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Online · School of Divinity · Christian Leadership & Church Ministries

Spiritual and Professional Development of the Chaplain

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 01/13/2020

Course Description

This course addresses the professional and spiritual formation of chaplains. Students will observe and evaluate, first-hand, various chaplain ministries. Attention is given to the biblical nature of chaplain ministry and its practical application within the secular and pluralistic contexts of the military, healthcare, and community chaplain settings. Special emphasis is given to formation of godly character necessary for successful chaplain ministry.



CHPL 500


The chaplain needs to understand the biblical nature of chaplain ministry and its application within secular and pluralistic contexts. The student needs to observe and evaluate various chaplain ministries first-hand in order to best understand how to provide soul-care, as well as lead spiritually within the framework of secular, pluralistic environments. Additionally, a chaplain must be spiritually grounded and growing in the Lord in order to minister within military, healthcare, and community chaplain settings.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Appraise the biblical nature and work of chaplaincy within military, healthcare, and community settings.
  2. Assess the value of chaplain ministry as observed firsthand in pluralistic chaplaincy contexts.
  3. Summarize the biblical basis for spiritual disciplines and daily living.
  4. Analyze the disciplines essential for a strong spiritual formation.
  5. Critique the evidence of spiritual disciplines in his/her life.
  6. Create a spiritual growth plan pertinent to a specified type of chaplaincy ministry.
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of spiritual formation as revealed in the spiritual disciplines and pastoral leadership.

Course Resources

Required Resources

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

Boa, Kenneth. Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001.

MacArthur, John. Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2005..

Murray, Andrew. Humility. Seattle: Createspace, 2012.

Tozer, A. W. The Pursuit of God. Camp Hill: Moody Press, 2015.

Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Rev. ed. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 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.

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

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

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

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 400 words. In addition to the thread, the student will reply to at least 4 classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 100 words.

Journals (7)

The student will write Journals recounting his/her ministry observations and spiritual reflections. Prompts for each journal will be provided. The student must incorporate at least 1 biblical integration and write a minimum of 300 words for each Journal. (MLO: A, C, D)

Spiritual Assessment

The student will complete a personal Spiritual Assessment as the basis for a Spiritual Development Plan. The student will reflect intently on his/her daily relationship with the Lord in 6 parts and complete a personal SWOT analysis as the seventh part. The Spiritual Assessment paper must be at least 900 words. (MLO: C, E)

Shadow Evaluations (4)

The student will complete a 3-hour interview/shadow with 4 chaplains (for a total of 12 hours and 4 evaluations). The student will evaluate his/her shadowing experience. Each of the 4 evaluations must be at least 1,300 words and incorporate at least 2 course textbook citations. (MLO: A, B, C, D)

Shadow Evaluation Paper

The student will compare and contrast his/her 4 Shadow Evaluations and write a paper based on lessons learned. The Shadow Evaluation Paper must be at least 1,600 words, follow current Turabian format, and incorporate at least 3 course textbook citations and 3 biblical integrations. (MLO: B, E, G)

Spiritual Development Plan

The student will create a Spiritual Development Plan. The Spiritual Development Plan will focus on specific and measurable steps the student will take over the coming module/weeks to implement/practice chosen spiritual disciplines. The purpose in creating a Spiritual Development Plan is to intentionally map the student’s part of the spiritual formation process. The Spiritual Development Plan must be at least 2,500 words, follow in current Turabian format, and must incorporate at least 5 scholarly citations and 3 biblical integrations. (MLO: E, F)

Quizzes (3)

Each quiz will cover the material found within the course textbooks and presentations for the modules/weeks in which they are assigned. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 20 multiple-choice questions, and have a 30-minute time limit. The student will be permitted 2 attempts per quiz in an effort to achieve his/her best score. (MLO: D, G)

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (2 at 50 pts ea)


Journals (7 at 20 pts ea)


Spiritual Assessment


Shadow Evaluations (4 at 75 pts ea)


Shadow Evaluation Paper


Spiritual Development Plan


Quiz (3 at 40 pts ea)





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 598

Textbooks: Boa, Conformed to His Image (2001).

McArthur, Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically (2005).

Murray, Humility (2012).

Tozer, The Pursuit of God (2015).

Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (2014).


Reading & Study




Boa: chs. 1–12

MacArthur: chs. 1–8

Whitney: ch. 1

7 presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1





Boa: chs. 13–18

MacArthur: chs. 9–11

Whitney: chs. 2–4

6 presentations

Spiritual Assessment

Shadow Evaluation 1

Journal 1





Boa: chs. 30–35

MacArthur: chs. 12–22

Whitney: chs. 5–6

6 presentations

Shadow Evaluation 2

Journal 2

Quiz 1





Boa: chs. 19–20, 24–26

Whitney: chs. 7–8

3 presentations

DB Forum 2

Shadow Evaluation 3

Journal 3





Boa: chs. 27–29

Whitney: chs. 9–10

4 presentations

Shadow Evaluation 4

Journal 4

Quiz 2





Boa: chs. 21–23, 36

Tozer: entire text

Whitney: chs. 11–13

2 presentations

Shadow Evaluation Paper

Journal 5




Murray: entire text

4 presentations

Spiritual Development Plan

Journal 6




Boa: Appendices A–B

1 presentation

Journal 7

Quiz 3





DB = Discussion Board

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