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Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Life

Augustana College welcomes applications and nominations for the position of Campus Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Life. For full consideration for this position, materials should be received by March 6, 2020.

Augustana's next Campus Chaplain will be called to lead the campus community in creative and faithful worship of God; to strategically promote spiritual health, wholeness and growth among a diverse and changing student body; and to steward and represent the ELCA church-relatedness of the college. This person will lead Augustana's vibrant campus ministries program, which is a Reconciling in Christ ministry, welcoming students and educators of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, races, colors, creeds, ethnic backgrounds and levels of ability to participate fully in its ministry. The Campus Chaplain will report both to the President and to the Vice President and Dean of Student Life. This person will serve as pastor to the entire campus community, with particular strategic focus on integrating spiritual wellness and character formation into the college's focus on student holistic well-being.

Our mission statement: "Augustana College, deeply rooted in the liberal arts and sciences and an inclusive expression of Lutheran higher education, is committed to offering a challenging education that develops the qualities of mind, spirit and body necessary for students to discern their life's calling of leadership and service in a diverse and changing world."

We are a private, selective, residential college with an enrollment of 2,600 students. Our current cohort of students includes 29% first-generation students, 23% Pell Grant recipients, 21% students of color and 9% international students. Our beautiful, residential 115-acre campus is located in Rock Island, Illinois, part of the diverse Quad-Cities metropolitan area (population 400,000) along the Mississippi River, 165 miles west of Chicago. Augustana awards the Bachelor of Arts in about 90 majors and related academic programs, including religion, interreligious leadership and a pre-seminary program. We are a community rooted in the Swedish Lutheran immigrant experience and devoted to the inclusion and belonging of all; we seek a Campus Chaplain who will make special efforts to support and/or represent underrepresented students.

The college is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; it values and promotes the common calling of the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU). The mission and institutional vocation of Augustana are guided by our Lutheran identity as expressed in Rooted and Open: The Common Calling of NECU, as well as in Augustana's Five Faith Commitments — commitments to interfaith engagement, social justice, spiritual exploration, the reasoned examination of faith and vocational discernment. The Campus Chaplain will join the President of the College, the Director of the Presidential Center for Faith and Learning, and the Dean of Student's core leadership team, in lifting up and living out these commitments.

Key leadership opportunities

1. Build on the strength of our current campus ministry programs, while innovating to seek broader engagement with our diverse and changing student body.

Augustana's current and past campus chaplains have built dynamic campus ministry services and programs that serve students seeking spiritual support and development. Self-selecting students and educators currently gather for Sunday Eucharist services, which include a blend of traditional and praise music; for short "Augie Reflections" by senior students on Monday mornings; and for contemplative Wednesday evening chapel services, which are preceded by Bible study and often followed by fellowship. A dedicated Campus Ministries Student Leadership Team assists the Chaplain in planning and leading these services, together with the Director of Chapel Music. The team also leads special Christmas celebrations, Homecoming gatherings and an Ascension Day service. The Chaplain also leads an invocation and/or meditation at the college's opening convocation, Baccalaureate, graduation, etc. An additional crucial presence is leading the college's response to national and international tragedies, such as hate crimes and religious violence.

Students who participate in these initiatives find them to be inclusive, empowering, spiritually challenging and life-giving. Still, Augustana faces the same challenges in broadening its reach as do other church-related colleges. The percentage of Lutheran students has decreased in the last 65 years from more than half of the student body to about 12%. Roman Catholic students (who have additional opportunities for worship) comprise the largest percentage of our students — about 30%. The fastest-growing self-reported religious identity among our students is "none" (nonaffiliated, none of the above). Given these demographic shifts, the number of students participating in Christian services, especially Sunday Eucharist, has decreased noticeably over the past several decades.

We feel called to continue to cultivate a diverse worshipping community. In additional to Hillel and our Muslim Student Association, there are a number of student Christian groups who meet on campus, including Augie Catholic, Damascus Road, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and Young Life. Students sometimes perceive Campus Ministries as another option in this crowded "marketplace" rather than an overarching, ecumenical ministry that includes and supports the others. As with the ELCA church as a whole, which is 96% white, Augustana services that attract the most Lutheran students are sometimes the least racially diverse. Many Augustana students long for a diverse religious community that more fully embodies the beloved community.

