In the broadest sense, a chaplain refers to those who are assigned to care and provide ministry for a specific group of people. Military and hospital chaplains, for example, have clearly defined groups who come under their care and ministry.
In local church ministry, we don’t typically use the term “chaplain,” though there are many pastoral roles that are congruent with chaplaincy. In fact, most of the pastoral care and concern for church members are chaplain-like functions.
Without a doubt, pastors should minister to church members. The danger is when pastors do little other than minister to the needs of church members, and the leadership of the church is neither equipping others nor leading the congregation to reach those who do not have a church home. In essence, the pastor is becoming a chaplain. Here are ten warning signs that such a process is likely taking place. Read more
Among the factors that accounts for the present decline of the Continuing Anglican jurisdictions in North America is that most of their churches never became anything more than domestic chaplaincies--groups of households which shared a common nostalgia for the Episcopal Church of the past, a preference for a High Church style of worship, and a sentimental attachment to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the 1940 Hymnal and to whom a priest served as a domestic chaplain. As this segment of the population, which was never very large, dwindled, they dwindled with it.