The Value of a Chaplain
08/03/2017 | By Chaplain Maj. Lance W. Dixon
The U.S. Army Reserve is uniquely composed of service members who often live hours from their home units and sometimes even further from the leaders charged with their well being. Additionally, the men and women of the Army Reserve work full time jobs, have significant responsibilities as mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, and yet sacrificially serve their country as citizen soldiers. These men and women come from various backgrounds and bring with them a multitude of personal and emotional struggles.
Tragically, many of our beloved service members live without healthy relationships and are surrounded by people who offer them no outlet for coping with personal struggles. Therefore, with thousands of service members dispersed throughout a nationwide footprint, the 108th Training Command offers a challenging environment for pastoral care and relationship building for chaplains. Nonetheless, let me explain how chaplains can support the leadership and the service members of the 108th.
- Army chaplaincy traces its roots back to George Washington.
- Chaplains are spiritual leaders who seek to influence their units with compassion, mercy, and grace.
- Chaplains serve as force multipliers as they are primarily focused on soldier care .
During each month’s Battle Assembly, chaplains are charged with many different responsibilities, to include leading worship/devotional services, pastoral counseling, and general visitation. Chaplains serve in dual capacities of staff officers and care givers, and no matter the rank a chaplain achieves, these two primary responsibilities remain. In fact, the most important duty of Army Reserve chaplains is pastoral care and it’s a responsibility that is upon the chaplain at all times. Each month the chaplains of the 108th receive multiple phone calls from service members and often times from the spouses of service members. Chaplains are on call and welcome the confidential conversations they have with those they care for. Generally, the more relationships a chaplain builds and the greater trust they earn, the more opportunities he or she will have to impact service members, becoming serious force multipliers and assets to their commanders.
Ultimately, chaplains serve as the shepherds of their units.
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