Given both our current gifts and these realities, we seek a dynamic leader and creative innovator to lead the Campus Ministries office in extending its reach and meeting today's emerging adults where they are. This may mean reorganizing or formalizing relationships among various student Christian groups, strengthening Augustana's longtime commitment to interfaith cooperation, or experimenting with the time and shape of worship. The incoming Chaplain will need to develop additional ways to actively connect with our diverse student body outside of traditional services and programs, to help all our students develop deeper spirituality and a richer appreciation for fundamental questions about human existence. The willingness to innovate, experiment and increase visibility is critical to increasing engagement. Following the Spirit in delivering a dynamic, inclusive ministry inside and outside of worship is expected to take most of the incoming Chaplain's time.

2. Integrate spirituality into Augustana's focus on wellness and student well-being.

Augustana has long been called to holistic education in the development of students' minds, bodies and spirits. In the past several years, Augustana has hired an inaugural Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, who has focused on racial healing. We have also called an inaugural Director of Student Well-Being, who is part of the Director of Student Life's core team. With the groundbreaking of the Lindberg Center for Health and Human Performance, which will include a beautiful multi-use, multi-faith meditation room, Augustana is taking innovative approaches to the holistic wellness of our students, which we expect to be at the center of our identity as a college for decades to come.

The Chaplain will be an invaluable collaborator within the Dean of Student Life team and a leader in supporting spiritual health. This will continue to entail providing pastoral care and, on occasion, short-term counseling to students, in partnership with the college's Counseling Services. Beyond meeting one-on-one with students about issues concerning grief, homesickness, social anxiety, Christian faithfulness, vocational discernment, etc., the incoming Chaplain will work together with the Student Life team to create safe and challenging spaces for students to grow in spirit and develop active, reflective, purposeful and resilient spiritual lives.

3. Carefully steward a large budget to deepen and develop student programing around the Five Faith Commitments of Augustana College.

The Five Faith Commitments has become a foundational document at Augustana. The Commitments are an enduring and signature accomplishment of our outgoing campus Chaplain, who was able to identify pillars of Augustana's relationship to its church that have remained constant since its founding in 1860. More recently, the document has been integrated into the college's mission, purpose and goals; the identity of Augustana revolves around these commitments. The campus Chaplain should be a chief spokesperson who, with the President of the College and the Director of the Presidential Center for Faith and Learning, facilitates implementation of these commitments across the intersection of academics and student life. Past and present programming include the following:

Interfaith Engagement: The Chaplain leads the Faith Zone Interfaith Ally training for students, faculty, administrators and staff; works with area faith leaders to serve on interfaith panels and host celebrations; incorporates multiple faith traditions into the Baccalaureate service; collaborates with the religion department in cultivating relationships with Interfaith Youth Core and arranging internships for Interreligious Leadership students.

Social Justice: We seek a Chaplain well positioned to lead alongside the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and others on campus, in working toward racial healing and social justice, and otherwise speaking prophetically to issues of equity, inclusion and diversity. Currently, the Chaplain coordinates service at The Café on Vine in Davenport, Iowa, with the Campus Ministries Student Leadership team; leads an annual spring break service trip to Appalachia; and serves as consultant for the President's Cabinet in matters of equity and justice.

Spiritual Exploration: The Chaplain supervises three employees of Campus Ministries (Executive Secretary, Director of Chapel Music, Keyboardist/Handbell Choir Director); selects and supervises a Campus Ministries Student Leadership Team each year; plans and leads weekly worship; leads an occasional pilgrimage to the Taizé Community in France; organizes and leads two off-campus weekend retreats per year; hosts events such as "Theology on Tap" and a reflective/social event for graduating seniors, etc.

Reasoned Examination: Based on qualifications and interest, the Chaplain may teach one or more sections yearly of the campus-wide religion requirement, called "Reasoned Examination of Faith"; offer Bible studies and other studies to faculty, staff, administration and students; serve as a resource for the informed investigation of lived religious life among students and educators.

