Armed Forces Ministry

Serve as a Chaplain

LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces

Are you interested in serving on active duty as a military chaplain? Would you like to serve in one of the Reserve or Guard components 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

  1. Secure your “Ecclesiastical Endorsement.”
  2. Get accepted by the service branch to which you are applying.

The LCMS ecclesiastical endorsement application asks for five references, which includes evaluations from the district president, your circuit visitor, and three others.

Applicants are asked to write a brief narrative explaining their interest 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. The committee is comprised of three retired chaplains and a retired line officer. Our committee members all have extensive experience.


Post-Application Process

  • 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.
  • 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 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.


Contact us

Contact LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces for more information, including how to begin the application process.


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