Professional Dissertations DMin

Date of Award


Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

James Wibberding

Second Advisor

Michael R. Cauley

Third Advisor

Richard Sylvester



Responsibilities of chaplain services at Feather River Hospital (FRH) primarily include completing its mission of whole-person care by providing spiritual and emotional support to the patients and staff. However, the challenge of meeting this goal historically is due to insufficient funding to hire adequate staff chaplains to provide this service. Per conversation with fellow chaplains of other hospitals, this same staffing challenge in meeting the spiritual and emotional component of whole-person care is consistent. However, there is a potential solution. Staff and community volunteers with a spiritual bent have shown interest in filling this gap of spiritual and emotional support, but proper training is essential to creating a consistent quality of care.


A four-hour Mission Ambassador Training (MAT) was created and presented on three separate occasions, along with two abbreviated MATs for CNAs, between December 2014 and February 2015, for the FRH staff and volunteers. Also, a 30-minute Mission Ambassador Support Group (MASG) was created and implemented monthly from January 2015 through June 2015. The purpose was missional. The training included the learning components of linking theory to practice, fostering both internal and external spiritual and emotional awareness, providing resources, and building a collaborative team with chaplain services. It taught the competencies of roles and responsibilities of a Mission Ambassador volunteer (MA), historical context for spiritual and emotional support in a healthcare environment, recognition and support of spiritual and emotional issues, communication skills, bereavement, and teamwork. The project was evaluated for its diversity in staff participation, and by its participants and the community, using the quarterly National Research Corporation (NRC) survey, Gallup survey, Spiritual Climate survey, FRH standardized program evaluation survey, and the post-MAT support group attendees to determine the effectiveness of both the training and implementation on the staff, patients, and training participants.


Twenty-two students enrolled in MAT: 8 from chaplain services and 14 from a variety of departments. Results from the NRC, Spiritual Climate, and Gallup were inconclusive. Education and Training Program Evaluation respondents and MAT Support Group surveys indicated the training was beneficial. MASG, on the other hand, was not deemed a success due to pragmatic reasons.


This project manuscript establishes that an efficient, accessible, competency-based, and mission-focused MAT for non-chaplain and chaplain volunteers may increase the support of the mission of FRH as well as patient satisfaction. This outcome suggests that extensive employment of this training curriculum could have positive missional impact on the entire Adventist Health organization. It may also have implications for other forms of non-chaplain and volunteer chaplain education.

Subject Area

Spiritual care (Medical care); Chaplains--California; Volunteers--Training of; Feather River Hospital

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.


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