Vocational Discernment: In collaboration with the Presidential Center for Faith and Learning and with CORE (Careers, Opportunities, Research, Exploration), the Chaplain leads students in vocational reflection, especially in relation to ELCA service year opportunities; leads occasional retreats around the theme of calling; spiritually supports and challenges students as they reflect on meaningful and purposeful living; serves as a resource for students exploring lay and ordained ministry together with the pre-seminary program, etc.

The new campus Chaplain will be invited to retain and build on any of these initiatives (for example, around interfaith programming) while helping us grow in new and needed ways (for example, around issues of radical inclusion and social justice).

4. Nurture and promote the Lutheran mission and institutional vocation of the college.

Augustana does not mark the "Lutheranness" of the college by way of a certain percentage of faculty members, board members or students who affiliate with a Lutheran church. Rather, we cherish the Lutheran institutional identity and institutional calling, which can be advanced by educators and administrators from various and no faith traditions.

Because the "Lutheranness" of the college is not automatically passed down to a critical mass of Lutherans here, we must teach and nurture our church-relatedness in intentional ways. We thus seek a Chaplain well-versed in Lutheran theology and church-related higher education who will be an educator of other educators about the values of Lutheran higher education. We hope our new Chaplain will, in time, become a central storyteller of the college — specifically how the history of the college, and those who made that history, provide meaning and illustration to the college's church-related mission today. Even more important than being aware of the history of Augustana, the old Augustana synod and American Lutheran higher education, the Chaplain must be able to discern and help others discern what a living God is now calling a diverse Augustana community to do and be.

The Chaplain will be asked to consult with the President's Cabinet in matters of institutional calling and values, to help lead the Board of Trustees in understanding and carrying out the Lutheran mission of the college, to help teach incoming faculty members what our Lutheran identity means, and otherwise become a chief steward of our Lutheran institutional identity and institutional calling. This person should be an active participant in the colleague group of Chaplains at ELCA Colleges and Universities — a group that meets once a year for several days and maintains an active listserv for sharing program ideas and mutual support.

The Chaplain should be a pastor to the President of the College, serving as a sounding board and advisor as the President makes difficult decisions in a manner consistent with the values of the institution.

Desired attributes

A SPIRIT-LED AND JOYFUL CHRISTIAN who has a passion for communicating the good news of God's work in Jesus to emerging adults in a college setting, who leads by example, and for whom honesty, integrity, justice and faith matter in both work and personal life.

A STUDENT-CENTERED PASTOR who understands the needs and characteristics of "Generation Z" and engages our students where they are. 

AN INNOVATIVE AND COLLABORATIVE PROFESSIONAL who is excited about program creation to creatively meet and challenge the diverse and changing spiritual needs of students.

A STRONG ADVOCATE FOR DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION who brings experience and knowledge to advance Augustana's commitment to interfaith cooperation and to building community across lines of religious, racial, gender, sexuality and other differences.

A PUBLIC INTELLECTUAL with noteworthy theological training, capable of leading students and educators in informed conversations about matters of ultimate concern.

Education and experience

• A Minister of Word and Sacrament in good standing with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

• An M.Div. with at least 3-5 years of ministry experience is required; additional training and experience is valued.

Application and nominations/inquiries

Interested applicants should go to the Employment section of the Augustana website and click on "Open positions." Submit a cover letter, résumé or curriculum vitae, a sample sermon (either audio/video recorded or manuscript) and a one-page Vision Statement for the Vocation of College Chaplaincy by March 6, 2020.

Nominations and inquiries can be addressed to the co-chairs of the search committee:

Dr. Wes Brooks, Vice President and Dean of Student Life (

Dr. Jason Mahn, Professor of Religion and Director of the Presidential Center for Faith and Learning (


Augustana College is an equal opportunity employer. It is Augustana College's intent and policy to provide equal opportunity to all qualified employees and applicants without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, age, national origin, disability and any other category protected by federal, state or local law. Women and underrepresented applicants are strongly encouraged to apply.

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