A college or university is one of the primary places in our society where public debate takes place, where opinions are shaped and expressed, and where values are formed and articulated. Presbyterian ministry in this context bears

"...a faithful witness to the truth, love, and justice of God, as expressed in Jesus Christ, in the higher education community in this country and around the world.
We are faithful to the truth of God when we enable persons to learn about the creation of God, about the mystery in the vast expanse of all that is. We are faithful to the love of God when we enable persons to understand the biblical story and the ministry, message, and mission of Jesus. We are faithful to the justice of God when we enable persons to learn responsibility for the world and all that dwells in it."
From On Being Faithful: the Continuing Mission of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Higher Education. 1994

College chaplains have a unique opportunity and responsibility to enhance the presence and the ministry of the church within higher education and to influence the future of the church and society with the message of the Gospel. The church calls forth talented and gifted people to serve in this challenging ministry.

Therefore, the Presbyterian College Chaplains Association offers these standards to promote a level of competency for campus ministry. They provide a performance gauge in the ministry and a means to foster a high degree of professional excellence. The living out of these standards bears witness to discipleship with Jesus and his pastoral and prophetic call.

1. Theological Competencies

A college chaplain is expected to:

have a basic understanding of the Reformed tradition in the areas of: Old and New Testament contents, Pastoral Theology and Care, Ethics, Worship, Spirituality and Prayer, Peace and Justice Issues, Church History, and Theology of Campus Ministry

pursue continuing theological reflection and education

have familiarity with other religious traditions and their practices.

2. Conceptualizing Skills

A. The pastoral skills of a college chaplain show abilities to:

communicate with and motivate people

articulate the faith through preaching, teaching, writing, and spiritual direction

initiate, deepen and terminate pastoral relationships

organize, facilitate, administer and share responsibility and decision making

effectively assess, intervene with and refer individuals

discern the needs of the campus community

call forth and coordinate the diverse gifts of the community for worship, spiritual nurture, service and mutual edification.

B. The conceptualizing skills of a college chaplain demonstrate an ability to articulate an understanding of:

the nature and purpose of higher education

the experience and perspective of the student, faculty, staff, and administrator in higher education

human growth and development (faith, moral, spiritual) and how psycho-social, developmental, cultural and ethical dynamics affect pastoral practices

the interrelatedness of the religious life of the institution, the chaplain, the church, and higher education.

C. The administrative skills of a college chaplain display abilities to:

develop and sustain effective professional relationships by being active in denominational and professional organizations of ministry

minister in an interfaith and multi-cultural environment

minister collaboratively

initiate and sustain relationship with other college or university professionals.

3. Personal Competencies

A person ministering on behalf of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is a believing, practicing Christian whose spiritual life is grounded in the Christian tradition and who:

articulates knowledge of and faith in the teaching of Christ and the church and shares this knowledge, gifts and talents

nourishes this faith and knowledge through membership in a worshiping community, prayer and personal spiritual direction, annual retreats and continuing education events

publicly adheres to the teachings of the Reformed tradition and the PCCA Code of Ethics

demonstrates a healthy integration of one's own sexuality

demonstrates a balanced life-style, showing concern for the emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual components of one's own life

manages stress, arbitrates conflict, accepts failure and ambiguity in morally and socially acceptable ways.

Developed from PMHE Standards, modified and approved by PCCA 2/03