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How Do I Become An ADF Chaplain?


The process for getting into ADF chaplaincy is fairly complex. Before the recruiting process can begin a candidate has to be an ordained/accredited minister of one of the churches that is part of the Memorandum of Arrangements with the Australian Defence Force, including the member denominations of the Federal United Churches Chaplaincy Board or FUCCB (Baptist, Lutheran, Salvation Army, Churches of Christ and Australian Christian Church/Assemblies of God), whom I represent on the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services (RACS).

Appointment as an ADF chaplain depends on several factors including:

  • The candidate being an ordained/accredited minister of one of the denominations entitled to nominate chaplains to the ADF, and in good standing with that denomination.
  • The candidate being theologically trained to a minimum of a 3 year B.Th. degree or equivalent.
  • The candidate having had at least 2 years full time experience in pastoral ministry in a local church/parish setting.
  • The candidate being nominated to the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services (RACS)  by one of the member church bodies
  • The candidate being approved by RACS and passed on to one of the 3 service principal chaplains
  • There being a vacancy that needs to be filled that cannot be filled by a denomination that has a higher priority
  • The candidate successfully negotiating the recruiting process which includes interviews with principal chaplains and/or regional staff chaplains, medical checks, fitness tests, psych tests, security checks and finally appearing before an Officer Selection Board and receiving its recommendation.

By now you are probably feeling quite confused. Don’t worry. It’s a good introduction to life in the ADF. However, what it really means is that we need to start the ball rolling by obtaining official confirmation of your status within your denomination and its support of your application. Following that, the process usually takes about 6 months to complete.

Kind Regards

Rev Robert Smith

United Churches Member

Religious Advisory Committee to the Services

2 comments to How Do I Become An ADF Chaplain?

  • Frederick Fatialofa

    Greetings! I would like to take the opportunity to say how interested I am at becoming a chaplain in the Australian Defence Force. I am living in Seattle, Washington in the United States of America. But I am hoping to transition my family to Australia in the coming year. I am a New Zealand Citizen but have been living abroad for the last six years. I was a chaplain and associate pastor in the Northern Mariana Islands where I worked closely with military families who were serving in the United States Army. I am hoping that I can look into further becoming a chaplain in the Australian Defence Force.

  • Ian

    Hi Frederick, As you have already noted from the post, the process takes a while. The first step is to seek affiliation and accreditation with one of the approved Churches. This is a rewarding ministry, with unique challenges. All the best for the process of moving your family to Australia. If you have any specific questions, let me know.

    Regards, Ian.

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