Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
chaplain, chaplaincy, ministry, military, state defense forces, pluralism, establishment clause, free exercise clause, ministry of presence
Christianity | Religion
Smith, J. Todd, "Unique Challenges in State Defense Force Chaplaincy" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4946.
As the impact and effectiveness of traditional ministry wanes in this current culture, the influence of chaplaincy is expanding and making new inroads into numerous fields, including business, sports, health care, and the military. Chaplaincy’s commitment to pluralism and emphasis on spirituality instead of denominationalism makes it the perfect vehicle for ministry to this seemingly secular population still searching for meaning, purpose, and connection. These chaplains must be well trained for these serious moments in time and the lives of individuals. State Defense Forces are the nation’s least-known uniformed service and, therefore, lack the resources and funding of other services in many ways. This lack is evident in the training of their Chaplain Corps. This research thesis examines this problem by setting these forces in their historical and military context, revealing their strategic role as state force multipliers. These forces need equipped and mission ready Soldiers, which means they also need a trained and equipped Chaplain Corps. The focus of this work is to suggest a viable plan to create a training program for these chaplains that mitigates the hindering problems of a lack of training time and training curriculum.