“Faded from the Military, but not from Service.”
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Ministry  to Soldiers

A church with a focused military ministry is one which has developed a unique and creative ministry to the military. The military ministry of a focused church goes beyond being military-friendly to the place of having a vision, plan, and strategy which actually has been worked out and put into practice by those leading the ministry. Ministry to and missions through the military is a significant aspect of the vision of a focused church. However, having a focused military ministry does not mean that this is the total emphasis of the church, but rather one important ministry and way of doing missions.


The Seventh-day Adventist Church does not encourage its young people to join the armed forces; nevertheless, it is a fact that many Seventh-day Adventist youth and young adults join the different branches of our military. When this happens the Seventh-day Adventist Church must continue to minister, love, and support, the Adventist soldier.

Non-combatancy, Conscientious Objector status and Sabbath observance are just a few examples of the areas where our youth are in need of information.  If needed, the draft could be reinstated quickly and all SDA males from the ages of 20-26 will immediately be subject to induction.  (The registration age is 18.)  They need to be aware of the procedure for appealing to a Draft Board for a classification in keeping with their faith.  

  General Conference formed a Study Committee on Military Service in 1971. This large committee received and debated many papers, and remained deeply divided [interviews]. When Annual Council took up the matter in 1972, it chose to include both the militant patriots and the Adventist pacifists, declaring that military service was a matter of individual conscience. Its vehicle in this was the statement on military obligations voted by the General Conference Session in 1954 (quoted above), which it transformed by adding to it a new ending:

  "This statement is not a rigid position binding church members but gives them guidance, leaving the individual member free to assess the situation for himself."

   “For those who conscientiously choose the 1-A classification (military service as a combatant), pastoral guidance and counsel should be provided in ministering to their needs since the Church refrains from passing judgment on them"  [Annual Council, 1972].


Professor Ronald Lawson

Department of Urban Studies

Queens College

March 1996

  In addition, for our members currently in uniform we provide publications which keep them spiritually in touch with the church while serving the nation such as; Message Magazine, Adventist Review, Sabbath School Quarterlies and many others all sent free of charge by NSO to anywhere their service takes them.  (See the Email Section of the CONTACT US page for a Registration Form.)  

  The church and its relationship to the military has been an important issue to SDA since the Civil War, but without a draft since the Vietnam conflict over 30 years ago, many are lowering their guards in this area.  It is my prayer and goal to get the message out to every local conference church member of the many services your conference provides to you or your loved ones in uniform through the National Service Organization, (NSO).  

 One way to accomplish this is through a dynamic PowerPoint seminar followed by a Question and Answer session. This presentation will graphically depict the atrocities of War.  This clears up issues that cloud the minds of our youth that are in the valley of decision and brings much needed information to rightly concerned parents.  This seminar is available at no cost to our conference churches and many churches have taken advantage of this opportunity and their members have been blessed as a result.  So if it has not been presented at your church, please speak with your Pastor or AYS Leader about scheduling an NSO Day.  

Chaplain Ceballos holds a Doctor of Ministries degree on Religion Culture and Society from Boston University. He is a board-certified chaplain by the Association of Professional Chaplains. In addition, he also serves as a chaplain in the United States Navy Reserve with the rank of Commander.

North American Div.  Links: North American Div Chaplaincy Min.

ACM / General Conference Chaplaincy Director

CDR Mario Ceballos, CHC, USN (Retired) Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries
A few photos of the Adventist chaplaincy

The Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries (ACM) Department serves as the ecclesiastical endorsing agency for the General Conference and North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  As the denomination’s liaison with ecclesiastical, government and professional organizations, ACM assists qualified Adventist clergy to transition from pastoral ministry into the chaplaincy ministries of campus, community, corrections, healthcare, military and the work place.  The qualifications required to become a chaplain are church membership in regular standing, holding a current denominational commissioned or ministerial license, meeting all requirements of the employing agency and obtaining ecclesiastical endorsement from the ACM Committee.          

Chaplaincy ministry in the Adventist Church began at Battle Creek College (ca.1875), and expanded shortly after into Battle Creek Sanitarium and other Adventist healthcare facilities.  WW 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.  Currently over 350 Adventist clergy engage in one of the chaplaincy ministries across North America.  Several hundred others engage in various chaplaincy ministries in the other countries of the world field.   

Also under the ACM umbrella are chaplain associations for the various chaplaincies. ACM conducts an annual training conference for each association, provides chaplains with resource materials and represents their interests.  Assistant ACM Directors work as Field Representatives of the ACM Department throughout the North American Division.  They are ordained ministers (chaplains) who extend the reach of the ACM Department, promote its vision and help accomplish its mission.  They inform Adventist students, church members, pastors and leaders about chaplain opportunities and military-related issues by visits to campuses, young adult groups, clergy training conferences, etc.             

Following WW II the National Service Organization (NSO) was established to assist church members serving in the military.  Through an offering taken the second Sabbath in June on even years, NSO provides military church members in uniform with Bible kits, church journals, devotional books and religious literature.  ACM evolved from the NSO in 1985.  ACM (NSO) also sponsors religious retreats for military-related members stationed overseas and helps resolve problems with accommodation of religious practice.  Numbers of Adventist Military Chapel Worship Groups conduct Sabbath services in the current combat theater, Europe, Japan and Korea.


Address: 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904

Phone:        (301) 680-6780 Fax: (301) 680-6783

SOURCES:  General Conference of Seventh - Day Adventist Chaplaincy North American Division of SDA Chaplaincy Ministry

Dr. Anderson served for 19 years as a U.S. Navy chaplain. His last assignment before retirement from the Navy was as the Deputy Chaplain for Joint Forces Headquarters-National Capitol Region at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.  His portfolio includes Joint Plans and Operations for Religious Support for ceremonies and circumstances that might overwhelm the capacity of civil authorities.  He also served as the Chief of the Department of Pastoral Care and Clinical Ethicist at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital on Fort Belvoir.

LCDR Paul Anderson, USN (Retired)

These great men cover -

NAD Chaplaincy Associate Directors L-R:Washington Johnson, William Cork, Jose McLaughlin, James North, Art Slagle ACM  North American Division  Chaplaincy Director NAD Chaplaincy Website Adventist in Uniform General Conf. Links: Chaplaincy Ministry