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Military/VA Chaplaincy Requirements

For Chaplaincy Applicants

Download application for ecclesiastical approval or endorsement in the following ministries:

Military/Veteran Affairs Chaplaincy Application

These forms (in PDF format) require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view, fill-in, and print the forms. Please sign and return completed forms, discussion materials, $45 application fee and a current professional quality photo (4x6 or 5x7). Remember to have official transcripts from all colleges and seminaries sent to us as well.

A necessary step in becoming an Assemblies of God Chaplain is to contact a recruiter in the specific branch of interest in the military.  The following links will provide contact information to the individuals that will assist you in the process: 

In addition to contacting a recruiter in the military, applicants must also apply with the Chaplaincy Department for Ecclesiastical Endorsement for Military Chaplaincy or Ecclesiastical Approval for the Chaplain Candidate Program. Applicants for the Chaplain Candidate Program must also contact their District to begin the minister credentialing process. The following information will provide all the requirements necessary to become endorsed as an Assemblies of God Chaplain.

 

Military/Veterans Affairs Chaplaincy Requirements

Types of Chaplain Recognition

The Commission on Chaplains is the only officially recognized endorsing agency for Assemblies of God applicants for the Military Chaplain Candidate Program and other military related chaplaincy ministries. It grants two types of recognition:

Ecclesiastical approval for the Chaplain Candidate Program may be given to candidates in a graduate school of theology or seminary who apply during their first or second year of full-time enrollment and who qualify for the Chaplain Candidate Program. The applicant should possess or be in the process of obtaining ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God and be working toward ordination. If the candidate remains in good standing with the A/G, makes normal progress, and meets all other stipulated requirements, he or she may then be considered for endorsement for Active Duty, Armed Forces Reserves, or National Guard ministry after graduation.

Ecclesiastical endorsement for Active Duty/Reserve/National Guard and Veterans Affairsmay be granted by the Commission on Chaplains to interviewed applicants who are ordained and meet all military age, educational and physical requirements. To be endorsed for Active Duty, applicants are expected to have at least two years of pastoral experience, preferably as senior pastor. The Commission on Chaplains has a policy consistent with military expectations that candidates for endorsement must have completed two years of pastoral experience before appointment to Active Duty.

Why is Endorsement Important?

First, one cannot become a military or VA chaplain without ecclesiastical endorsement. Second, endorsement is essential for military chaplains because military leaders depend on denominations to provide this crucial ministry in unusually demanding specialized settings. The Commission on Chaplains will prayerfully and fairly evaluate the qualifications of each applicant, keeping in mind the needs of the denomination, the military services and the individual seeking this ministry. The Assemblies of God has an excellent reputation for screening and preparing its candidates, and it is our desire to maintain this high quality.

 

Military/Veterans Affairs Chaplaincy

Active Duty Chaplaincy

  • Undergraduate degree of 120 semester hours from an accredited institution.
  • Master of Divinity/Theology degree from an American Theological School (ATS) accredited seminary of school of theology, minimum 72 hours. The 72 hour minimum must be a singular degree of at least the minimum required hours.
  • Ordained by the Assemblies of God.
  • Two years pastoral ministry with experience in conducting baptisms, communion services, weddings, funerals, and grief counseling.
  • Willingness to facilitate and coordinate programs for individuals of all religious faiths.
  • Citizen of the United States.
  • Appropriate age for specific branch of service (see Frequently Asked Questions for details.)
  • Pass physical requirements and examination by the Armed Forces.
  • Receive favorable National Agency Check (background and credit check.)
  • Make application to the National Chaplaincy Department for Ecclesiastical Endorsement.
  • Successful interview with Commission on Chaplains in Springfield, MO. Interviews are scheduled twice a year in May and November. It is strongly recommended that the candidate’s spouse also meet with the Commission for this interview.

Reserve and National Guard Chaplaincy

  • Undergraduate degree of 120 semester hours from an accredited institution.
  • Master of Divinity/Theology degree from an American Theological School (ATS) accredited seminary of school of theology, minimum 72 hours. The 72 hour minimum must be a singular degree of at least the minimum required hours.
  • Ordained by the Assemblies of God.
  • Have had, or be engaged in pastoral ministry, not limited to senior pastor.
  • Willingness to provide and coordinate programs for individuals of all faiths.
  • Citizen of the United States.
  • Appropriate age for specific branch of service (see Frequently Asked Questions for details.)
  • Pass physical requirements and examination by the Armed Forces.
  • Receive favorable National Agency Check (background and credit check.)
  • Make application to the National Chaplaincy Department for Ecclesiastical Endorsement.
  • Successful interview with Commission on Chaplains in Springfield, MO. Interviews are scheduled twice a year in May and November. It is recommended that the candidate’s spouse also meet with the Commission for this interview.

Chaplain Candidate Program

  • Full-time graduate student at an American Theological School (ATS) accredited institution.
  • Undergraduate degree of 120 semester hours from an accredited institution.
  • Applied with District for ministerial credentials.
  • Citizen of the United States.
  • Appropriate age for specific branch of service (see Frequently Asked Questions for details.)
  • Pass physical requirements and examination by the Armed Forces.
  • Receive favorable National Agency Check (background and credit check.)
  • Make application to the National Chaplaincy Department for Chaplain Candidate Program approval.

