ADVANCED SACRED COMMUNICATION
CH (CPT) JUSTIN DUBOSE
DL C4 (H-RC) FY16 CLASS 412
August 17, 2017
Army doctrine mandates that Chaplains serve in a supervisory capacity, even if traveling over distances is required. Section 1-10 of FM 1-05 states that Chaplains are tasked with “supervising and synchronizing the religious support operations of multiple subordinate chaplains and chaplain assistants across the larger area of operations”. Consequently, a plan for pastoral supervision is required even if funding is restricted. Furthermore, such pastoral supervision by the Chaplain is a necessary part of leadership and professional development. Such development benefits both the individual and the United States Army as an institution. Pastoral supervision is important, in large part, because it provides “a space in which…wellbeing, growth and development are taken seriously” and because it provides a “realistic point of accountability” between supervisor and supervisee.
Reaching out to our Reserve Component Chaplains will be a challenge, but it is both required and beneficial. This implies that certain strategies will be employed which were not in place with previous Chaplains, namely CH Douxnought. Traveling for the purpose of pastoral supervision must become an integrated function of this position. Therefore, this plan will address the issues of advising and supervising downtrace Unit Ministry Teams (UMT) for worship planning and the submission of ministry plans.
Supervision in this context requires creativity and ingenuity. Fortunately, we live in a world saturated with technology, which can augment this supervision. Studies have already been conducted which have concluded that technology can be employed in the area of communication and serve as a viable opportunity for supervision. With this in mind, support and supervision can occur by employing monthly teleconferences with various UMT’s as well as e-mailing necessary reports and providing feedback based upon the report data.
These reports would provide much of the personal supervision that would occur through quarterly meetings which would take place in person. During these personal meetings, time would be allotted for observing chapel services and giving direct and immediate feedback. This feedback would be tailored at not only maintaining accountability, but also at the growth and development which is necessary for effective supervision. During these quarterly meetings, resources would be provided to these downtrace UMT’s which would further supplement the professional development of those involved. With this solution, the objective of supervision and development are met while staying within our restricted budgetary parameters.
The Chaplain Corps provides another distinct benefit that fits into the Commander’s vision for ministry. While I may be the supervisory Chaplain for our downtrace units, there are assuredly other Chaplains who are closer geographically to our Army Reserve UMT’s. It is possible that those Chaplains would be willing to provide some additional mentoring on specifics like preaching. These Chaplains could supplement the presence of the Brigade Chaplain and contribute to the development of our own UMT’s.
Important to this discussion is the element of vision. The Commander’s vision for their UMT’s is designed at contributing significantly to the overall mission of the unit. The UMT can act as a “force multiplier” of sorts and make our Soldiers more effective and efficient in completing their individual tasks. With this in mind, it is even more imperative than quality supervision take place. As the leaders are developed and strengthened, the units in which they serve are developed and strengthened as well. To ensure quality supervision which is aligned to the overall view of the Commander, a “supervision covenant” would be created, which would be approved by the Commander. This is important because, as one author observed, “experience suggests that often when supervision relationships break down or cease to serve a useful purpose, it is because expectations have not been clarified and no provision has been made for review.” This covenant would ensure that not only are expectations clarified and proper provision has been made for review, but the UMT’s across all levels are contributing to the mission of the unit that aligns with the vision of the Commander.
One of CH Douxnought’s greatest contributions to the unit, and which endeared him to the Commander and Soldiers alike, was his ensuring that Soldiers were cared for in areas like counseling and having Chaplain’s visibly and readily available to provide the needed ministry. With this method of supervision, not only are those important objectives being met, but they are being coupled with personal and professional development of those providing the ministerial care. This produces not only an immediate, short-term benefit but also, and more importantly, a long-term benefit of continually improving levels of care. With this system of supervision in place, we are ensuring that present Soldiers are cared for and present UMT’s are deepening in their understanding and proficiency of ministry. We are also laying a foundation which can be built upon where future Soldiers are cared for even better than present Soldiers as the quality of ministry providers improves. Likewise, the current vision and mission are significantly contributed to by the UMT’s and the mission and vision of future Commander’s will be increasingly contributed to as continual development occur.
Headquarters, Department of the Army. FM 1-05: Religious Support. Washington, D.C, 2012.
Jane Leach & Michael Patterson, Pastoral Supervision: A Handbook (London: SCM Press, 2010), https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Y2jpkc--fNUC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=ministry+supervision+of+worship&ots=TlCO7bYgtf&sig=_0zo2ExeVBKxg4OkX_cHn0M9KU0#v=onepage&q=ministry%20supervision%20of%20worship&f=false
M.L. Mackenzie “Manager communication and workplace trust: Understanding manager and employee perceptions in the e-world” International Journal of Information Management (2010), Vol. 30, pgs. 529-541.
NG, LR, NCU, USAR
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