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What Do Chaplains Do?

August 9, 2011

Concordia Lutheran Ministries is a faith-based organization that not only addresses physical but spiritual needs as well. That's why in addition to nurses, aides and therapists, etc., there is also a staff of chaplains on board. Most people know what nurses, aides and therapists do, but what about chaplains? Good question.

Jesus, in the Biblical Gospel of John 21:16, asked his disciple, Peter, "Do you truly love me?" Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know I love you." Then Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." Jesus isn't really talking about taking care of sheep as farm animals. He's talking about taking care of God's people. People who know God's love for them in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus want to demonstrate that love by taking care of others in their physical and spiritual need.

Physical needs manifest themselves by bodily illnesses, weakness or pain. Spiritual needs manifest themselves when people are frightened, insecure, lonely, anxious, worried angry, frustrated, feeling hopeless and helpless etc. These experiences usually indicate there is something hurting in their spirit, soul, and relationship with God.

Three called pastors are part of Concordia's chaplaincy staff. To address the spiritual needs at Concordia they:

  • Make hospital visits with residents as needed
  • Make personal visits with residents as needed
  • Offer Bible studies
  • Offer daily devotions
  • Provide monthly prayer services for staff at the nurses stations
  • Lead 15 weekly church services at all Concordia locations
  • Make funeral home visits
  • Make hospice visits
  • Officiate at funerals, baptisms and weddings upon request
  • Assess resident's spiritual needs and connect them to appropriate clergy
  • Occasionally lead worship in area Lutheran churches upon request

Two called deaconesses are also part of the staff. They provide services such as:

  • Hymn sings
  • Bible studies
  • Devotions
  • Bible story time for the Day Care children
  • Concordia Visiting Nurses visits as requested and needed
  • Personal visits to residents
  • Visits to the sick, dying, hospice or crisis patients
  • Bible based activities
  • Assess spiritual needs and make referrals

In addition to the called chaplaincy staff, an extended chaplaincy staff provides supplemental ministry to hospice patients and their families and Concordia Visiting Nurses visits out in the field.

This is what Concordia's chaplains do to care for Concordia's residents and to apply God's Word of hope and healing to their spiritual needs. For more information on Concordia's mission, visit the About Us page on our website. You can also call 724.352.1571 or e-mail here.

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