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Who Needs a Chaplain?

Terry Erickson serves as a chaplain at Coyle Carpet–a role he’s in because of his own calling and gifts as well as the great need for chaplains in the workplace.

The Need

As Terry has ministered to employees at Coyle Carpet, he’s realized that many people don’t have a pastor in their life–and that at some point, they’ll need one. He’s been able to fill that role for those at Coyle Carpet by officiating weddings and funerals.

Additionally, Terry has observed, “a lot of the folks really just don’t have friends to process life with, and by being there on a regular basis, I’m able to process with them, and then moments where there’s a crisis, I’m able to be involved.”

The Privilege

Employees were suspicious of Terry at first, but as he has built trust with them, and as issues have come up, the employees now all welcome his presence. In fact, they sometimes even ask him to meet with their family members who are going through difficult circumstances.

As a corporate chaplain, he’s invited in to employees’ lives–their deep joys and their deep pain–in a way few other people are. It’s a role that gives him deep purpose and deep joy, as he gets to see God use him to bring hope and healing to individuals in very personal ways.

Steve Cook

This video is made possible by the generous partnership of Bryan Feller (ChaplainsInc.com and bryanfellerassociates.com), a client of Corporate Chaplaincy Consulting (CorpChaps.Com).

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Real Help for Real Businesses

Mike Coyle, owner of Coyle Carpet and a client of Capital Chaplains, is thankful for the many gifts corporate chaplaincy has brought to his business.

A Crisis, a Corporate Chaplain, and Content Employees

Mike initially asked me for help when he had an employee in crisis. Pleased with the results of that situation, Mike rolled out the program to the whole staff. “It’s difficult enough to run a business,” Mike says. “We’d like to be able to help our employees through some of the crises, and we can do it now with the corporate chaplaincy.”

While some employees had initial reservations, Mike explains that after seeing the chaplaincy program in action, 95 percent of his employees are now using the program. Their corporate chaplain, Terry, has even performed weddings for employees. Through crises, deaths, and marriages, Terry has been there for employees–which makes them feel cared for, and Mike, a happy business owner.

Steve Cook

This video is made possible by the generous partnership of Bryan Feller (ChaplainsInc.com and bryanfellerassociates.com), a client of Corporate Chaplaincy Consulting (CorpChaps.Com).

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The Difference Relationships Make

Diane Hanson, former Development Director with Capital Chaplains and a business owner herself, loved her time as a corporate chaplain and the ways she was able to build real relationships with employees at the businesses she served.

Diane has great insight into people–an important skill for a chaplain. She understands that, in order to get through life, most people put up walls. Because corporate chaplaincy allowed her to consistently be present at workplaces, she was able to build relationships and trust with individuals–which meant that, when crises came, they knew she was someone whom they could share freely with and find help and compassion.

Steve Cook

This video is made possible by the generous partnership of Bryan Feller (ChaplainsInc.com and bryanfellerassociates.com), a client of Corporate Chaplaincy Consulting (CorpChaps.Com).

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What’s the Power of a Good Story?

A good story is powerful. Stories help us connect to a person and relate to their life.

I could research the track record of corporate chaplaincy for weeks, but it’s the stories I hear–and get to be part of myself–about the positive difference corporate chaplains make in people’s lives that make me really take notice and get excited.

A good story is what we remember when all the statistics get jumbled in our minds (was it 34 percent or 43 percent?). Numbers are easy to forget.

But stories are about people, not numbers.

Chaplains can’t (and won’t) tell you too much about how they help individual employees. That’s a good thing, because then you know that you can trust them with the issues in your own life. You know it’s safe. At the same time, it makes it difficult. How is it possible for companies considering chaplaincy to truly understand the important role chaplains have played in people’s lives? How can they see how having a chaplain can truly be just what an employee needs to turn things around and get back on track?

Employees whose lives have been touched know how important the chaplaincy service is, but everyone else just has to trust? Maybe not. Maybe, the power of a story will help the rest of us understand.

