Rev. Dr. Kristen Leslie Helps Train Navy Chaplains

Naval Education and Training Command

By Cmdr. Michael Baker, Naval Chaplaincy School and Center Professional Development

The Naval Chaplaincy School and Center (NCSC) kicked off the fiscal year 2018 (FY18) Professional Development Training Course (PDTC) for the Navy Chaplain Corps and religious program specialist (RP) community with its first course convening Jan. 9-11 onboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

The topic for this year’s training is “A Strategy for the Delivery of Religious Ministry to None, Dones, and Millennials.”

“We are in a digital world and people rely heavily on electronics and social media to communicate,” said Senior Chief Religious Program Specialist Tameca Brown, NCSC senior enlisted leader. “Religious ministry teams have to be creative on how to reach the younger generation, known as millennials.”

The FY18 PDTC is designed to provide chaplains and RPs with the knowledge, skills and abilities to deliver meaningful religious ministry to millennials who are religious, have no religious preference, or who have disaffiliated from religion.

“The younger women and men of our sea services today search the digital frontier for companionship in their spiritual journey with God,” said Lt. Chris Terrell, assigned to Naval Air Station Pensacola. He felt the course provided an educational, horizon-broadening understanding about one of today’s ministry opportunities.

“What I perceive as our challenge is to learn new ways and social mediums to do what has always been our mission — effectively caring with Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen in their faith expressions, always supportive as they serve their nation and the world,” said Terrell.

Two subject matter experts with knowledge of the military community and how technology impacts society led the PDTC by translating their knowledge into usable military skillsets through an engaging and interactive learning setting.

The Rev. Dr. Kristen Leslie, professor of pastoral care and theology at Eden Theological Seminary, has more than 20 years of experience teaching and consulting with Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom chaplains on issues of pastoral care. Dr. Kate Ott, associate professor of Christian social ethics at Drew University Theological School, has written extensively on the role and impact of technology on ethical development.

The professors’ presentation helped chaplains and RPs as they work to enhance fleet and warfighter readiness in the context of this evolving ministry challenge.

“I have learned that some millennials are spiritual but don’t belong to a particular faith group,” said Brown. “We need to inventory our audience, understand their desires, and develop those network communications on how to reach them. Overall, we must be willing to embrace and accept change as it comes.”

The FY18 PDTC will be offered at 10 more fleet concentration area and overseas locations. Quota and location information is available online through the Catalog of Navy Training Courses and read ahead materials through NCSC’s page at

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