An Analysis of the Training Requirements and Credentials for the Rural Community Chaplain as a Commissioned, Incarnational, Spiritual Leader

by Kim Harvey
November 7th, 2022

This study proposes that rural communities can benefit from a pastor or chaplain who is formally trained to address the growing and increasingly complex rural community needs. Rural pastors face unique obstacles and situations as documented in the research and literature. The qualitative data, collected through individual interviews and focus groups, documents the perceptions of experienced pastors and chaplains on what it takes to be an effective pastor and chaplain. This study centers around the training preparation for rural pastors to enter the many faith and non-faith homes, hospitals, and workplaces that are frequently a part of their normal services. This study highlighted the necessity to be equipped with the skills and training to minister effectively and provide them with a compelling need to be formally credentialed.

After many years of personal interactions with rural pastors and rural communities, I felt it was important to use this study to identify gaps in rural pastors’ personal and academic knowledge base to help them overcome the challenges they face in fulfilling their calling to effectively influence their rural community towards shalom. The findings of this research provided insight and knowledge for the development of the transformational strategy of equipping of rural pastors through the creation of an introductory seminar. My plan is to pursue opportunities to develop an advanced model from my present seminar prototype. I would like to offer it to existing rural pastors and to new start-up pastors. The advanced model would include studies in Leadership Development, Church Development, Community Development, and Economic Development. From the introduction to the final prayer, the seminar will inspire the pastor to rise to new levels of personal leadership that will energize the pastor with fresh hopes, dreams, and ambitions, to elevate their knowledge to become agents of transformation in the rural community.