Interested in serving on active duty as a military chaplain? In one of the Reserve or Guard components? As a chaplain with the Department of Veterans Affairs or in the Civil Air Patrol? It's a great ministry and a unique opportunity to serve as a pastor and a missionary in a very special environment. There are two steps involved.
- One is to secure your "Ecclesiastical Endorsement."
- The other is to be accepted by the service branch to which you are applying.
To apply for your LCMS ecclesiastical endorsement, contact our office for an application. The form asks for five references which includes evaluations from the district president, your circuit counselor, and three others. We ask you to write a brief narrative explaining why you are interested in this ministry. We will also arrange for a personal interview (including your spouse, if you are married). Your application, the confidential evaluations, and a report on the interview will be reviewed and assessed by the members of our Ministry to the Armed Forces Committee which is made up of three retired chaplains and a retired line officer. Our committee members all have extensive experience.
(For the Department of Veterans Affairs) If the Ministry to the Armed Forces Committee's vote is positive, we will issue the endorsement to the VA Chaplain Center in Hampton, Va. You also will receive a copy. At that point, you can proceed with your application process, either at the specific VA medical center to which you are applying or at the VA Chaplain Center.
(For the Civil Air Patrol) If the Ministry to the Armed Forces Committee's vote is positive, we will issue the endorsement to the Civil Air Patrol's command chaplain's office. You will also receive a copy. You are then free to process your application through the local CAP unit.
(For Active Duty, Reserve or Guard) If endorsed, the MAF Office notifies the appropriate military office. You also will receive a copy. The next step is to apply to the particular branch in which you hope to serve. (If you have not made contact already with a chaplain recruiter, our office will be happy to guide you in that process.) The military will arrange for a physical exam, a security background check, and possibly an interview. You will also be required to provide transcripts verifying your education.
(For Active Duty) When all the above is completed, your application will be reviewed by a military accession board. They will notify you of their decision. If you are selected, they will negotiate a mutually acceptable time for you to enter active duty. At that point, we will also issue you a formal call. Once you are sworn in, you will be expected to serve an initial minimum of three years.