Faith in the workplace: Marketplace Chaplains finds a $13.5M niche

Church Pew

Marketplace Chaplains helps corporations deal with the faith needs of employees.

Bill Hethcock
Staff Writer- Dallas Business Journal


As the number of people who affiliate with organized religion shrinks, the number of companies hiring chaplains to marry, bury, counsel and coach their employees grows.

A Plano-based nonprofit that provides chaplains for companies large and small is the biggest player in the niche.

Marketplace Chaplains began in 1984 with a single chaplain, Gil A. Stricklin Sr. Now, the founder is chairman and CEO of Marketplace Ministries Inc., the parent organization for five organizational subsidiaries, and Marketplace Chaplains has more than 2,800 chaplains working in over 3,300 service locations, spanning 35 industry types and caring for more than 564,000 client company employees and their family members.

They’re in 46 states, 1,009 cities and five foreign countries, Stricklin told me in an interview. The organization’s income from client care will be about $13.5 million this year, he said.

“We’ve seen a lot of growth,” Stricklin said. “There’s more interest today in what we’re doing than ever before.”

The organization celebrated its 30-year anniversary with a banquet at the Hilton Anatole hotel in Dallas on Sept. 11. Stricklin also released his new book, called “Chaplain,” chronicling the organization’s three decades of growth.

The organization’s 30th year has been highlighted by rapid growth in the United States and bold new moves into South Korea and China, Stricklin said.

In its 30 years, thousands of chaplains have provided hundreds of services to uncounted employees — happy or hurting — across a rainbow of religions and spiritual beliefs.

“Everybody has a problem sometime. Everybody needs help,” Stricklin said. “Chaplains are kind of like a pickup truck — you may not think you want one, but there will come a time when you need one.”

Bill covers health care, telecom, law and education. Subscribe to our email newsletters.