Chaplains: Specialized Ministry in a Global Setting

A chaplain is a minister of Word and sacrament called by God and ordained by a classis to minister outside the walls of the church. Chaplains extend compassionate care for everyone within their institution regardless of religious preferences; they almost always work in the context of a multifaith team. Other responsibilities include providing worship and ministry leadership, assisting other religious groups by coordinating or contracting for their needs, and advising institutional leadership on moral and ethical issues.

Chaplains are required to receive advanced training and education in order to serve as ministers in this specialized ministry.


RCA chaplains are grounded in their own theological tradition. They have a joyful and unapologetic faith commitment, a strong pastoral identity, and a sense of mission to those they serve. Their appointment and continuation as chaplains depends upon the approval of the denomination through a process called “ecclesiastical endorsement.” This assures that each chaplain is fully qualified to represent his or her faith group.



Find a chaplain:




Support the work of chaplains worldwide:

Your gift to the Chaplains Partnership Fund will help chaplains pursue professional development and will provide spiritual support for chaplains and their families during and after a deployment.
Your gift to the Chaplains Conference Fund will enhance the annual conference offered for RCA chaplains, provide scholarships, and help offset expenses.

Thinking about becoming a chaplain? Learn more about chaplain ministry.


Connect with other RCA chaplains.



Waiting in Darkness

Hospital chaplain Liz Niehoff works in an organ transplant unit. She says her work is anything but easy—but also beautiful, life-giving, and miraculous.

Not Alone: Chaplains Walk with Suffering People

The RCA has 150 ministers serving as chaplains in hospitals, schools, the military, and other contexts. These chaplains offer a ministry of presence to people who are going through difficult times, and this is one of their stories.