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Correctional Chaplaincy Overview

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Correctional Chaplaincy Overview

Despite armed guards, gigantic fences topped with razor wire and peers with a penchant for trouble, many men, women and juveniles are coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ while in prison. Currently there are more than 2 million people incarcerated in the United States—most do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. Where some people only see in prisoners the worst that society has to offer, chaplains see a massive and continually growing mission field filled with desperate people hungry for the peace only a relationship with Christ can bring.

Each day chaplains are penetrating the darkness of prisons despite the challenges and dangers. Such a ministry can be intense and stressful, yet for those called to correctional chaplaincy there is nothing more rewarding than bringing the gospel to a vast, eclectic and ever-changing population.

A correctional chaplain’s main job is to provide for the free exercise of religion of all inmates. But within such broad parameters the ECC / DILN chaplain has numerous opportunities to share his or her faith through counseling, Bible studies, worship and prayer services, and cogent mentoring relationships with inmates and prison staff alike.

As they communicate God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness, chaplains are seeing lives powerfully changed in prisons and jails across the nation. Each day chaplains walk with prisoners, challenging them to live better lives and giving them the moral tools to do so. Chaplains also help prison administrators keep the institution running smoothly by being dependable, calming and stabilizing forces.

Throughout the United States and worldwide, Evangelical Christian Church correctional chaplains will be found fulfilling the Great Commission in juvenile, state, federal, county and private institutions as well as in aftercare programs.

For most correctional chaplaincy positions one must meet educational and pastoral requirements. For those interested in ministering in the federal prison system a master of theology or the equivalent degree from an accredited seminary or university is required.

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Correctional Chaplaincy Requirements

For Chaplaincy Applicants

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

DILN Dayspring 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.

The roles and functions of Correctional Chaplains will vary depending on the institutions and specific ministry settings in which they serve. Chaplains have opportunities to minister to inmates, their families, their victims, and the law enforcement officials with whom they work. Men and women who are incarcerated are often open to the gospel because hope is gone, friends have forsaken them, money has run out, and many families have disintegrated. Under the circumstances, chaplains must depend on the direction of the Holy Spirit to discern the correct time and the most effective way to witness and counsel.

Ecclesiastical Endorsement

Ecclesiastical endorsement is the written acknowledgement by a faith group/denomination that an individual is in good standing and meets the qualifications for clergy credentials with their faith group/denomination. Generally speaking, major institutions, federal/state correctional systems, and healthcare facilities require that chaplains and pastoral counselors have the endorsement of their respective faith group/denomination. The Dayspring Board of Chaplains have adopted the following criteria for endorsement.

ADVANCED CHAPLAINCY ENDORSEMENT

  • Ordination
  • 2 years pastoral experience
  • MDIV (or its equivalent) with an institution accredited with Association of Theological Schools (ATS)
  • 4 Units of CPE preferred, amount determined by hiring agency
  • Active, full-time paid chaplaincy position
  • Eligible for certification with professional organization
  • References including one from their Diocese
  • Background check
  • Credit check
  • Approval by Endorser
  • Interview with the Dayspring Board of Chaplains

STANDARD CHAPLAINCY ENDORSEMENT

  • Ordination
  • 2 years pastoral experience
  • Education as required by hiring agency
  • CPE as required by hiring agency
  • Be an active, paid chaplain working full or part time in a chaplaincy ministry.
  • References including one from their Diocese or Conference
  • Background check
  • Credit check
  • Approval by Endorser
  • Interview with the Dayspring Board of Chaplains

BASIC CHAPLAINCY ENDORSEMENT

  • Diocese or Regional level credentials
  • Ministry experience
  • Education as required by hiring agency
  • References including one from their Diocese
  • Background check
  • Credit check
  • Personal interview with a representative of the Department
  • Approval given by endorser
  • Ratification by the Dayspring Board of Chaplains

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Federal Bureau of Prisons Chaplaincy

 

Master of Divinity degree or the equivalent (20 graduate hours of theology, 20 graduate hours of sacred writings, 20 graduate hours of church history or comparative religions, and 20 graduate hours of ministry courses) from a Regional or Nationally accredited seminary or school of theology.

 

Ordained by the Evangelical Christian Church Worldwide.

 

Two years of pastoral ministry with experience in conducting: baptisms, communion services, weddings, funerals, and death notifications.

 

Willingness to provide religious and worship services in the tradition of one’s

faith group and coordinate programs for inmates of all faiths.

Selected by the Federal Bureau of Prisons by age 37.

 

Pass physical requirements and examination by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Make application to the National Chaplaincy Department for Advanced Endorsement.

 

Interview with Commission on Chaplains in Springfield, MO. Interviews are scheduled twice a year in May and November.

 

Debt can be a hindering issue for this type of Chaplaincy Ministry. If you have concerns that this might be a factor for you, please contact our office to discuss this with the endorser.

 

State Correctional Chaplaincy


Educational requirements will vary by state, but generally a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree is required. Applicants should contact the appropriate state Department of Corrections for information concerning educational qualifications.

 

Credentialed by the Evangelical Christian Church Worldwide.

 

Two years of pastoral ministry with experience in conducting: baptisms, communion services, weddings, funerals, and death notifications.

 

Willingness to provide and coordinate programs for inmates of all faiths.

 

Make application to the National Chaplaincy Department for Endorsement. Level of endorsement is determined by the Chaplaincy Department and is based upon education, ministerial credentials, and employment status. (See Endorsement Levels.)

 

Interview with Dayspring Board of Chaplains or Chaplaincy Representative, depending on Endorsement Level.

 

City and County Jail Chaplaincy

 

Educational requirements will vary by facility. Contact individual facility for their specifications.

 

Credentialed by the Evangelical Christian Church.

 

Two years of pastoral ministry with experience in conducting: baptisms, communion services, weddings, funerals, and death notifications.

 

Willingness to provide and coordinate programs for inmates of all faiths.

 

Make application to the National Chaplaincy Department for Endorsement. Level of endorsement is determined by the Chaplaincy Department and is based upon education, ministerial credentials, and employment status. (See Endorsement Levels.)

 

Interview with Commission on Chaplains or Chaplaincy Representative, depending on Endorsement Level.

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