July 23, 2018

Mission and History

Our Mission

Formed in 2018 out of the success of the Transforming Chaplaincy Project, the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab brings chaplaincy leaders, theological educators, clinical educators, and social scientists into a research-based conversation about the state of chaplaincy and spiritual care. Driving our work are questions about how, in the midst of changes in the American religious landscape, spiritual caregivers can do their best work. We aim to improve how chaplains are trained, how they work with diverse individuals (including those with no religious or spiritual backgrounds), and how chaplaincy and spiritual care coheres as a professional field. We’ve produced a case statement on spiritual care today to help start a conversation on how to address spiritual needs most effectively.

Our Principles

All are welcome. Spiritual needs and struggles are not limited to any one group. The Chaplaincy Innovation Lab excludes none. We foster care provision that is responsive to all individuals, regardless of present or past spiritual or religious affiliation (including none), race, nationality, sexual orientation, ability, and gender identity.

Research-driven. The best spiritual care offers interpersonal support from an empirical basis and best practices. The Lab gathers, fosters and shares rigorous academic research about the provision of spiritual care in a range of settings. We actively investigate how spiritual care provision is shaped by the people it is offered to and the institutions within which it is provided.

We respect differences. Chaplaincy does not seek to proselytize, convert, or otherwise convince others of one’s own religious or spiritual convictions. Chaplaincy practice effective in one cultural context may be ineffective or harmful in another. We support a professional field cognizant and responsive to cultural and individual differences in all forms.