When you have employees who want to share, employees who know how their lives have been touched, and they are hoping to use their experiences to reach others. They are willing to tell their stories so that the rest of us on the outside can better understand.

Recently, the weekly blogs have featured video interviews. For the next several weeks, they will continue to feature real people telling their stories. They may not share all the personal details of everything they went through, but you will see people coming forward saying:

My life has been touched, and now I’m on the other side of my crisis, thanks to my corporate chaplain.

What’s the power of a story? When we can relate, when we can see ourselves, our friends, or our employees in the story that we are hearing, then we can understand, and maybe we don’t feel quite so alone.

This week, Nou Her has chose to share her story about when life got just a bit too chaotic.

Ever been there? Ever had one of your employees there? How might a corporate chaplain have helped?


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A Senior Leader Shares Her Perspective on Workplace Chaplaincy:

In this week’s featured video, Karon Morton, Vice President and Director of
Operations at InterVarsity’s National Service Center in Madison, Wisconsin,
discusses the tragedy that initiated the launch of a Chaplain Assistance Program
(CAP) at InterVarsity and, as a manager, the benefits that she has seen since the
implementation of the program.

After the tragedy, Morton saw “such a pervasive effect on our community; most
of us as managers didn’t feel that we had either the capacity or the expertise to
help people walk through and deal with their thoughts and their feelings and their

On a day to day basis, Morton acknowledges, “When you have a person in crisis,
you both want to care for the person, but you also have to make up for the fact
that they’re not being productive. They may be out for an extended period of
time, or there may be fallout from their inability to perform their job function.”

Like many managers, Morton believes that people are the most important asset
in the organization, and they need to be cared for as such.

Watch this video to see why Morton feels that having a corporate chaplain come
alongside employees not only helps managers to care for their employees, but
it also assures that managers are available to do their jobs with a higher level of
productivity so that the organization can continue to run smoothly.

Steve Cook



This video is made possible by the generous partnership of Bryan Feller
(ChaplainsInc.com and bryanfellerassociates.com), a client of Corporate
Chaplaincy Consulting (CorpChaps.Com).

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Caring for People in the Workplace and Improving the Bottom Line

The results of our chaplaincy work are in. Recent first hand testimonials from Capital Chaplains’ client owners, managers, and employees put real faces on the work we do.

In today’s pressure-packed business environment, it’s not just the economy people are stressing about. It’s the relentless pace of life that wears people down – leading to lower productivity, low morale, interpersonal conflicts, and high absenteeism. Feeling overwhelmed has become the new “normal” for most Americans, and it is taking its toll in the workplace.

Most people have heard about chaplains in the military and in hospitals. Capital Chaplains brings this same kind of personal care to corporations. Companies throughout Madison and South Central Wisconsin are discovering what companies around the country have been experiencing for years: offering a chaplain who is available to serve employees as part of an employee benefits package allows employers the opportunity to demonstrate that they care for their employees while helping their bottom line.

Having a chaplain on site weekly, and available by phone 24/7/365 in case of an emergency, crisis, or other need, supports business owners and employees while reducing employee turnover. Having the chaplain work through a crisis with an employee allows supervisors and fellow employees the chance to stay focused on their jobs during the work day, which helps keep the company running smoothly. With its personal, on site component, companies offering chaplain programs report much higher usage rates than those using traditional EAPs, simply because of the relational nature of corporate chaplaincy.

Steve Cook




This video is made possible by the generous partnership of Bryan Feller (ChaplainsInc.com and bryanfellerassociates.com) a client of Corporate Chaplaincy Consulting (CorpChaps.Com).


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Why would a business invest in Chaplains in the workplace?

Written by Diane Hanson, Development Director for Capital Chaplains and owner of “Thinking In Sync”, a revenue development consulting firm.

When someone hears of workplace chaplains, they may have a lot of things come to mind.  I’m guessing most would think, “Oh, that’s nice.”  Aside from that, they may not give it a lot of thought.  If a business owner heard of it, they may also see the benefits of having someone on hand for staff to talk with about their problems, but they’d also see it as an expense.

