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Endorsement for Deacons

Chaplaincy Endorsement for Deacons

Ecclesiastical endorsement is available to deacons serving in ministries of pastoral care and counseling, and as chaplains.

Ecclesiastical endorsement is affirmation that a person is performing a valid ministry of The United Methodist Church and has presented evidence of the special education, training, skills and, when required, professional certification necessary to perform that ministry; the authority granted by the denomination to be appointed to and provide pastoral care and counseling ministry in a specific setting.

Interviews are held in Nashville, Tenn. three times a year. Examples of appointments requiring endorsement include pastoral counselors, marriage and family therapists, and counselors or chaplains in mental health agencies, corrections institutions, hospitals, hospices, children’s homes, retirement communities, and workplaces.


There are four components to service as a chaplain: appointment, credentialing requirements, endorsement, and employment. A deacon may be appointed to serve as a chaplain, if the bishop approves the appointment request.

Deacons who are full or provisional members of annual conferences are eligible for endorsement by the United Methodist Endorsing Agency (UMEA) for nonmilitary settings and must meet the same requirements as elders: conference membership; training; experience; and certification, as appropriate. Endorsement to military and certain settings is limited to elders due to the requirement for sacramental authority in those settings.

Deacons are eligible to serve as endorsed chaplains where they are not required to have responsibility to preside at the sacraments or where serving in team ministry with elders. When seeking a chaplain position, it is important that the deacon express this clearly to a potential employer. Deacons may request from the bishop responsibility to preside in their appointment setting.

Provisional members who have completed seminary may be endorsed. This endorsement is provisional, pending continued progress toward ordination.

Ecclesiastical approval

This is available for ordained or provisional member clergy serving in certain civilian/volunteer settings (chaplains for Civil Air Patrol, law enforcement, fire departments, disaster response, and emergency medical services) and for seminary students pursuing elder's orders who are seeking enrollment in the military chaplain candidate program. Ecclesiastical approval is not equivalent to endorsement. Ecclesiastically approved clergy are required to join a related professional organization.