An interview by the Commission on Chaplains is not required for this program .

The Endorsing Agent of the Assemblies of God grants approval for this program based upon the applicant’s file and references. The interview to become an endorsed chaplain takes place after the student has graduated from seminary and has received ordination.

Veteran’s Affairs Chaplaincy

  • Master of Divinity/Theology degree from an American Theological School (ATS) accredited seminary of school of theology. A Master of Theology degree with a minimum of 72 credit hours in theology or biblical studies is acceptable; a Master of Divinity with 90 credit hours is preferable.
  • Undergraduate degree of 120 semester hours from an accredited institution.
  • Two units (800 hours) of Clinical Pastoral Education.
  • Ordained by the Assemblies of God.
  • Two years pastoral ministry with experience in conducting baptisms, communion services, weddings, funerals, and death notifications.
  • Willingness to provide and coordinate programs for individuals of all faiths.
  • Citizen of the United States.
  • Pass physical requirements and examination by the Armed Forces.
  • Receive favorable National Agency Check (background and credit check.)
  • Make application to the National Chaplaincy Department for Ecclesiastical Endorsement.
  • Successful interview with Commission on Chaplains in Springfield, MO. Interviews are scheduled twice a year in May and November. It is recommended that the candidate’s spouse also meet with the Commission for this interview.

Civil Air Patrol and State Militia Chaplaincy

  1. Master of Divinity or equivalency degree from an accredited seminary. Waivers may be granted depending on ministry experience.

  2. Undergraduate degree of 120 semester hours from an accredited institution.

  3. Ordained by the Assemblies of God.

  4. Engaged in full-time pastoral ministry, not limited to senior pastoral.

  5. Willingness to provide and coordinate programs for individuals of all faiths.

  6. Citizen of the United States.

  7. Receive favorable National Agency Check (background and credit check.)

  8. Make application to the National Chaplaincy Department for Ecclesiastical Endorsement. An interview by the Commission on Chaplains is not required for this program. The Endorsing Agent of the Assemblies of God grants approval for this program based upon the applicant’s file and references.

 

M/VA Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my undergraduate or graduate school is an accredited institution?

If the school is listed in the Education Directory, U.S. Department of Education and/or the ATS Bulletin, it is considered by the Military to be an accredited school.

When you say “pastoral experience” is needed, does it make a difference what size church I pastor?

No. Some chaplain candidates obtain their pastoral experience while going to seminary at smaller churches, while others serve as assistants or associates at larger churches. Breadth and quality of experience will be evaluated on a case by case basis, including factors such as time spent each week in ministry and duties performed (preaching, weddings, funerals, communion services, etc.)

Could serving as associate pastor or assistant pastor at a church be considered pastoral experience?

Yes, if considered adequate by the Commission. In order to fulfill the pastoral requirements set forth by the Armed Forces and the Commission, you need to possess pastoral skills to be endorsed as an Active Duty military chaplain. Pastoral skills include: sermon preparation and delivery, counseling, leading worship services and conducting sacerdotal acts such as weddings, funerals, communion services and baby dedications. The military wants pastors they can train to be chaplains, not chaplains that they have to train to be pastors.

If I want to be an Active Duty, Reserve/National Guard, or Veterans Affairs chaplain, do I need to go to Springfield, Missouri to meet with the Commission or will a phone interview suffice?

Applications for endorsement cannot be completed without a personal interview by the Commission on Chaplains in Springfield, Missouri.

Why do I have to have a personal interview?

The interview offers opportunity for an exchange of information and affords the candidate an opportunity to understand a chaplain’s relationship with the Commission, the denomination, his or her home district and the district in which he or she serves.

What types of questions will the Commission ask during the interview?

Discussion will include questions about the applicant’s call, doctrinal positions, experience and concept of the chaplaincy.

Will my expenses be paid to this meeting?

No. Travel, housing and meal arrangements must be made by, and at the expense of, the candidate.

Does my spouse have to meet the Commission with me?

Although it is preferred by the Commission to meet the candidate’s spouse, it is not mandatory if this will cause undue hardship.

Can I be endorsed before I am ordained with the Assemblies of God?

No. Endorsement can only take place after a candidate receives ordination through his or her district.

When I become a chaplain candidate or an endorsed chaplain, do I have to tithe on money paid to me for pastoral ministry or secular work?

No. The approved and/or endorsed chaplain only pays tithes to the chaplaincy department on money earned from chaplaincy ministry. The tithing policy is set forth in the General Council by-laws.

Can I get my Master of Divinity degree through extension or distance learning?

It is strongly advised that educational programs be approved in advance to ensure compliance with military/VA regulations and seminary requirements.

What are the age criteria for appointment?

There are numerous variables in Armed Forces programs. The following table indicates the current age requirements for each branch of service without military experience. You must enter prior to corresponding birthday. If you are over age 34, please inquire about age limits prior to beginning your application process.

 

Chaplain Candidate

Reserve

Active Duty

Army

39

45

42

Navy

39

40

42

Air Force

35

40

42

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