If I was to tell them that there is actually a return on their investment, they might give it more consideration.

Well – how does a potential of 20:1 ROI sound?  Here is just one example – think for a moment how much it costs to replace an employee.  If you have a fairly high turnover rate, this is something you can relate to.  Turnover cost can range between 50-150% of an employee’s annual salary.  Chaplain Assistance Programs (CAP) helps keep employees happy and therefore, you have less turnover.  Employees who work for a company that offers a CAP is often willing to work harder and are more productive and loyal simply because they respect that the company really cares about them as a human being.

The other day I was talking with a business woman who had just heard about workplace chaplains.  She said, “Wow, companies really offer this for their employees?  That is really awesome.  A company that would be willing to invest in their employees like that are quite admirable.”  She has been in the business world for many years and agrees that we are on to something.  She said she believes caring for employees is the root of every success.

Each of us experience personal problems from time to time.  We will also all face a crisis, whether we want to or not.  We deal with these challenges; then go to work.  Guess what?  It follows us.  When it follows us, it does affect how well we do our job and can also affect others we work with.

I’ve also heard that many managers really appreciate the assistance and expertise of a chaplain.  They often do not have the time or knowledge as to how to help an employee with their problems.  In fact, 50% of a managers time can be spent dealing with employee issues – many of them personal.  They are happy to have a chaplain deal with these issues so they can get back to work.  This all provides greater productivity.

As a business leader, you have been given much – and much is expected.  Providing a foundation for your employees and company to build on is the key to overall success.


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I know chaplaincy is the missing link in business

I know that Corporate Chaplaincy delivers the missing link in business.

I’ve been dealing with people in many capacities in my career and personal life – mostly in marketing and ministries.  Time and time again I’ve learned just how much someone’s personal situation or outlook can greatly impact their job and how well they do it.

I’m Diane Hanson, Development Director with Capital Chaplains and the owner of my own company, Thinking In Sync, a revenue development consulting business.

Most of the 25 years of my career I’ve worked either IN a sales capacity, or in one of consulting or coaching individuals who have an effect on the companies’ sales – either directly or indirectly.  When I’ve “broken through the wall” of individuals, I learn they almost ALL have something they are struggling with.  I also knew that I could try my hardest to train or coach them to be better at their jobs or sell more, but what was really needed was a way to care for their spirit.  If their spirit was depleted or if they were experiencing personal problems (and believe me, there are many), they needed to be whole before they could be truly productive.

Through coaching, I’d estimate that about 75% of their challenges in their positions is directly related to whatever personal issues they bring to work with them.  They hide behind their exterior business clothes or uniforms and polished shoes yet the carry their personal baggage with them everywhere they go.   Anything from domestic abuse at home (that carries across all ethnic, cultural and income levels) to learning they have cancer to depression and alcoholism.  Just because they look good on the outside, does not mean they do not need help on the inside.  I never thought I’d be the type to use the analogy of a car, but it’s one everyone can relate to:  it might look good on the outside, but if you do not take care of its foundation and structure and get an oil change and tune up once in a while, you can’t expect it to keep going.  It’s really that simple.

When I learned about chaplains in the workplace, I was thinking “Eureka!  FINALLY, someone is getting it!”  I really admired what Steve Cook started and really respected the businesses that took the initiative and had the courage to try something new in their companies.  I recommend all business owners consider corporate chaplains for their companies so they can “cover the core” of their employees so the foundation is ready for them to accomplish their goals.

To make a long story short, Steve and I connected and have partnered with our dual mission.   We are now both on fire for the very special opportunity to provide not only chaplaincy care for the employees so they can be more productive at work, but to help businesses succeed by first taking care of their most obvious assets – their employees.

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What are you good at?

What are you good at? What comes so naturally to you that you know that you were just made to do it?

