class2. Growth

The LDA offers a flexible education/formation process, which allows you to complete the training at your own pace through an individualized plan, designed to meet your particular growth needs. A distance-learning option is available to all students.

This phase will include developing and completing an individual formation covenant (IFC), deepening involvement with the deaconess community, completing (or demonstrating prior completion) of the academic and theological components, testing ministry/leadership skills, and demonstrating the attitudes, knowledge and skills required in the four areas of education/formation. 

Some components in this phase may be done in a variety of settings; some will need to be under Lutheran auspices; and some will need to be under the direction of the LDA.

The amount of time for this phase will vary depending upon the student’s IFC.  The minimum time in Phase II is two years.  This includes at least three annual seminars and attending at least two Lutheran Deaconess Conference annual meetings.  It is understood that students would attend the annual retreats/seminars and the LDC annual meetings every year they are in the education/formation process. 

While this process does not require any academic degree, and the LDA is not a degree-granting organization, ordinarily students will be encouraged to work toward at least a bachelor’s degree. We work in partnership with Valparaiso University to offer a complete list of courses and experiences for students enrolled at VU, including a graduate degree program. Online learning options for adult learners are also available.

Components of Education and Formation Process


Annual Seminars 
Attend week-long seminars each year until completion of the process.
Individual Formation Covenant
Use the IFC to guide the education/formation process.  Participate in annual self-assessment to update of the IFC.
Diaconate Community 
Maintain and deepen relationships with diaconal community.
  • Attend area deaconess conferences,
  • Attend the Annual Meeting of Lutheran Deaconess Community each year during formation.
Complete academic coursework or demonstrate competence in specific theology areas.
  • Biblical studies such as Old   and New Testaments,
  • Church History,
  • World Religions,
  • Lutheran Doctrine/Lutheran Confessions,
  • Theology of Diaconal Ministry.
  • Specialized ministry courses, depending on your area of focus.
Spiritual Journey
  • Practice spiritual disciplines.
  • Appreciate Lutheran spiritual resources. 
  • Participate in a worshipping community.
  • Keep a journal to reflect on spiritual, personal, and professional growth.
Job/ministry - Field Work 
Participate during the first year in one or two different field work experiences (with supervision) for a total of 100 hours over a nine-month period.
Job/ministry - CPE/CEM
Complete at least one unit of clinical pastoral education or a semester of clinical education for ministry.
Job/ministry - Internship
Complete a year (or less, depending on experience) of practical ministry to integrate specific areas of job/ministry with servant identity.
Meet regularly with the assigned deaconess mentor and maintain contact with the LDA staff via quarterly reports.
Personal Growth 
Work with spiritual director and/or counselor for spiritual and personal growth.
Quarterly Reports 
Send reports to the LDA and to mentor.