paper: Part 5





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


CHPL 500

Textbooks: Bergen, The Sword of the Lord (2004).

Paget & McCormack, The Work of the Chaplain (2006).


Reading & Study




Bohlman: Ch. 3 (pdf)
1 presentation

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

Research Paper: Part 1

DB Forum 1






Paget & McCormack: chs. 1–9

10 presentations

Research Paper: Part 2



Bergen: chs. 1–4

1 presentation

Quiz 1

DB Forum 2




Bergen: Ch. 5-8

7 presentations

2 websites


DB Forum 3




Whittington & Davidson: chs. 1-3(pdf)

3 presentation

1 website

Quiz 2
DB Forum 4




Research- Chaplain Interview

Research Paper: Part 3



Research – Selected Chaplain Book

Research Paper: Part 4



Paget & McCormack: chs. 10–12

1 presentations

Research Paper: Part 5




DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Each course week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.