Operation Barnabas

LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces

In 2007, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Ministry to the Armed Forces launched Operation Barnabas. Through this program — the only one of its kind in the U.S. — together with our congregations, we accomplish three key goals:

1. Care for Reserve chaplains and their families and congregations.

2. Train and assist local congregations in the care, support and outreach to all military connected people in their congregations and their communities.

3. Serve as a resource to other organizations that provide care to military connected people.

Our desire is to enable our congregations to lead their communities in welcoming these military families back home. They have borne the weight of repeated deployments, and we can prepare to receive them home in concert with local chambers of commerce, schools and medical facilities.

Help from congregations

Become a chaplain

The LCMS encourages congregations to reach out to military families in the following ways:

  • Pray for our troops.
  • Recognize veterans in your congregation at least once a year.
  • Celebrate and remember our nation's military veterans, service personnel, chaplains and families.

The LCMS offers responsive prayers, sermon resources and bulletin inserts to help congregations plan celebrations.

 View resources

Help for military families

Military families

Thank you. Two simple words, but they are so necessary for the military families who wait for their loved one to come home.

Your loved one is never far from your thoughts, and we want to let you know that you are not forgotten.

The LCMS wants to help. Contact us with your email address, city and state. We will give you the name and phone number of an Operation Barnabas team in your area. You can connect with them, and, if you choose, meet them — on your terms.

 Contact us


  • Become an Operation Barnabas Chapter
  • Operation Barnabas chapters are similar to any other group in your congregation, like Lutheran Women’s Missionary League and others.

    You will need a dedicated group of people in your church to serve in the chapter. This is not another task for your pastor. This is a chance for your congregation to actively serve in your community and share the love of Christ with those who have borne the burden of defending our nation.

    Chapters typically meet every month, and they seek to actively engage the military in your community.

    Please contact LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces for information on starting a chapter in your congregation.


  • Connecting with Congregations
  • Operation Barnabas has worked with dozens of congregations, but we realize hundreds more congregations also are caring for military families. We ask you to contact us so we can recognize your work and encourage you as you serve military families.

    • We can share your congregation’s information with military families asking us to find a local congregation near their duty station.
    • We can recognize you with a certificate suitable for placement in your church.
    • We can share your congregation’s outreach and encourage other congregations to learn from you.
    • We can forward information to you on a regular basis to better equip you to care for military families.

    Contact us


Subscribe to the Warning Order Newsletter


Stay informed and get equipped with this monthly Operation Barnabas publication.

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Rev. Craig Muehler, Director

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Ministry Overview

You may ask: “Why is it called Operation Barnabas?” Barnabas was Paul’s companion, who helped him in his missionary journey. His name means “son of encouragement.” We hope to encourage our military and their families with the Gospel in action.

Operation Barnabas is the LCMS’ network of care to our nation’s military members, families and veterans. We reach out to all branches of the military with a special emphasis on our Reserve members and their families.

Download information sheet >>

How to help

Your gifts for LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces’ Operation Barnabas provide a constant resource of funds that can instantly be made available to help extend our network of care and the love of Christ to military members, families and veterans.

Give Now


Give by mail:

Make checks payable to: The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod with a memo line or note designating “Ministry to the Armed Forces/Operation Barnabas.”

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
P.O. Box 66861
St. Louis, MO 63166-6861


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8:10 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. Central,
Monday through Friday

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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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