We are all gifted with unique strengths. Sometimes we are able to see the strengths and weaknesses in ourselves from a young age, finding as children that we are the ones our friends turn to when they need to talk, or noticing that we are the ones who always seem to be making peace among our siblings. In other cases, it can take us well into adulthood before we find that “perfect fit” where we feel like we are doing what we were made to do, if we find it at all.

There are vocational tests in career centers, churches, colleges, and anywhere else you find people trying to figure out how they can best use their gifts and skills to make this world a better place, and maybe find a way to pay the bills in the process.

Just knowing what you’re good at is only part of the equation. Knowing how to take those gifts and apply them is a key component where many people get stuck. In some cases, people find their passion and are determined to start a business doing what they love, only to find out that they have no idea how to run a business.

Do you have the gift of leadership? Are you a team builder? Do you have the gifts of discernment and mercy? Are you a care pastor who has no interest in business? Do you feel that your gifts and life experiences have prepared you to be a chaplain?

How can you know if chaplaincy is right for you?

What if you feel that those in the workplace would benefit greatly from having a chaplain there to walk alongside them, and you feel called to help, but you don’t feel that your gifts would make you a good workplace chaplain? Figuring out what your strengths are is the first step in finding out how your gifts can be applied to corporate chaplaincy.

Are you a born listener, a born organizer, or both? Is there a workplace chaplaincy organization in your area? Do they need chaplains? Do they need a web developer? Do they need administrative assistance?

Figuring out your strengths, and figuring out how they apply to chaplaincy, may surprise you. Is there a group of chaplains who need someone with a business background to help them start a chaplaincy organization to serve employees in your community? Maybe you are a chaplain who is searching for a business person to work with?

Understanding your gifts is the first step in determining whether God has called you to focus on serving as a full time chaplain, split your time between serving as a chaplain and establishing a chaplaincy organization in your region, or work in another way to support corporate chaplains so they can work one on one with employees.

What are you good at, and how have you been called to serve? Do you know? How can you find out?


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Are you a chaplain?

“Are you a chaplain?” The question makes sense, and I get it a lot when people find out that I work with Capital Chaplains. The answer, however, is: No.

My name is Cindy, and most of my life has been spent in education. As a teacher and a writer, my job has been to communicate new ideas to people. When asked to write about corporate chaplaincy, it seemed like a good fit. Corporate chaplaincy is a new idea, and many people still haven’t heard about chaplains in the workplace.

When I tell people that I’m currently writing about education or bullying, they tend to get an idea in their minds of what that is, and we move on, but people have questions about corporate chaplaincy.

To be honest, three years ago, when I first started writing about chaplaincy, I had more questions than answers. I had to devote far more time than usual to researching articles, and then I would be intrigued by yet another aspect of chaplains in the workplace that I didn’t yet have information about or hadn’t even known to research.

I would say that the articles and details that I have read about corporate chaplaincy have piqued my interest into the field, but talking with the chaplains, interviewing them, getting to know them, hearing about what they do: that has affected me more.

With confidentiality at a premium, there is only so much I could know about the true impact the chaplains were making on the lives of those they worked with. For a long time, it was all theory to me. It was all research articles, vague stories, and common sense. Then some employees wanted to share their personal experiences working with a chaplain, and I heard another side.

As a teacher, I had seen the personal lives of my students affect their ability to focus and function. I could relate to the managers who saw the personal lives of their employees affecting their work. You want to get to know those you spend your days with; you want to be there for someone who is hurting, but you also need to do your job and not let down everyone else who is counting on you (whether it be students, employees, or clients).

No one wants to see someone else going through a difficult time, but we don’t always know what to do to help, how to balance all the pulls on our time, and how to be there for everyone who needs us.

For me, with all the negative news that seems to get so much attention, it has been encouraging to spend time learning about, and getting to know, a group of people who love that it is their job to travel through the ups and downs of life with others, to listen, to problem solve, and to help people get back to a place where they can function, and even thrive, through the difficult times.


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