If you could spend eight to ten million dollars a year of someone else’s money to touch the lives of several hundred thousand hurting individuals (and possibly their families) with the love of Christ, how would you do it and what might the results be? Putting chaplains in locations where hurting people are congregated might be a choice worth considering.
When I evaluate on a purely theoretical numbers basis the potential impact of 123 CRC chaplains working in crisis populations throughout the U.S., Canada, and some oversees (military); the possibilities are somewhat revealing.
Let’s assume that each of these chaplains — most of whom work full time and whose paycheck, insurances, office costs, employer taxes, uniforms, etc. are all paid for by an institution or agency other than our denomination — on average touched the lives of ten individuals in each working day. This is not an unrealistic assumption. That would mean over 300,000 lives were touched with the love of Christ at a critical juncture in their life each year. If only 1% of these were moved to explore, or claim, or reclaim a faith in Christ because of this; it would mean over 3000 lives significantly impacted, and many others likely moved a step in that direction.
It is risky, to say the least, to try to quantify or evaluate ministry efforts on the basis of dollars or numbers (though scripture does not avoid quantifying growth in the book of Acts and elsewhere). This speculation does lead me to evaluate, however, the actual and relatively small cost of overseeing this ministry ($217,000) against the potential effect — 72 cents per individual touched each day and $72 for each person potentially moved to a faith or deeper faith in Christ — and conclude that we might be getting a lot of bang for a very small buck. Add to this the impact that these chaplains have on the overall culture, philosophy, and policies of the institutions and agencies in which they work, and the impact is even greater. This encourages me to pray harder for our chaplains and for the influence that they have in this world.
What are your thoughts about investing in chaplains and their potential to change lives?