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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

SURVEY PROJECT 4: SWOT ANALYSIS

A PAPER SUBMITTED TO DR ANDY GOWINS FOR CLED 620

IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE MASTERS OF DIVINITY DEGREE BY TODD HINE 04 JUNE 2012

CLED 620

Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION ...........................................................................................................................2 STRENGTHS ..................................................................................................................................2 WEAKNESSES ...............................................................................................................................3 OPPORTUNITIES ...........................................................................................................................4 THREATS........................................................................................................................................5 CONCLUSION ................................................................................................................................6 BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................................................................7

CLED 620 INTRODUCTION As a member of a commanders special staff, the chaplain position maintains privileges and responsibilities unique to the military. Similarities between chaplains and other members of the branch of service end at the normal expectation of wear and appearance of uniforms and the customs and courtesies warranted per rank. The information contained under the designated headings provides a summation of several soldiers interviewed for input regarding the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats within the realm of a military chaplain. This was conducted using lecture notes as a resource for a survey questions. While the survey has a more specific design geared toward a chaplain, it encompasses the intent in that even the position of chaplain maintains SWOT analysis potential. STRENGTHS By far the biggest strength of the chaplain as viewed by military members is the availability to maintain discretion. The perspective held by all interviewed presented a general belief that the chaplain has client confidentiality. This belief, regardless of the military members religious background, provided the members with a comfort factor held dear. It became apparent without inquiring further, that most military members like to have a secret avenue of escape in their lives, just in case something bad befall them. Without mentioning it directly, that implied message was that the avenue of escape would be for a decision gone wrong. Along the same parallel train of thought was the indication that the chaplain, even by his mere presence, offered a level of peace for the soldier. The organizations chaplain being dully fulfilled by someone gave a sense of comfort and surety to the soldiers. It meant that they had 2

CLED 620 someone advocating for not only the unit but as individuals as well. Having availability to the chaplain gave them comfort. WEAKNESSES According to Malphurs, every organization has weaknesses as well as strengths. (Malphurs 2005, 33) One of the biggest weaknesses or what appeared to me as coming across as a weakness in the eyes of the soldiers interviewed was the limitation of the chaplain to carry firearms. This may have been a by-product of being oriented into an Army environment, but the chaplain not being able to arm himself gave soldiers an uncomfortable feeling, like the Army was leaving the chaplain out to the mercies of the enemy. The majority, though appreciating the reasons behind the chaplain not being allowed to carry, still thought the chaplain should be allowed a personal weapon with which to defend themselves. An additional weakness described by the military members was the limitations of the office of chaplain being confined to the specific denomination of the chaplain assigned to the position. As explained, if a chaplain assigned to a chaplain position within a battalion adhered to the Roman Catholic denomination, that chaplain would be limited in the ability to minister to those following a different doctrinal background. Even with the strengths indicated by the soldiers, this weakness actually overshadowed those strengths to the point where the individual would not seek assistance from a chaplain of a different faith or religious background. Knowing this, a chaplain would do well to complete a personal audit and determine their own perspective. (Malphurs 2005, 304) One more weakness presented itself through the eyes of those interviewed. The chaplain generally sees a position within battalions or above. This typically equates to one person 3

CLED 620 providing ministerial services for well over three hundred soldiers, many times twice that amount. True, the ministry team works together in a collaborative group effort. However, only one person can occupy the chaplain position and this places great demands upon the individual person in the position. Thos interviewed felt that provisions should be made to ensure proper coverage of larger units as the need demands, especially in combat zones. OPPORTUNITIES Many of the soldiers I interviewed had been deployed not only once but twice and even three times since the beginning of the combat operations overseas. During their deployments, they indicated one of the biggest opportunities that a chaplain possessed was the opportunity to minister to the family members while the service member was absent. As can easily be assumed, even without asking for specific examples, the primary concern of soldiers while on deployment was the need for families to be cared for during the deployment. Chaplains that remained behind, as described by those members, worked diligently to ensure the families were cared for and encouraged routinely in an effort to provide comfort for families. This ensures a great opportunity for chaplains to minister to their respective community. (Warren 1995, 115) Other miscellaneous opportunities mentioned by service members were not as heavily discussed though mentioned and still worthy of being recorded. The chaplain has the opportunity to see service members under their care enjoy a military wedding through their officiating of the ceremony. They also have opportunities, based upon denominational background, to share in the joy of baby dedication ceremonies. And, although not a joyful opportunity, chaplains do have the opportunity to minister to those grieving when it comes to the death of a loved one. Not only does the chaplain minister to the grieving spouse and family, but the chaplain also ministers to

CLED 620 the notification officer as well. This can be an invaluable opportunity as the majority of notification officers have no significant training in this sort of activity. (Warren 1995, 324) Any other mention of opportunities only gave me a reference point of being able indicate that a chaplain seems to be limitless in opportunities. The chaplain who can creatively design a ministry program within the ranks of the soldiers can be successful. Money does not need to be a major factor as programs can be designed with minimal assistance. THREATS This topic proved to be the most interesting topic of the four. As Army service members, those interviewed saw this topic as a question that viewed the office of chaplain coming under fire from external physical threat. What most service members were thinking was some kind of combat action that would put the chaplain in harms way. It was very telling at first. What it boiled down to was that the chaplain needed to be trusted. This meant that as a chaplain, their personal behavior needed to be exemplary. The service members all basically held this believe so prominently that it never came to mind that it would be a threat. All eventually came to the conclusion that the chaplain must remain blameless, without accusation. The possibility of a chaplain falling into some horrible behaviors that have overtaken many of their former leaders did not come to light until those thoughts were provoked during the interview. But for one chaplain to fall meant that as a representative of the entire chaplain corps, the entire corps itself would then be tarnished. That was how highly they valued the need for chaplains to remain pure I heart and blameless before man and God. The chaplain acting as a pastor to the military members must be the shepherd for the flock, remaining free from defiling those entrusted into his care. (MacAurthur 2005, 70) 5

CLED 620 CONCLUSION The interviews were very telling. General assumptions can be seen through the eyes of most service members. The office of chaplain can be the punch line of many jokes, especially for those who truly seek the chaplains assistance. Many leaders see the chaplain as a place where cry-babies go. This truly sells short the chaplain and the good that can be accomplished through the ministry. The service members I interviewed, knowing these jokes, indicated the need of the chaplain as being clear and warranted. The jokes will always be present, yet the office will always be looked upon with a degree of respect and admiration, knowing the difficulties faced by chaplains throughout the military.

CLED 620 BIBLIOGRAPHY Barna, George. The Power of Vision. 3rd ed. Ventura, CA: Regal/Gospel Light, 2009. Bergen, Doris L. The Sword of the Lord: Military Chaplains from the First to the Twenty-First Century. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2004. MacArthur, John. Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005. Malphurs, Aubrey. Advanced Strategic Planning. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2005.