Ministry to the Armed Forces

Serving those who serve

Armed Forces

The LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces supports almost 200 chaplains, who represent the church on active duty, the reserves, the National Guard, and Civil Air Patrol. Chaplains meet the needs of military personnel and their families.

The LCMS cares deeply for those who currently serve, for those who have donned the cloth of our nation in uniform, and for those who served our nation and live in our communities.

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  • Our pastors of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod serve honorably and with distinction as military chaplains. From the Civil War through both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and current areas of conflict, our chaplains bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to those protecting our great nation.

    Some chaplains serve on forward bases in harm’s way, others onboard ships maintaining vigilant watch over the seven seas, and others walk the flight line on isolated Air Bases engaging Airmen on faith and family as they load fighter aircraft for combat operations. These “pastors in uniform” provide Word and Sacrament ministry while enduring hardship, constant peril and danger.

    The LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces assists and trains congregations through project Operation Barnabas. The goal is to equip and encourage local LCMS members in compassionate care and witness by training outreach to all military connected people (active, reserve, retired, veterans and their loved ones).

    Our LCMS Barnabas congregations and chapters reach out to these families through witness and mercy at the local level, whether it is the families of loved ones deployed or assisting those who have served to reintegrate back home with their family, their church and their community.

Serve as a chaplain

Become a chaplain

Are you interested in serving as a military chaplain? It’s a great ministry and a unique opportunity to serve as a pastor and a missionary in a very special environment.

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Operation Barnabas

Operation Barnabas

Operation Barnabas — the only program of its kind in the U.S. — is the Synod's network of care to our nation’s military members, families and veterans.

 Learn about Operation Barnabas

News and Stories

Ministry to the Armed Forces – Reporter Ministry to the Armed Forces – Reporter
Mission board gets uplifting overseas reports
The LCMS Board for International Mission met Sept. 23 and 24 in St. Louis.

World events receive church’s response
As the world has experienced a series of disasters and international events of far-reaching consequences, the LCMS has responded with prayers, encouragement and financial support.

‘Adopt’ a chaplain
The “Adopt-a-Chap” program connects LCMS congregations with the Synod’s Ministry to the Armed Forces by matching LCMS chaplains with those who wish to encourage them.

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Called to Serve — An article from The Lutheran Witness on two vocations related to military service: the vocation of the soldier or chaplain to defend their country and care for others, and the vocation of congregations to care for and serve the military members and veterans in their midst.
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Resources & Services

Armed Forces commemorations

Congregations may honor military veterans, members and chaplains on Armed Forces Sunday in May, on Veterans Day in November, or any Sunday.

The LCMS provides liturgical suggestions, sermon guides, responsive prayers, bulletin inserts, and other resources to help congregations remember our nation’s military members and veterans.

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Help our Lutheran servicemen and women stay spiritually strong by enrolling them in the Ministry-by-Mail program.

Military members receive a welcome packet with spiritual resources, and they regularly receive copies of Portals of Prayer.



Congregational resources

The LCMS provides ways to help congregations support and care for our military families.

Resources include a list of military bases with nearby LCMS congregations, a Farewell Order of Service, care package instructions and a veterans certificate form.

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So Help Me God is the quarterly newsletter of the LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces. Archived issues are also available.


Adopt-a-Chap program

LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces’ “Adopt-a-Chap” program pairs the Synod’s military chaplains with LCMS congregations, which support them through regular communication and prayer.



Rev. Craig Muehler
Director Ministry to the Armed Forces


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Ministry Overview

The Ministry to the Armed Forces is authorized as the mission arm of the LCMS to support and serve military chaplains — active and reserve — their families and the veteran population.

Download information sheet

How to help

Your gift for LCMS’ Ministry to the Armed Forces provides materials for chaplains, service personnel and veterans and for everything done by this ministry.

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Give by mail:

Make checks payable to: The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod with a memo line or note designating “Ministry to the Armed Forces.”

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
P.O. Box 66861
St. Louis, MO 63166-6861

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8:10 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. Central,
Monday through Friday

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The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Inc., including Mission Central (in Mapleton, Iowa), is an IRS registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity.

A contribution designated (restricted) for a specific purpose when accepted, will be used only to fund expenses related to that purpose. Occasionally, we may receive more in contributions for a particular purpose than can be wisely applied to it in the foreseeable future or the purpose may cease to be feasible. In these situations, the LCMS will make reasonable attempts to contact contributors to apply their contribution differently. If a contributor cannot be contacted, the LCMS will use the gift to meet a similar pressing need that most closely matches the contributor's original intent. Consistent with Synod Board policy, no more than 13.5 percent of a charitable contribution may be allocated to administering gifts and communicating with contributors. Contributions received and accepted by the LCMS are deemed to be in agreement with this statement.

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