Making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20) means disciples need to step into the world, interface with people, and share the Hope that is in us. To do so well means we must listen–to frustrations, hurts, hopes, and dreams. We must ask questions–about what we hear in order to encourage, help, and offer hope. That sounds a lot like the work of a virtual volunteer chaplain.
At the moment in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, ministry has to be somewhat different. The need for support and encouragement are just as real. Anxiety, fear, and frustrations are rampant in many places in life. As a result, chaplains are needed, but ministry may have to look differently right now.
Steps to Serve as a Virtual Volunteer Chaplain
- Seek Training. Listening and counseling training and practice helps. Here I am not suggesting that you become a formal, paid, or trained chaplain as much as gain some skills and confidence.
- Assemble a List of Sources of Help. You will encounter life situations that are beyond your ability to help. Include professional counselors and other sources of help that you think might be needed. But add to your list as requests are made and you seek out solutions.
- Ask if you can serve as a volunteer chaplain. Prayerfully consider places in your community that might benefit from a volunteer chaplain. Some natural places to consider are those you visit frequently: restaurants, stores, work, etc. Other places might be fire stations, police stations, schools, hospitals, etc. Talk with the manager. Share a contact information. Offer to help as needed by phone or Zoom (in person after the crisis).
- Establish hours and be on call. Again, offer frequently. Spend time getting to know each staff member and customers (keeping social distance)–if the manager is supportive. Listen and care. Remember that help isn’t only needed at convenient times. Offer help beyond when you are onsite. Help by phone. Help in person. Be reachable.
What if every business in your area had a volunteer chaplain? What if every member of your church sought to serve somewhere in the community? How might your community gain greater health, help, and hope? How might your church members grow? Allow the world to see Jesus in you. Care. Share Jesus. Make disciples!