The Differences Between Pastors and Disaster Relief Chaplains


Last month I attended a training seminar on "Disaster Relief Chaplains."  I took the training so I will be better equipment to help in times of disasters such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and mass shootings.  The training was tremendous and from time to time I am going to share some of the important subjects that were covered. I would like to begin by sharing the "Differences between a Pastor and a Disaster Relief Chaplain".  Over the years I have discovered that some believe that pastors and chaplains are the same or they they don't know the difference.  As you read the information below you will see the difference between the two.

A Pastor:

  • Ministers to one "set" group of people on a long-term basis.
  • Knows the people fairly well or very well.
  • Ministers in "ordinary" times.
  • Ministers to a group of people who have like or similar religious beliefs.
  • Ministers to a group of people who have chosen to be a part of this group.
  • Ministers in the context of common cultural identities.
  • Given authority by a congregation or ecclesiastical body.

Disaster Relief Chaplain:

  • Ministers to people they have never met or do not know very well.
  • Ministers to victims who do not call them or choose them.
  • Ministers to people who are in crisis when they meet.
  • Ministers to a wide variety of cultural and ethnic groups of people.
  • Ministers to many different religious traditions
  • Ministers to people who do not know "what" a disaster relief chaplain is.
  • Given authority by an institution or agency to seek an invitation by victims.

This information is taken from:
The Chaplain Training Manual of the N.A.M.B., SBC

I hope you have found this helpful and have a better idea of what we do from week to week.  Thank you!

Posted on May 21, 2015 and filed under Blog Updates.