Chaplain’s Corner: The Chaplain’s Secret Sauce
By: Craig Maart
A good chaplain serves primarily with a ministry of presence. For some people, this may seem odd, and they would quickly dismiss the effectiveness of this essential part of being a chaplain. People who have to say everything that comes to mind would not make good chaplains. This ministry of being fully present with people is the secret sauce TFC Global chaplains use to be highly effective. Of course, there is more to it, but the main ingredient in our secret sauce is this ministry of presence.
When a person seeks out a chaplain to ask for prayer and seek counsel with the issues of life, they want to be heard. A chaplain’s response can’t be “I know how to fix this” and proceed to start prescribing their “fix”. The response needs to be, “tell me more”, or “help me understand more of what else is really going on”. Every part of their body language and focus is on the person in front of them. One of the biggest things we hear from trucking company employees and drivers is, “I just want someone to listen to me”. This world is nuts and the selfishness in all of us is not decreasing. Everyone has an angle, something to sell, or an agenda to push. People feel overworked, underappreciated, and lonely. When you find someone you can share the real you with and they patiently listen and make you feel heard, it’s like someone putting aloe on sunburn or taking a shower after a long day at work. Being listened to starts the healing process and provides relief. An example of this secret sauce in action is from Steve Holsinger, who is currently doing an internship through Capital Seminary with TFC Global. Steve regularly contacts two men who he met while being present at the Frystown Flying J truck stop. The common theme these men tell Steve is, “I am surprised you called me back. Usually people don’t care enough to call me back”. This is a sad reality.
We are not meant to go through life alone. God did not design us to live in isolation. We all know relationships are the best and the worst, the most life-giving and the most life-sucking reality we all live in. So why is it so hard to find people who will just be with you, fully present with you and listen? The unfortunate truth is we all have developed short attention spans. We all tend to look directly in front of us at the next thing. We think we can multi-task and not have it affect us. We tend to bury our faces in devices and not look up long enough to even notice those around
us who need that listening presence. I can’t tell you how many times I have been to the hospital or had someone ask to talk and I just sit with them and listen. When they are done talking, they usually let out a big exhale, sit back, look up and say “thank you, I feel so much better”. I haven’t said a word, attempted to diagnose or respond at all. I just sat there, focused on them, and gave them undivided attention. This is how TFC Global chaplains are trained. It’s our secret sauce.
A good example of this is from one of TFC’s chaplains, Howard Goodwin. Howard serves in a trucking company in York Pa. He has served in different forms of ministry, been a police officer, and now drives a truck in addition to being a part-time chaplain. He has experienced a lot of hurt in life and uses those experiences in addition to the chaplain training to give people what he knows they need and what wasn’t adequately given to him. The people Howard serves love him. He has a presence that brings calm and security in chaos. The stories he can tell from his experience as a police officer are entertaining that’s for sure, but his presence makes a big difference. He will share with me how employees where he serves will see him at the store or gas station and come over to say hi and continue talking with him about ongoing issues in their life. This stuff is not a nuisance to Howard at all. He does not lead a rushed life. Howard is not boring, but what I am saying is people know they matter to him. When someone wants to talk to Howard, they get his attention. It is a gift we all need to learn.
The trucking demographic is a different breed and the lives they tend to lead don’t allow for developing deep, mutually-beneficial, in-person, relationships. That’s why the CCN (Corporate Chaplains Network) at TFC Global is whipping up a fresh batch of our secret sauce that makes TFC Global chaplains so effective. We see the trucking community and are constantly working and asking God to show us ways to reach that community.
If you are a driver and want to talk to a chaplain, contact us at www.TFCGlobal.org. If you know of a trucking company that needs the ministry of presence a trained TFC Global chaplain can provide, please contact me at email@example.com or call 717-426-9977. We want our sauce to be shared with everyone.
That philosophy may not work for the Kentucky Fried Chicken’s 12-herbs-and-spices secret recipe, but we are not selling chicken. Eternity hangs in the balance for everyone, so we want this sauce smothered everywhere we can. Want a taste? Contact TFC Global today.