Deepening your specialization

Becoming Endorsed by FCM

Religious body endorsement is an official declaration by a religious body that a person is in good standing with that religious body, has a relationship of clear accountability with that religious body, and has met certain ethical and competency standards to serve in a specialized ministry – such as chaplaincy, pastoral counseling, or clinical pastoral education.

Endorsement also means that the endorsed person can represent that religious body in a specialized ministerial setting.

What is Endorsement?

Ecclesiastical endorsement is a formal process through which an individual receives approval and support from their faith community or religious organization for a specific purpose, such as pursuing a career or engaging in a particular ministry. This endorsement serves as a testimony to the individual’s moral character, spiritual maturity, and adherence to the beliefs and practices of their faith.

In many cases, ecclesiastical endorsement is a prerequisite for certain religious positions, such as chaplaincy or religious education, ensuring that the individual possesses the necessary qualifications to effectively serve in their chosen capacity.

Obtaining endorsement from one’s faith community is essential for several reasons. First, it ensures that the individual is genuinely committed to their faith and is prepared to represent it with integrity and authenticity.

This is particularly important in roles such as chaplaincy, where individuals provide spiritual care and guidance to people from diverse backgrounds and faith traditions. Endorsement also serves as a means of accountability, as the individual is expected to uphold the standards and values of their faith community in their professional and personal life.

Additionally, the endorsement process often involves an assessment of the individual’s theological and pastoral competencies, helping to guarantee that they possess the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their role. Ultimately, ecclesiastical endorsement is a means of promoting excellence and integrity within faith-based organizations and ensuring that their representatives are equipped to effectively serve others.

The Endorsement Process

You must be a commissioned member in good standing with FCM before you can begin the endorsement process. The general process for endorsement with FCM involves:

  • Connect with your regional vice president to discuss your intention to seek endorsement
  • Contact the regional endorsement liaison that serves your region (below)
  • Completion of the application form
  • Submission of required documentation
  • Meeting with a regional FCM interview committee (selected and organized by the candidate),
  • Submission of the interview committee’s report,
  • Recommendation by the FCM National Committee on Specialized Ministries, and final approval by The Circle of Directors

A recommendation is based on a thorough review of the candidate’s application materials, letters of recommendation, verifications, and the written report from the local/regional interview committee.

You can find the regional liaison from this list:

Upcoming deadlines for submission of application materials:

  • September 27, 2024
  • January 3, 2025
  • April 11, 2025

Already an FCM member?

If you are already an FCM member, you can access more information via the member portal.

FCM is a member organization of the COMISS Network.

The COMISS Network: The Network on Ministry in Specialized Settings was founded as the Council on Ministry in Specialized Settings in June of 1979. It is a national organization of chaplaincy, pastoral care, and pastoral counseling stakeholders. The organization has been known as the Council, Congress, Coalition, and, now, Network on Ministry in Specialized Settings or less formally, or for short – The COMISS Network.