Chaplaincy Application Process

LCMS Specialized Pastoral Ministry

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod endorses its specialized pastoral ministers for field work through a process involving an endorsement application, continuing education, peer reviews, and annual reports.

The following information explains the process of applying for ecclesiastical endorsement and being called as an SPM chaplain, and a code of ethics has been established for endorsed and called chaplains. Scholarships are also available.




Ecclesiastical endorsement

Read the LCMS Specialized Pastoral 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.

Wondering about the reasons for endorsement?

Read a list of reasons for becoming ecclesiastically endorsed in Specialized Pastoral Ministry.

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 application and data form.

Already endorsed?

In order to retain one’s ecclesiastical endorsement as a specialized pastoral minister within the LCMS, an annual report is to be submitted to the SPM office by the end of each calendar year. Please complete the annual report form online.

Questions? Contact SPM

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
Specialized Pastoral 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, ordained, or commissioned ministers of the Gospel to receive a call into Specialized Pastoral Ministry. Specialized pastoral ministers interested in receiving a call should follow the process as it is set forth.

 Read call process steps



Code of ethics for SPM chaplains

Upon receiving ecclesiastical endorsement and/or accepting a call into specialized pastoral 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 SPM Ecclesiastical Endorsement Manual.

The Synod’s SPM Code of Ethics document contains:

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

 Read Code of Ethics



SPM scholarships

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Specialized Pastoral 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 Pastoral 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.

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