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By Dean Schrock

Every pastor who is looking to become a more effective minister in their community should consider becoming a chaplain to a local company to better understand the culture and environment of the workplace. Over four years ago, I started working with an organization called Marketplace Chaplains. This organizations provides chaplaincy care to the employees of given companies. In a sense, it is a means of providing pastoral care for those who have no home church. Often I am told by employees that this is such a needed and appreciated benefit their company provides.

Marketplace Chaplains is the largest network of chaplains in America. Chaplains provide exceptional spiritual support 24/7, 365 days a year to the employees of the companies we serve. As the chaplain of KeHE Distributors, a food distribution center, and of Barnhart Crane and Rigging, I minister to more than 150 people and their families in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington, area. Often I have been asked to visit employees’ loved ones in the hospital or conduct the memorial service of a loved one. Since Marketplace Chaplains works nationally as a team, I was able to minister to a man here in Washington after a heart attack because his son was an employee in one of the companies we partner with in Dallas, Texas. I provided a listening, caring presence to a family in the midst of a major life-altering event. I was told, “We were so glad you were here.”

Dean Schrock on the left

Dean Schrock (on left) on the job as a chaplain.

Weekly I visit worksites, building friendships and trusted relationships with the employees. I have talked with people about marital issues, financial issues, life’s frustrations, work frustrations, the joys of becoming a parent to parenting, and even disappointments they may have experienced from God and the church. These visits are typically brief, but the longevity of the relationship leads to very personal discussions.

One time I was confronted by several employees. They said, “Chaplain, you need to speak with Joe. He’s really upset today.”

When I met up with him, Joe told me up front, “Chap, I don’t want to talk today!”

The next week Joe stated, “I am angry at God for giving my brother a debilitating disease.”

Having known Joe for several years, I was acquainted with the story so I asked him (knowing the answer): “Did you not pray for your brother’s salvation? Maybe God will use this disease for your brother to realize his need for Christ.”

Weeks later Joe shared with me that his brother is now routinely going with him to church. Together we are praying for his brother’s salvation and healing.

Aside from the personal relationships built with business owners, managers, and employees in the community, I appreciate the comradery between other pastor/chaplains in the community. We train together, pray together, and support one another working as a team to see the Kingdom grow in our community. A couple of mottos of chaplaincy are: “It’s not about me and do no harm.” I believe as I invest in others and this world sees the love of Jesus in me, He will bring the increase.

A story from the past that encourages me is that of Charles Finney. It is said that when he walked into an industrial company, the presence of Christ in Him so permeated the company that the employees took a break from work, and many in the plant were saved that day. I pray for that experience. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV).

If you are interested in a chaplain position near you, contact your Regional Executive Director.

Dean_authorbox-webDean Schrock is the lead pastor of Peninsula Open Bible Church in Portland, Oregon. He also serves as a chaplain for Marketplace Chaplains, the Chaplain Coordinator at Clark County Sheriff’s Office, and a volunteer chaplain for County-Wide Chaplaincy, serving the Fire and Police of Clark County, Washington. Dean has been married to his beautiful wife, Ruth, for 30 years.

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