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The Chaplain and Worship

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THE CHAPLAIN AND WORSHIP
CHPL 696

Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary
May 21, 2014

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION 1
THE CHAPLAIN AND THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN WORSHIP....................................2-3
THE CHAPLAIN PROVIDING WORSHIP IN A HEALTH-CARE SETTING.......................4-6
CONCLUSION................................................................................................................................6
BIBLOGRAPHY.............................................................................................................................7

INTRODUCTION

The ministry of worship and preaching of chaplains is unique in the sense that they are tasked with providing for the religious needs of different people and in a pluralistic environment. Although this type of setting provides many challenges, chaplains are afforded abundant ministry opportunities. This paper first will attempt to describe the opportunities, advantages, and disadvantages of technology in the area of worship and preaching for chaplains. Secondly, this paper will describe the role and functions of chaplains in the healthcare setting when providing worship services. This paper will show that when properly used technology can become a tool that will enhance, promote, and advance the ministry of worship and preaching in the chaplaincy ministry.

The Chaplain and the Use of technology in Worship

When considering the use of technology such as multimedia, the chaplain has to consider whether the use of such technology will ultimately enhance, fortify, or detrimentally affect the worship service. The question is how technology can be better employed, in order to become a means thru which the people of God are able to worship in a meaningful and spiritually manner. Technology is already defining the way people worship and learn the World of God. People are learning the Word of God by the use of online Bibles on their iPhones and computers. Moreover, religious services and spiritual devotional programs tools have become available as al alternate means of worship. These tools when properly used become tools that can help the chaplain shape the way people worship and receive the preaching of the Gospel.

