A black and white arrow pointing to the left.Chaplain Norris Burkes is available to deliver speeches or sermons for public events, church retreats, marriage seminars, worship services, university or private high school chapels, in-service for healthcare and hospice, and military events. To book him, use the form below.

Possible topics for seminars, presentations, or sermons are:

Customized Sermon Topic

Allotted Time: 20-25 minutes
If your church has a centralized topic or interest, Norris will compose a sermon to fit your church’s need or adapt any topic below or he can also preach from your church’s central lectionary.

The Grammar of Grief

Allotted Time: 45-55 minutes
Perhaps you’ve heard someone give these misguided words to a grieving person: “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Or you’ve known the helpless of hearing someone say, “I can’t go on living.” These statements represent what Chaplain Norris calls, “The Grammar of Grief.” This talk will help participates care for those who grieve by identifying the practical tools which help appropriately translate their language of grief.

Laughing Through Loss, Love, and Life

Allotted Time: Three 40 minute sessions
Chaplain Norris presents a thoroughly entertaining evening of storytelling that targets the readership of his syndicated column. The talk is best heard in settings such as fundraisers, church dinners, or community talks. Stories include rib-ticklers like, “Spiked Communion Cups,” “At the Drop of a Hat in a Toilet” and “Mrs. Chaplain’s Great Pig Chase.”

Resiliency – Surviving Loss, love, and Life

Allotted Time: 45-55 minutes

Resiliency – Surviving Loss, Love, and Life. There is no shortage of advice on this subject. But how do we sort the cliché answers from spiritually healthy guidance? Author of the book “Thriving Beyond Surviving” Burkes’ ministry in the battlefield, the hospital and everyday life will help participants cope with a major loss, a serious illness, or a heartbreaking relationship. Chaplain Norris Burkes will guide participants to discover the tools of resilience needed to move us beyond just the survival mode. Through the use of the moving examples from his syndicated column, Burkes will show how survivors moved into thriving lives again.

Lessons of Forgiveness from a Warzone

Allotted Time: 45-55 minutes
This talk previews Chaplain Norris’ upcoming book describing his unenviable task of delivering death notifications to the families of those killed in action. After the 25th such announcement, he volunteers for deployment to the Air Force Field Hospital in Balad, Iraq where he sees firsthand how and why soldiers are dying. From his combat landing in Iraq to his crash-landing four months later at Baltimore-Washington Intl., Burkes tells the stories of the combat wounded as they struggle to overcome both physical and moral injuries, mourn their losses, and, astonishingly, forgive their enemies.

Heartwarming Stories From a Pediatric Chaplain

Allotted Time: 45-55 minutes
This is the hope-filled, humorous and heartfelt inspirational talk that highlights much of Norris’ book, No Small Miracles. This heart-to-heart presentation is suggested for church gatherings, hospitals or children’s fundraisers and has been well received by large multi-state audiences. Norris’ stories will include, “Candy Bar Blessing,” “Eighty Minutes of Parenting,” and the Amy Award winner, “Handful of Promise.”

Trauma Pastoral Care

Allotted Time: 45-55 minutes
This presentation is designed to better equip healthcare workers and lay volunteers for the aftermath of community disasters and mass casualties. With a storyteller’s approach, Chaplain Norris illustrates the unique ministry strategies employed in everything from warzone trauma to Emergency Room drama. Upon request, this presentation can include peripheral issues such as: Critical Stress Debriefings; Identifying PTSD; Suicide Prevention; and Overcoming Physical and Moral injuries.

Healing the Spirit – The work of the Hospital Chaplain

Allotted Time: 45-55 minutes
This talk blends the stories from several of Chaplain Norris’ experiences which illustrate the listening, caring and prayerful role of the hospital chaplain. This talk is best given to hospital audiences, mission organizations or church care groups such as Steven Ministries. Attendees will learn the similarities between their everyday ministry role and that of a “professional chaplain.”

Sustaining the Warrior – The work of the Military Chaplain

Allotted Time: 45-55 minutes
Designed for church groups or mission organizations, this talk will help attendees understand the challenges the chaplain has in presenting the sacred message to a secular environment. This talk includes stories of death notifications, deployments, marriage counseling, and the difficulties the chaplain has in praying before military assemblies.

Honoring the Heroes

Allotted Time: 20 minutes
This stirring speech is intended for the patriotic assemblies of Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day or Independence Day. Designed for military or civilian audiences, Chaplain Norris presents stories from his 28 years of military experience in walking among the warriors, the wounded and the weary. Stories include, “The Knock,” “Gethsemane Moment,” and “Dirty jobs.”

Praying for a Miracle

Allotted Time: 40 minutes
This topic examines the difficulty in asking God for miracles. It addresses questions like, “Does prayer work?” – “Why pray?” – “How do I pray?” – “Who hears my prayers?” This talk can be given before a church audience or can give insight to a secular medical audience into how prayers provide healing pathways.

Faith and the Other Six F-Words to Live By:

Allotted Time: 30-35 minutes
Norris recounts inspirational and humorous stories from his syndicated column that illustrate the seven critical words he lives by: Faith, Family, Fun, Fitness, Finances, Flight, and Forgiveness. Any of these categories can also be expanded to fit into a singular speaking topic. Watch video at this link

Travel, the Spark of Learning

Allotted Time: 35 - 45 min
Chaplin Norris relates how he and his wife spent 2016 as their retirement gap year in Europe and Central America. The talk tells the oft- requested story of his involvement in the Chispa project, (Chispa is Spanish for spark). The project is a charity begun by his daughter Sara to build children’s libraries in Honduras. Norris has flown to Honduras four times and has personally seen where Chispa has inaugurated over fifty libraries, giving over 12,000 books. Donations for Chispa will be accepted at the talk.

Finding God’s Will or Willing God’s Will

Allotted Time: 30-35 minutes
In a sermon format, Chaplain Norris retells popular stories from his syndicated column to illustrate the difference between seeking God's will or simply resolving to follow one's personal will. Norris uses Rick Warren's acronym SHAPE for helping the listener  determine God's will: Spiritual, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experience. The talk concludes with how God used tragic circumstances to bring Norris into the chaplaincy.

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