So, you think you might want to have a deaconess/deacon student intern with you or have a deaconess come work in your church and its ministries? Great! Here is some information for you.
What does a deaconess do?
Deaconess ministry varies depending upon the needs of the setting and the deaconess’ own gifts and abilities. There is no typical job description.
A deaconess might:
- Teach or lead Christian education programs
- Recruit and/or train volunteers, equipping others for service
- Facilitate small groups
- Plan meaningful worship, devotions, or prayer time
- Coordinate social ministry activities, reaching out to those who are marginalized
- Help a congregation in its work with all ages – children, youth, adults, and families
- Respond to times of special concern – illness, grief, disabilities, or life transitions – bringing God’s healing touch to people in need.
Deaconesses combine faith and service to church and society.
What kind of job qualifications does a deaconess have?
A deaconess forms her servant leader identity through education in
theology, support from a community, intentional spiritual reflection,
and experience in ministry. The LDA offers a flexible education and formation process which allows students to progress at their own pace. Plans are individualized and designed to meet the student’s particular growth needs. Before consecration, a deaconess student must demonstrate:
- Completion of theology courses at the undergraduate or graduate level (at the Concordia’s, Valparaiso, other Lutheran universities or seminaries, in LCMS or ELCA Lay Ministry programs, and other institutions)
- Specialized ministry courses
- Supervised field work (9 months)
- Year-long internship in a paid and supervised setting
- One unit of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) or equivalent
- Relationship with the deaconess community
- Deepening of spiritual and prayer life
- Development of attitudes and vision for ministry to the whole people of God.
Some deaconesses bring professional backgrounds such as:
- Nurse or health care provider
- Social worker
- Church musician
- Youth director
Others bring expertise such as:
- Multi-cultural or diversity background
- Spiritual direction
- Business or administration
- Care for senior citizens
- Child care
- And more…
What does the ministry setting provide?
- Salary and benefits (check with your church body for suggested salary and benefit guidelines for professional church workers or your agency’s salary and benefit package)
- Interview and moving expenses
- Partnership in ministry and guidance about your setting
- Time and support for participation in deaconess events
What’s the next step?
- Determine if you want a deaconess or a student intern (click here for Internship FAQs)
- Prepare a description of the ministry your setting hopes to provide
- Work with the LDA to identify some deaconesses who are ready to serve with you. Call the LDA, 219-464-6925, or e-mail: email@example.com