Ecclesiastical Endorsement

LCMS Specialized Spiritual Care Ministry

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod endorses its Specialized Spiritual Care Ministry workers to serve in various settings. The endorsement process involves an application, continuing education, peer reviews, and annual reports.

The following information explains the process of applying for ecclesiastical endorsement and being called as a Specialized Care worker, and a code of ethics has been established for endorsed Specialized Care workers. Scholarships are also available.




Application, manual and annual report

Read the LCMS Specialized Spiritual Care Ministry ecclesiastical endorsement manual to learn more about endorsement standards and procedures, call criteria and program guidelines for ministries in chaplaincy, pastoral counseling, and clinical education.

Applying for endorsement

We encourage you to read the ecclesiastical endorsement manual to determine eligibility requirements for your area of ministry.

To apply, please read the guidelines before completing the data form.

Already endorsed?

In order to retain one’s ecclesiastical endorsement as a Specialized Care worker within the LCMS, an annual report is to be submitted to the Specialized Spiritual Care Ministry office by the end of each calendar year. Please complete the annual report form online.

Questions? Contact us

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
Specialized Spiritual Care Ministry
1333 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, MO 63122

Phone: 888-843-5267
Fax: 314-996-1124



Call process

The LCMS provides a step-by-step process for rostered church workers to receive a call into Specialized Spiritual Care Ministry. Specialized Care workers interested in receiving a call should follow the process as it is set forth on Pages 17–18 of the Ecclesiastical Endorsement Manual.



Code of ethics for Specialized Care workers

Upon receiving ecclesiastical endorsement and/or accepting a call into LCMS Specialized Spiritual Care Ministry, the ordained or commissioned minister by virtue of the endorsement and/or Divine Call is obligated to represent the LCMS with integrity and meet other expectations and requirements as outlined within the Ecclesiastical Endorsement Manual.

The Synod’s Specialized Spiritual Care Ministry Code of Ethics contains:

  • Expectations and guidelines
  • Worship and ministry privileges and limitations
  • Ministry and accountability information

 Read the Code of Ethics on Pages 14–16 of the Ecclesiastical Endorsement Manual.



Specialized Care scholarships

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Specialized Spiritual Care Ministry awards chaplaincy, pastoral counseling, and clinical education scholarships.

The Specialized Pastoral Ministries scholarship was started in 1992 with funds donated by persons serving in ministries of chaplaincy, pastoral counseling, and clinical education, and by others supportive of these ministries.

In 2003, Lutheran Chaplaincy Auxiliary of St. Paul, Minn., contributed its assets to an endowment that is now divided equally between the ELCA and LCMS. This contribution was a way of continuing its 80-year support of chaplaincy ministry.

To apply for a scholarship, please download and complete the scholarship application packet.

Download scholarship application packet

Please submit your application and required information to:

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
Specialized Spiritual Care Ministry
1333 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, MO 63122


Fax: 314-996-1128

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The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Inc., including Mission Central (in Mapleton, Iowa), is an IRS registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity.

A contribution designated (restricted) for a specific purpose, when accepted, will be used only to fund expenses related to that purpose. Occasionally, we may receive more in contributions for a particular purpose than can be wisely applied to it in the foreseeable future or the purpose may cease to be feasible. In these situations, the LCMS will make reasonable attempts to contact contributors to apply their contribution toward another aspect of ministry that aligns closely the contributor’s goals and values. If a contributor cannot be contacted, the LCMS will use the gift to meet a similar pressing need that most closely matches the contributor's original intent.

Consistent with Synod Board policy and in recognition of a more challenging economic and philanthropic/fundraising environment due to inflationary pressure, not more than 12.5 percent of any charitable contribution will be allocated to administering gifts and communicating with contributors. Contributions received and accepted by the LCMS are deemed to be in agreement with this statement.

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