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A chaplain is a highly trained religious clergy member with advanced, specialized education who has received a certified endorsement from her religious institution of choice. Comparable in status and designation to pastors and ministers, chaplains typically serve their community on a wider scope, such as in the military, in penitentiaries, in hospitals, on college campuses, and on global missions. Most religious affiliations have special training and resources for people interested in becoming chaplains. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a special program, the Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries, intended for church members wishing to go through the rigorous process of obtaining ecclesiastical endorsement for a chaplaincy designation.
Become a formal member of a Seventh-day Adventist church. Any applicants who wish to be considered for ecclesiastical endorsement from the Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries must be members in good standing of an Adventist church. Candidates who want to become college chaplains must be members of a church that is local to the campus they wish to serve.
Obtain a graduate degree in theology or pastoral care. The ACM requires all chaplaincy candidates to have an advanced college education, at least a Master of Arts in chaplaincy, theology, religion or ministerial arts. Obtain the degree only from an institution that is accredited by the ACM, to ensure that it is recognized as a legitimate credential during the endorsement process.
Become ordained as an Adventist pastor, and serve as a credentialed minister in an Adventist church for at least two years. All chaplaincy candidates must have at least two years of practical pastoral experience in good standing with an Adventist church in order to be considered for chaplaincy endorsement.
Comply with all legal requirements of your desired chaplaincy position. Adventist chaplains serve in a wide variety of public positions, each of which may have their own legal requirements. A military chaplain must meet all physical and psychological requirements for military enlistment. An educational institution may require its chaplains to clear a legal background check before coming into contact with its students. It is the individual applicant's responsibility to comply with the full legal requirements of his or her desired ministry position.
Complete the application process to receive official ecclesiastical endorsement from the Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries. Candidates must have formal ecclesiastical endorsement for almost all Adventist chaplain jobs in both the public and private spheres. An endorsement serves as a testament to your experience and credentials as a prospective chaplain. It also signifies your commitment to being fully accountable to the church on an ongoing basis in your position of ministry and leadership. Fill out the application kit from the ACM and submit it with all required transcripts, evaluations and letters of recommendation, and submit to the interview process. The Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries will review your application by committee, and notify you whether they have accepted your application for endorsement.
A Master of Arts degree in pastoral care or religion and theology is the bare minimum required advanced education for a chaplaincy endorsement. The endorsement review committee will look more favorably upon an even more advanced post-graduate degree, such as a PhD from an ACM-accredited institution, in theology, religion or related topics.
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