Mark Galli has a wonderful article at CT (Link) that discusses the need for pastors to be more life-giving and less the CEO vision-casting administrator type. I hearken back to the older Anglican title of curate. This word comes from the Latin curatus, which means “healer of souls”.
A chaplain is a minister in the service of another. A chaplain at a hospital or in the military is clearly not the highest ranking member of the institution, clearly not the person in charge of running things. The chaplain’s job is defined by service—service to the institution’s needs and goals, service to the individuals who come for spiritual help. The chaplain prays for people in distress, administers sacraments to those in need, leads worship for those desperate for God. In short, the chaplain is at the beck and call of those who are hurting for God…. There’s no mistaking a chaplain for an entrepreneurial leader, a catalyst for growth. No, the chaplain is unmistakably a servant.
One wonders where we got our other ideas about the pastorate. For centuries, the pastorate was thought to be about “the cure of souls”—souls being understood not as the spiritual part of us, but as the fullness of our humanity. The pastor has traditionally been thought of as one who does ministry in the midst of a people who are sick and dying, and who administers in word and sacrament, in Scripture and in prayer, the healing balm of the Lord.
© 2011, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.