Ecclesiastical endorsement

American Baptist Denominational Endorsement Requirements Revision

American Baptists may be qualified to apply for ecclesiastical endorsement through American Baptist Home Mission Societies. The requirements and criteria vary depending on the category of ecclesiastical endorsement sought. The following is intended to serve as a guide in the process. 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 American Baptist Personnel Services Profile (ABPS) on the ministrElife platform.

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 the 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; American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) standard ordination or ABCUSA recognized. 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 Veterans 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 ABPS profile on the ministrElife platform.

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.

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 American Baptist Endorsement Committee reviews the applicant’s completed binder and makes a recommendation to the ecclesiastical endorser.

The endorser makes a final determination and informs the applicant accordingly.

Although timing of this stage does vary, it is prudent to allow 45-60 days for review and evaluation.

Helpful links

For more information about ministries in specialized settings or endorsement as an American Baptist chaplain or pastoral counselor, e-mail [email protected].