BECOME A MILITARY CHAPLAIN with the GARBC
Intersecting Lives with Truth at Points of Greatest Need
What do chaplains do?
Military chaplains are religious professionals brought into the military as noncombatant officers in order to provide for the free exercise of religion for all troops. They must be endorsed by their faith group, verifying that they are thoroughly trained and experienced as clergy members, and they are required to remain true to the doctrines and practices of their endorsing body. They must be able to minister cooperatively without compromise within the military religious community.
Chaplains live and work with the military community at permanent bases, medical facilities, office complexes, and deployed sites. They provide worship services, religious education, pastoral care, and counseling. Work areas reach far beyond chapel walls to hospitals, field maneuvers, flight lines, and battleships.
Chaplains receive a wide array of specialized training, including suicide intervention, post-traumatic stress disorder, death notification, and mass casualty ministries. They minister to the spiritual needs of their troops, command staff, and military families inside the United States and around the world.
What about my family?
Active duty chaplains are assigned to positions around the world and are normally accompanied by their families. Like all military personnel, chaplains are subject to deployment.
May I serve part-time?
Yes. The National Guard and Reserve offer part-time military duty to pastors who wish to remain in civilian ministry. Guard or reserve chaplains must meet the same requirements as those specified for active duty chaplains. They usually serve two weeks of active duty each year plus other training periods as required, and they may be called to full-time active duty in the case of a national emergency. Mobilization and deployment are a regular part of the reserve and guard operational tempo.
What is the Civil Air Patrol chaplaincy?
The Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force. CAP chaplains, like all CAP members, are volunteers. They wear Air Force style uniforms and attend local squadron meetings twice a month or more. CAP chaplains must have an accredited undergraduate and seminary degree or equivalent education. In addition to normal CAP activities, the chaplain may be called on to assist with domestic chaplaincy ministries when active duty, reserve, and guard chaplains have been mobilized or deployed. To find out more, click here.
What are the requirements for me to receive a chaplaincy appointment with the GARBC?
Candidates must meet the following criteria. Selection is competitive and based upon the needs of the military.
- You must be a United States citizen.
- You must be less than 40 years of age at the time of commissioning. (Waivers may be granted based on the needs of the military.)
- You must have a bachelor’s degree and a 72-hour graduate degree in theology or religious studies from an institution regionally accredited or accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.
- You must be ordained and a member in good standing of a church that is in fellowship with the GARBC.
- You must have a minimum of two years of full-time professional experience after receiving your graduate degree.
- You must be endorsed by the GARBC Chaplaincy Commission.
- You must pass a military physical.
- You must pass a military background investigation.
All branches of the military have a Chaplain Candidate Program that allows individuals to explore the military ministry option while attending seminary. It is designed to expose seminarians to the diverse and demanding role of military chaplaincy in a variety of ministerial settings. Applications are accepted after enrollment in seminary. Those who apply must be available for up to 100 days of training annually during the course of their seminary education. To become a chaplain candidate, you must do/have these:
- Request a letter of approval from the GARBC Chaplaincy Commission.
- Have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
- Be working toward a master of divinity or equivalent degree as a full-time student in a seminary or theological school that is regionally accredited or accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.
- Fulfill the requirements for commissioning as a second lieutenant in the reserve. Commissioning occurs after your branch of the military favorably reviews at least one semester or quarter of your seminary work.
- Age requirements vary somewhat among the service branches. For branch-specific information, contact a chaplain recruiter or visit these websites:
Military Chaplaincy Application
This application packet is for ordained men who feel called of God to a ministry with Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, Air Guard, or Civil Air Patrol personnel. Upon completion of the packet the materials can be returned electronically or via the United States Postal Service. All contact information is listed on the application.