“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
If you have just been elected as your post’s Chaplain, congratulations. If you are a continuing Chaplain, also congratulations. You hold one of the most satisfying and honorable positions in your post, especially if you are a layman.
Reading prayers from the book of Ritual is very important and requires certain literacy skills which you should continuously strive to improve. You should also develop the skill of rendering spontaneous prayer when requested as you’ll not always have a copy of the Ritual with you. Even more importantly, I would submit that you need also to be in fellowship with God to be enabled to effectively carry out these duties. That’s something you can’t get out of a book, you have to deal with it personally and directly with Him. Seek His help daily and continuously. Pray for wisdom. Study scripture.
Reading prayers and such is only the surface of a Chaplain’s duties. A Chaplain should have a burden for others and be ready to help wherever possible. You may not have a lot of resources but we all have one – time. Sometimes just knowing someone cares is a big help to a person having troubles, in a bind, or hurting. You can be a source of encouragement, comfort, sympathy, or you may know where they can get the help they need. Strive to become informed.
Special care should be taken in selecting a Chaplain. It shouldn’t be handed to just any spare person who happens to be available. A Chaplain should have high moral values, be one who can be trusted, a friend, sympathetic, and someone who genuinely cares about others, able to encourage and comfort them, and be willing and able to pray for them. One who puts the good of others and the organization before self. Most of us are not trained in counseling skills but that doesn’t mean you can’t lend an ear and try to help.
The job of a Chaplain goes hand in hand with caring.
Bob Posch, Former District 8 Chaplain