Chaplaincy ministry in the Adventist Church began at Battle Creek College (ca.1875), and expanded shortly after into Battle Creek Sanitarium and other Adventist health care facilities. World War II prompted a few Adventist ministers with vision to venture into the military services as chaplains. Nearly one hundred Adventist clergy now serve as military chaplains, providing pastoral care for Adventists in the military services. The first Adventist chaplain for a correctional institution started serving in the California State prison system in 1959.
Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries (ACM) was established as a service of the General Conference in 1985 and became a department in 1995.
Adventist chaplains engage in various chaplaincy ministries throughout the world field. They work on school campuses–elementary through university; in correctional institutions and with law enforcement; in health care settings; in the military; in airports and at sporting events, such as the Olympics and more.
The Department is directed by a qualified, ordained minister with chaplaincy experience. The Director is assisted by an associate who is also an ordained minister with chaplaincy experience. The Director also serves as the senior endorser and secretary for the General Conference ACM Committee. The Associate Director represents the ACM Department on accreditation and certification boards and serves as the secretary to those bodies.
All aspects of the General Conference ACM Department’s activities, programs, services and work come under the jurisdiction of the General Conference ACM Committee. The ACM Committee’s “Terms of Reference” delineate its functional responsibilities and level of authority.
The mission of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries is to develop the ministry of Adventist chaplains throughout all the divisions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The ACM mission has four elements:
- To develop and / or sustain chaplaincy ministries; and recruit, endorse, train, and support Adventist clergy as chaplains. ACM endeavors to place qualified Adventist pastors as chaplains on college and university campuses, in community agencies, correctional institutions, health care facilities, military forces, and the work place.
- To oversee and certify professional training programs.
- To endorse and certify capable, competent and caring Adventist clergy as chaplains. All chaplains are first pastors, though not all pastors are called to be chaplains.
- To provide pastoral care and nurture for people regardless of their declared faith or no faith. Chaplains must exercise spiritual leadership with integrity and be professionally proficient, flexible and balanced.
Adventist chaplains providing competent and responsible care for the religious needs and spiritual well-being of all persons associated with the institution or organization they serve.