Neighborhood Chaplaincy: 8 Open Questions
By Steve Daman
Neighborhood Chaplaincy is an innovative approach to ministering the love of Jesus in emerging communities. In High-Rise Gospel Presence: A Case for Neighborhood Chaplains, I share why I believe Boston would benefit from neighborhood chaplains.
But we have more questions than answers. Here are the major issues we believe will need to be addressed on the way to fostering a Neighborhood Chaplaincy movement in Boston.
1. Culture CHANGES
What shifts in spiritual attitudes and lifestyles are happening with the emerging neighborhood demographics of Boston? How do we as the dynamic Church in this city respond, as we yearn to bring the love and life of Jesus to every Bostonian?
2. BEYOND FIRST CONTACT
If we establish physical space in a new neighborhood, what’s next? Do we plant churches out of that space? Or do we exclusively refer people to existing churches?
3. Online Presence
Is a physical space enough? What kind of web- and social media presence will a neighborhood chaplaincy require in order to generate a flow of people seeking services?
From where might a stream of funding for neighborhood chaplaincy be sustainable?
5. Job Requirements
What would be the duties of a neighborhood chaplain? What about credentials? How and where will neighborhood chaplains be trained and certified? Are local seminaries preparing graduates for nontraditional, outside-the-box, Kingdom-of-God building ministry?
6. Community Relations
How do we sell this idea to a community development enterprise? Of what value is a neighborhood chaplaincy program to a high-rise development complex? Can it be demonstrated that a spiritually and emotionally healthy neighborhood is a better neighborhood and a neighborhood chaplaincy can produce a healthier community?
How will we attract those rare individuals whom Mark Yoon envisions would pursue a contemporary church-planting model “built on vulnerability and surrender, and skill on how to engage, and prayer”?
8. What's Happening Now
Is anyone in the Boston area already doing Neighborhood Chaplaincy, or something similar? Are there leaders or groups regularly praying about it? Has anyone begun work towards such a movement?
Are you interested in joining a follow-up discussion with other Christian leaders on the potential for Neighborhood Chaplaincy in Boston?