Education to become an ordained chaplain

Ministry in Criminal Justice System

My name is Deborah Martinez Aragon, and I grew up in the west side of San Antonio, Texas. I am called to minister to people who have drug addiction and trauma and are incarcerated or recently released from the criminal justice system. As a student at the Christian Leaders Institute, I can get the education to become an ordained chaplain. I pray that taking this step will continue my journey to help transform people, change lives, restore, heal, and help set them free to walk in freedom every day. I grew up in a Catholic home, which was the foundation of my spiritual walk and my desire to help those who need encouragement to start anew.

Personal Growth with Drug Court and Methadone Program

I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Texas A&M and started working as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor in 2009. Mainly, I worked with individuals in detox, residential, and outpatient treatment. I grew up in the poorest part of town, which had a high rate of substance dependency, domestic violence, and recidivism. I saw classmates fall into addiction during high school and lost a few friends to gang-related murders. Even at an early age, I knew I wanted to work with this population.

After my years as a case manager for the drug courts, I realized that I needed to get back to where it started: counseling. In 2016, while working for a methadone clinic, I met my future business partner. She was very involved with her church. She invited me to her Pentecostal Church. It was new to me since I went to the Catholic Church my whole life. Soon after, I was baptized in the beautiful name of Jesus Christ. We saw the need was more significant than just medication management and an hour of counseling a month. Therefore, we needed God at the center of everything we did. We started our non-profit with our husbands. It provides counseling and freedom groups, and finally, two years ago, prison ministry.

Called to Minister to People with Drug Addiction

While building my relationship with God, I realized that through God’s ordained direction, I, too, could help people. I could encourage them to overcome their addiction with the understanding that God is loving, merciful, and forgiving. Many people think they have sinned too much or are so far gone that God couldn’t possibly love them and call them by name. Redemption is possible. I have helped my church by using my skills and ties to the community to obtain aid for the homeless and the addicted. I have prayed with and over people who would never otherwise step into a church or place of worship. It is my mission to spread the word and love of Jesus Christ.

Education to Become an Ordained Chaplain

My vision of chaplaincy is to be where I am needed, not only in a church building. The sick, elderly, incarcerated, and homeless need to hear that God loves them and understands their heart even when they do not speak the words of their need. In a hospital or prison setting, depression is real, and isolation is common. Having experience as a licensed counselor, I listen to understand, not just respond. People need freedom from the chains that bind them to the cycles of hopelessness and despair.

Participating in this Chaplain ministry training at CLI has blessed me. I could not otherwise afford the education and licensing to become an ordained Chaplain. Therefore, I will serve with confidence. Furthermore, I can care for my family and work as I get the education and receive the leadership and direction I have always prayed for.

Register a Study Account

Register for a free study account, automatically enrolling you in the Getting Started Class at the Christian Leaders Learning Platform. The Getting Started class will take you less than an hour to complete.

When you log in to the Learning Platform, you will notice that the Getting Started Class automatically appears on your dashboard.    

The Getting Started Class will orientate you to the Christian Leaders Learning Platform and the Programs offered, including:

  1. Ministry Awards, Certificates, Diplomas, and Degrees with the Christian Leaders Institute.
  2. Minister Credentialling (Ordination) with the Christian Leaders Alliance, including local Soul Center registration possibilities. 

Note: You can enroll in tuition-free courses or mini-courses immediately without finishing the getting started class.  

Find out more about women in ministry here.