Chaplaincy & Endorsed Ministries

Not all United Methodist clergy serve in church congregations. Bishops can appoint clergy to specialized ministries beyond the local church. Today, more than 1,700 United Methodist clergy endorsed by GBHEM’s United Methodist Endorsing Agency (UMEA) are answering God’s call and taking their ministry beyond the church doors.

Chaplains, pastoral counselors and other providers of spiritual care are needed in a wide range of settings, and our clergy can be found serving everywhere from military outposts to hospitals, prisons, counseling centers and truck stops. The ministry of endorsed clergy is a gift of the Church to the world in the name of Jesus Christ, partially fulfilling God’s promise to the spiritual heirs of Abraham and Sarah, “… and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:3)

Check out GBHEM’s “Heirs of Wesley” video below to learn more about some of the many ministry settings available for endorsement.

Endorsed clergy are appointed to serve as chaplains in settings that include:

  • Military services
  • Healthcare institutions
  • Prisons
  • Workplaces
  • Retirement communities
  • Children’s homes
  • Schools

Additionally, UMEA endorses clergy for appointment as:

Approved clergy are also serving as volunteer chaplains in settings such as:

  • Law enforcement
  • Fire departments
  • Airports
  • Civil Air Patrol
  • Coast Guard Auxiliary
  • Volunteer State Guard

Institutions which certify and employ chaplains or spiritual care providers often require evidence of endorsement as a condition of employment or certification. Governmental agencies, corporations, professional associations and other secular institutions look to the churches to identify clergy rooted in their traditions, professionally qualified, and ecclesiastically authorized to provide ministry in these specialized settings.

Within GBHEM, UMEA is responsible for identifying, endorsing and supporting these clergy in ministries across the United States. Outside the United States, approval is managed by annual conferences.

Learn more about endorsement by UMEA.

Contact UMEA at or call 615-340-7411.