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Online · School of Divinity · Christian Leadership & Church Ministries

Chaplain Resilient Leaders

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 02/07/2020

Contact Information

See detailed faculty information in Blackboard.

Course Description

This course will examine in depth a biblical model for resiliency and resilient spiritual leadership for chaplains, introducing key characteristics and competencies which allow chaplain leaders to be resilient and set the conditions for successful performance, to lead through inevitable crises along the way, and to help individuals and organizations rebound from downturns to a brighter future. The course also addresses how resilient leaders stand the test of time, avoiding burnout and establishing essential disciplines of replenishment. On Campus Intensive Only.





This course will prepare chaplain leaders to embrace the challenges of unique ministry experiences, enhancing personal spiritual fitness and exercise skills to meet the demands of changing environments. This will be done through selected disciplines of personal and professional ministerial practice, which will allow the chaplain to address his/her holistic preparation and provide the highest level of leadership to organizations and their personnel.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Prepare a personal, introspective resilient leadership plan which provides assessment and refinement of comprehensive personal wellness (physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and relational) and personal self-care (including disciplines of replenishment).
  2. Explain the foundational concepts relating to resilient leadership (i.e. comprehensive leader fitness, personal holiness and discipline, the foundational character traits for long term leadership success, and leader self-care.)
  3. Identify key means and useful techniques for a leader to set conditions for successful performance in individual followers and organizations, along with suffering relevant to the challenges facing chaplains, pastoral leaders and their followers.
  4. Articulate a biblical theology of Gospel-centered ministry amidst the challenges of pluralism and ecumenism in the worldwide marketplace and synthesize approaches to dealing with chaplaincy challenges using current scholarly standards and practices along with course materials, theories, assumptions, and issues.
  5. Display an interactive knowledge and practical applications of all textbooks through book reviews and work with other classmates to facilitate discussion of the bi-weekly subject through discussion boards.

Course Resources

Required Resources

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

Burns, Bob, Chapman, T.D., and Guthrie, D.C. Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2013.

Dees, Robert F. Resilient Warriors. San Diego, CA: Creative Team Publishing, 2011.

Fernando, Ajith. Jesus-Driven Ministry. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2002.

Lawrenz, Mel. Spiritual Leadership Today. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016.

Sherwood, Mark. The Quest for Wellness: A Practical and Personal Wellness Plan for Optimum Health in Your Body, Mind, and Spirit. Riviera Beach, FL: Emerge, 2015.

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. John W. Rawlings School of Divinity: Turabian-Based 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 (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. There will be four Discussion Board Forums throughout this course. The student is required to provide an initial thread in response to the provided topic for the forum. Each initial thread is to be at least 300 words in length and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to one other classmate’s thread. Each reply must be at least 50 words in length. (Outcomes: A, B, C, E).

Book Reviews (3)

The student will select three of the textbooks and complete a book review for each. These reviews will be 900 words in length. Current Turabian format must be used. (Outcomes: A, B, C, D, E).

Resiliency Reflection Paper

In a typewritten, double-spaced Turabian style paper, following the given format of 5-6 pages, students will detail their understanding of resiliency through the hermeneutical lens for 1 Timothy 4:6-11. The paper should include the sections of description and prescription. Description engages the hermeneutical/exegesis of passage; prescription engages the personal implementation/application of the passage. The student should cite 2 scholarly sources in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible. (Outcomes: A, D, E).

Theology of Gospel-Centered Ministry Paper

In a typewritten, double-spaced Turabian style paper, following the given format of 5-6 pages, students will detail their "Theology of Gospel-Centered Ministry." The following sections must be included: Defining the Gospel, Remaning Gospel-Focused, Pluralistic/Ecumenical Challenges to the Gospel, and the Reward for Gospel Faithfulness. The student should cite 2 scholarly sources in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible. (Outcomes: A, D, E).

Theology of Suffering Paper

In a typewritten, double-spaced Turabian style paper, following the given format of 5-6 pages, students will detail their "Theology of Suffering." The following sections must be included: The Reality of Evil, Biblical Foundations and Role Models of Suffering, Common Misconceptions Regarding Suffering, and How to Lead and Minister to Others in Pain. The student should cite 2 scholarly sources in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible. (Outcomes: A, B, E).

Theology of Personal Resiliency Paper

In a typewritten, double-spaced Turabian style paper, following the given format of 5-6 pages, students will detail their "Theology of Personal Resiliency." This research should include the following sections: The Reality of Tribulation, The Necessity for Resilience, Biblical Foundations for Resilience, Biblical Role Models of Resilient Leaders and Caregivers. Include a personalized plan that includes how the student as a person and leader will prepare themselves for resiliency in their own leadership endeavors. The student should cite 2 scholarly sources in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible. (Outcomes: B, C, E).

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (4 at 50 pts ea)


Book Reviews (3 at 100 pts ea)


Resiliency Reflection Paper


Theology of Gospel-Centered Ministry Paper


Theology of Suffering Paper


Theology of Personal Resiliency Paper




Course Policies

Style Guidelines

All assignments for this course are to be formatted in accordance with the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity: Turabian-Based Writing Guide. Discussion assignments and essay examinations may use the parenthetical citation style. All other written assignments should use the footnote citation style. Supplemental writing aids are available via the Online Writing Center.

Extra Credit

No additional “for credit” assignments will be permitted beyond those given in the course requirements stated above.

Course Changes

Course requirements are subject to change by the administration of the University at any time with appropriate notice.


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 645

Textbooks: Burns, et al., Resilient Ministry (2013).

Dees, Resilient Warriors (2011).

Fernando, Jesus-Driven Ministry (2002).

Lawrenz, Spiritual Leadership Today (2016).

Sherwood, The Quest for Wellness (2015).


Reading & Study




Fernando: chs. 1-7

1 presentation

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

Resiliency Reflection Paper





Fernando: chs. 8-14

1 presentation

DB Forum 1

Book Review 1




Sherwood: chs. 1-5

1 presentation

Theology of Gospel-Centered Minstry Paper



Sherwood: chs. 6-10

1 presentation

Book Review 2

DB Forum 2




Dees: chs. 1-5

Lawrenz: chs. 1-9

1 presentation

Theology of Suffering Paper



Dees: chs. 6-9

Lawrenz: chs. 10-20

1 presentation

Book Review 3

DB Forum 3




Burns, et al.: chs. 1-8

1 presentation

Theology of Personal Resiliency Paper



Burns, et al.: chs. 9-14

1 presentation

DB Forum 4




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.