In the process of integrating technology in worship, the chaplain will benefit from asking some very defining questions. The first question that should be asked is what are some possible problems or conflicts that can happen with technologically mediated worship, and how can the chaplain provide solutions to these problems. Secondly, in the process of communicating truth, how can the communication tool be effectively connected with the what is been communicated. Lastly, if the technology is an effective tool in worship and preaching, how can it be balanced so that the message of the Gospel is founded on Christ and not on technology?[1] Although technology can definitely complement the worship, the goal of technology-mediated worship is to serve as a means and it should not be the end in itself. There is a need to make sure that the message is not disconnected from the media. When technology becomes an end in itself instead of just been the means by which the message of the Gospel is communicated, it losses its efficiency.[2] Hall Dragseth suggests a ten-step plan in order to introduce technology into an established worship service that has some very practical suggestions.[3] In this article he suggest that congregations that are well established and have been worshiping the same way for years may initially resist any attempt to introduce technology into their worship ritual. For that reason, he suggests that ministers develop a vision and share it with the congregation regarding the use of technology in worship. This is critical in the initial implementation plan of any program. Due diligence in the form of research although time consuming, will definitely provide the leaders with the needed information to implement an effective program. Once information is gathered, then the possibilities and benefits of technology need to be demonstrated to the congregation. Recruitment and training are also two essential elements of a good technological program. The minister needs to recruit a small group of volunteers that have a passion for that ministry and provide training. The process should be gradual and as the people become comfortable with the technology continue to further develop the program. Reassessment is also important and should be done periodically in order to check for positive feedback or resistance. Lastly, maintain your attention on the goal, which should be meaningful worship. Furthermore, there has to be a balance between delivering meaningful, technology driven worship that is relevant, and serves Christ, and staying away from overwhelming the people’s senses. Too much technology can overwhelm the people so there needs to be a balance.[4] Many times in the need to impress people or make an impact on the congregation, leaders go over the top causing a negative response that can be spiritually harmful. Technology should not be used to impress people, rather it should be a tool that exalts and serves Christ. The Chaplain Providing Worship in a Healthcare Setting According to Paget and McCormack, healthcare chaplaincy is a much-diversified form of ministry that serves and provides spiritual care in areas such as the Emergency Room, oncology, psychology, obstetrics, and many more.[5] These chaplains are extremely helpful to the community in the sense that they provide worship service, prayer, counseling, and a ministry of presence when people are hurting and at the most vulnerable times in their lives. That is why providing meaningful and spiritual worship in a health-care environment is so important. In order to be able to effectively provide for the religious needs of such a diverse population, healthcare chaplains need to develop and be guided by a theology of worship that honors Christ and is Biblically based. When honoring Christ is at the center of the worship service people are blessed, changed, and find grace as they worship. This is the type of worship that is recorded in Revelation 5: 11-13 where it says, “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing”. “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever” (KJV). By always making sure that the worship honors and reveals Christ instead of the religious inclinations or preferences of a specific group of people, the chaplain is able to provide a worship environment that reaches all groups regardless of beliefs. Besides making sure that people experience a Christ-centered worship, the chaplain can also benefit by promoting participation, expressing unity of Spirit, and encouraging the people to enjoy the celebration of worship.[6] Some of the most common worship related activities conducted by healthcare chaplains include performing the rites and offices of a religious leader in his own faith group and providing for and officiating in ecumenical or interfaith activities. [7] Because of the nature of their work, healthcare chaplains could be asked on occasions to perform worship services that they may not do from their own theological or religious position.[8] This is why a great deal of flexibility is required in order to effectively provide for the religious needs of people in this type of setting. There are general practical recommendations that are applicable when providing worship services in the healthcare setting, beginning with the idea of preparation and planning, as a key foundation of every service. It is recommended that planning is done early and that nothing is left to spontaneity or chance. Do not leave anything up for grabs and plan the whole service ahead of time.[9] When people in a worship service are guessing as to who is doing what and what is going to happen next, that takes away from the meaning and the spirituality of the service and presents an appearance that the leaders did not take the time to prepare for the service. Furthermore, the Word of God should have prominence in the worship service. Although there are many components of the service that are important such as music, prayer, nothing should take the place of the Word of God.[10] The Scripture readings should be carefully chosen and they should complement and support the overall purpose of the service. Conclusion This paper briefly outlined how the use of technology can either benefit or be a hindrance to worship. As with any other communication tool, the chaplain has to make sure that technology fulfills its purpose, which is to become a tool thru which Christ is presented to the people. The paper also briefly provided some general guidelines to demonstrate how a chaplain in a healthcare setting can better provide for the worship experience of the audience. There are many different suggestions and ideas that could have been include in the paper, however the greatest challenge and responsibility for a chaplain ministering to a diverse population is to make sure that the worship is Christ-centered and Biblical.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Briant, James W., and Mac Brunson. The New Guidebook for Pastors. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group, 2007.

Dragseth, Hall. “Church Snapshot: Technology in Worship.” The Clergy Journal 81, no. 3 (January 2005).

Kaelhter, A. B. “Is Technology Enriching Our Worship?” Canadian Mennonite 16, no. 4-7 (February 2006).

Lain, John D. In Jesus' Name, Evangelicals and Military Chaplains. Eugene, Oregon: Resource Publications, 2010.

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

Whittington, Michael C., and Charlie N. Davidson. Matters of Conscience. Lynchburg, Virginia: Liberty University Press, 2013.

----------------------- [1]. A. B. Kaelhter, “Is Technology Enriching Our Worship?” Canadian Mennonite 16, no. 4-7 (February 2006): 6.

[2]. Ibid.

[3]. Hall Dragseth, “Church Snapshot: Technology in Worship,” The Clergy Journal 81, no. 3 (January 2005): 13.

[4]. James W. Briant and Mac Brunson, The New Guidebook for Pastors (Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group, 2007), 10.

[5]. Naomi K. Paget and Janet R. McCormack, The Work of the Chaplain (Valley Forge: Judson Press, 2006), 47.

[6]. John D. Lain, In Jesus' Name, Evangelicals and Military Chaplains (Eugene, Oregon: Resource Publications, 2010), 126.

[7]. Paget and McCormack, The Work of the Chaplain, 53.47.

[8]. Ibid.

[9]. Bryant and Brunson, The New Guidebook for Pastors, 99.

[10]. Ibid., 101.

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