CALLING A DEACONESS/DEACON

Lisa and Debbie in stohlsSo, you want to have a deaconess/deacon student intern with you or have a deaconess come work in your church?  Great!  Here is some information for you.

What does a deaconess/deacon do?
Deaconess/deacon ministry varies depending upon the needs of the setting and the deaconess’ own gifts and abilities. There is no typical job description.

A deaconess/deacon 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/deacons combine faith and service to church and society.

What kind of job qualifications does a deaconess/deacon have?

A deaconess/deacon forms her/his 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 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
  • Educator
  • Social worker
  • Counselor
  • Chaplain
  • 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/deacon 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/deacons who are ready to serve with you.  Call the LDA, 219-464-6925, or e-mail: deacserv@valpo.edu