How are chaplains involved in the Lethbridge community?
There are two kinds of chaplains:
Corporate Chaplain – These chaplains partner with companies that desire to further invest in their employees by having a chaplain walk alongside them during a time of crisis and/or just to have someone to talk with. The chaplain does regular site visits to the companies, arranges coffee/lunches with employees, and attends employee team events. Building relationships is a key component. The second year of this program is nearly complete, but we think this is just the beginning. We started out with three business owners from our church. Through different contacts, we added two more companies.
Community Chaplain – These chaplains connect with our community in specific ways. Our primary target group is presently through the public schools. UDAC has a team that assists in this area of ministry with our schools.
How do companies participate in UDAC’s Chaplain Initiative?
There are several conversations between the owners and the chaplain in the process of sharing the vision and goals of the Chaplain Initiative. We also sit down and discuss an individual mission plan with each company on how the chaplain will connect and maintain a presence with each workplace.
Why is this connection important?
A few years ago, the leadership team at UDAC desired to be more intentional in going outside the four walls of the church and connecting with the least-reached people groups of our community. We asked where people are gathering, and the answer was in the marketplace and also in and around our schools; thus, the UDAC Chaplain Initiative was created.
We found inspiration in the story of the woman at the well in John 4. In Jesus’ time, the well was a place where people gathered. Our inspiration was not drawn from the physical well, but about the encounter the woman had with Jesus. Our desire and prayer is that people will encounter Jesus as they get connected and go deeper with the chaplain. The companies and the schools are the “wells” of our community.
Can you give examples of how lives have been touched by the Chaplain Initiative?
Bill* was a middle-aged man working for a company that I was a chaplain for and was told that he needed to talk to the chaplain, or else he would be fired. We began meeting together, and I heard his story. He enjoyed his job, but he was making poor life choices that were affecting his job performance.
I helped him realign his values and the things that were most important to him, and he set some goals to get back on track. I have met with him on and off over the last few months, and he is doing well! He is out of debt, got his driver’s license back, and is now getting a full paycheque.
I asked him when we first started meeting if I could have my prayer team pray for him without knowing full details, and his response was, “Oh for sure, I have never had someone pray for me before.”
There is an opening to talk about spiritual things with Bill, and I pray that I will be able to point him to Jesus.