Here are answers to frequently asked questions about chaplaincy endorsement and information about its many benefits.
What is chaplaincy endorsement?
Endorsement is a professional credential that affirms to an agency or employer that a chaplain or pastoral counselor has met the requirements of the denomination to provide ministry in a specialized setting. It also affirms that the individual is a member in good standing of the Southern Baptist Convention. Endorsement creates a covenant of mutual commitment, accountability, and support between the chaplain or counselor in ministry and the denomination. It states a level of denominational connection and a standard of excellence to the agency or employer. Within the SBC, the Chaplains Commission grants endorsement.
Why be endorsed?
Endorsement is required by almost all agencies and employers that use chaplains and counselors. Documentation (government/agency form or NAMB letter) indicating endorsement is usually required as part of the hiring application process. Some organizations require that the endorsement is updated at periodic intervals. Endorsement is a significant step toward achieving the highest levels of professional certification.
What is the endorsement process?
The chaplain or counselor in ministry applicant initiates the endorsement process. For an application packet and/or brochure about chaplaincy, please contact the Chaplaincy Evangelism Team. The applicant must complete and return the application form, statement of beliefs, biographical summary, and other information. A first-time endorsement application requires approximately six to eight weeks for processing and approval by the Chaplains Commission. Since endorsement is a statement to a specific using agency, the process must be updated should a chaplain or counselor in ministry change agencies and/or place of service.
How do I apply?
The application process begins by registering with Send Me. Click on the Chaplaincy Opportunities button on the Send Me page. Select the Type of Chaplaincy and click on the Learn More button. At the bottom of that page, click on the Get Started button and follow the instruction to register.
Once you are registered, you will be contacted. There are a variety of qualifications and expectations for chaplaincy ministry. These qualifications and expectations come from the using agency and the Chaplains Commission. A consultant from the Chaplaincy Team will contact you to review the qualifications. If you are pre-qualified, you will be sent instructions for submitting an application for endorsement.
When the file is complete, one of the team consultants will read your materials and provide feedback to you. Eventually your file will be presented to the Chaplain Commission, a group of trustees assigned to the North American Mission Board.
In order to complete your application file, additional documents will be requested according to the type of chaplaincy. All applicants must submit a current photo and ensure that the Chaplaincy Team receives the completed references. Other documents, if applicable, are a copy of Ordination Certificate and Official Transcript for the qualifying degree, and the local SBC church’s Affirmation Letter (sample will be provided).
If you are applying for a chaplaincy endorsement other than military, VA or Federal Bureau of Prisons, provide the name of the using agency (the corporation, hospital, Police Dept., etc.), the name of the individual receiving your endorsement, and the using agency’s address. In addition, you will be receiving a separate email from LifeWay with a link to a short missions service survey (Initial Missionary Inventory). Please take a few minutes to complete that survey, which is a required element for your file.
Federal Chaplaincy Endorsement Checklist - under revision
Vocational and Volunteer Chaplaincy Endorsement Checklist
The Chaplaincy Evangelism Team provides the denominational endorsement process for qualified individuals seeking employment as chaplains and counselors, as well as for those serving in volunteer chaplaincy ministries. Endorsed chaplains receive many important benefits from their official relationship with NAMB, such as:
- annual regional and national conferences
- specialized workshops
- chaplaincy luncheon at the SBC annual meeting
- training certificate of contact hours
- assistance to meet any crisis needs related to chaplaincy
- discounts for computer hardware and software, offered through LifeWay at lifeway.com/article/161379/
- on-site visits, correspondence, and telephone communication with Chaplaincy Evangelism Team staff
- pastoral care support by Chaplaincy Evangelism Team staff
- counsel and support in disciplinary proceedings
- employment counseling and referral
- fellowship opportunities with other chaplains and counselors in ministry
- official relationship with the SBC Chaplains Commission
- connection with the denomination through the North American Mission Board’s Chaplaincy Evangelism Team
- listing in the Southern Baptist Convention Annual
- complimentary subscription to NAMB publications