Our workplace chaplains regularly visit with employees at their work stations and offices, establishing a rapport with workers and making them aware that counseling is available at any time, especially during emergencies. We dress in polo shirts and khaki pants rather than collars and robes. As chaplains, we also visit sick and bereaved employees and their families, and when no other minister is available, we officiate services (as Jack Kelly did for one of his clients when his wife passed away). Essentially, we are an extension of an employee assistance program (EAP), offering an indispensable spiritual dimension to the traditional EAP approach.
Chaplains have what has been called a “ministry of presence.” We are specifically trained to work in a secular environment, and we can be on-site or on-call 24 hours a day to counsel any employee on any matter, personal or professional. “We don’t work by the hour. We work by the needs.”
The spiritual dimension sometimes entails running on-site, voluntary Bible studies and prayer groups, and it occasionally entails sharing of the Gospel. But we as chaplains are not in the workplace to push religion. Our faith is not an instrument to offend you, it’s an instrument for us to love you. In the same vein, we do not see our work as evangelistic, but one of providing “basic human kindness.” If anything, we influence people for the Kingdom of God by being there for them when they need us.
We do not go into the workplace to preach or proselytize, but if a worker asks a theological question, we will answer it from a Christian perspective. Some people we help come to Christ; some we just help. And that’s okay, because that’s why we’re here—to help. Learn more about corporate chaplaincy
How Can This Help Your Business?
Although solid research does not exist to quantify the business value of workplace chaplains, anecdotal evidence strongly suggests a positive return on investment (ROI). Testimonials abound on the websites of both Marketplace Ministries and Corporate Chaplains of America, attesting to the practical value of corporate chaplaincy. “This was the best business decision I ever made” and “This is the only benefit that employees have ever thanked me for” are typical. Beyond the information from the chaplain providers, a widely-reported comment comes from Austaco, a large Pizza Hut and Taco Bell franchisee corporation, which credits its chaplain program for reducing its annual turnover from 300 percent to 125 percent.
Moreover, in the trucking industry, where 100 percent turnover in drivers is not unusual, Allied Holdings has a turnover of four percent, partly, they claim, due to their employee care programs like chaplaincy. Kent Humphreys, President of Fellowship of Companies for Christ International, also suggests a competitive advantage, having employed corporate chaplains for fifteen years with, he says, significant results in the areas of employee retention and morale.
Can a Corporate Chaplaincy Program Promote Litigation?
Such statistics prompt predictable and legitimate questions in our litigious culture. Are you risking a lawsuit by launching a workplace chaplaincy program? Not if we as chaplains approach our job in accordance with our training.
In the United States, employers are permitted to offer faith-based services to employees, provided that they do so without discrimination and without creating an environment where employees feel pressured to conform to a particular faith. In practice, for example, this means that companies may employ chaplains and may have prayer or Bible-study sessions, as long as they are voluntary and those who don’t attend are not discriminated against. Employees must not feel that their terms and conditions of employment are in any way contingent upon their religious beliefs.
Legalese aside, Mark Cress CEO of Corporate Chaplains offers what might be the more compelling answer to this question: “During more than 60 years of workplace chaplaincy history, no company offering a Chaplain Assistance Program, nor any chaplain agency, has been the target of litigation concerning chaplain care.” He adds that a group of chaplains serve one company that has over 400 Jewish employees and there has never even been a complaint, much less a lawsuit. A representative from Allied Holdings says they, too, have never had a complaint in 35 years of providing workplace chaplains, even though Allied has a very religiously-diverse workforce. Gil Stricklin presents a similarly striking statistic: Marketplace Ministries has logged over 1.2 million hours of contracted service during the past nineteen plus years, without legal incident.
We are all trained and have our chaplain's certification through Logos University, Life Changing University and the American Chaplains Association. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business.