Ecclesiastical endorsement

Required documentation applies to applicants seeking endorsement for chaplaincy.

Phase 1 – Preparation

All applicants must demonstrate American Baptist Church membership.

All applicants must have a current MinistrElife profile.

All applicants must possess a Bachelor’s degree from a Council for Higher Education Accreditation member college, university or equivalent school.

All applicants must possess a graduate theological degree with 72 hours of completed course work from a school accredited by Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Healthcare, hospice, campus, and community chaplain applicants must have completed a minimum of 48 hours of course work from an accredited ATS school. Military chaplain candidates must present a letter of admission as a full-time student to an ATS accredited school.

All applicants must be ordained by an American Baptist Church; ABC standard ordination is preferred. Military chaplain candidates, if not already licensed by an American Baptist Church, must be on track to be licensed within four years of endorsement.

Military chaplain and correctional chaplain applicants must have a minimum of two years of post-seminary pastoral ministry and leadership experience.

Healthcare and Veteran’s Affairs applicants require four units of Clinical Pastoral Education from an accredited center recognized by the Department of Education. Clinical Pastoral Education from an accredited center recognized by the Department of Education is preferred for all other applicants.

Phase 2 – Application

All applicants must have a current MinistrElife profile. 

All applicants must have transcripts of any completed Clinical Pastoral Education credits sent directly to the endorser by the official accrediting agency.

All applicants must submit a completed application and supporting documents for the specific ministry for which they seek endorsement.

The current application fee is $150.00.

For more information and to request an application, contact or

The application does not move into the endorsement committee evaluation phase until all required documentation is received in the endorser’s office.

Phase 3 – Endorsement Committee Evaluation

All applicants will participate in a face-to-face interview with a representative selected by the endorser’s office.

The ABC-USA/ABHMS Endorsement Committee reviews the applicant’s binder and makes a recommendation to the endorser.

The ABC-USA/ABHMS endorser’s office makes a final decision and informs the applicant accordingly.