Annual Meeting (of the communities)
The Lutheran Deaconess Conference (LDC) includes women who are deaconesses or deaconess students.  The Community of Lutheran Deacons (CLD) includes men who are deacons or deacon students.  Each of the LDA's communities (LDC and CLD) meets annually for worship, business and growth. These are typically four-day events. The location of the annual meetings changes each year, in order to allow participation by those who live farther away from the Center for Diaconal Ministry in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Area Conference LDA deaconesses, deacons and LDA students meet regularly with others in their geographic area for personal sharing, prayer, study, and support.
Clinical Pastoral Education CPE is nationally recognized as a program that teaches pastoral care skills. CPE is typically offered in hospital settings, where students serve with professional chaplains. CPE provides intensive self-reflection and group process in a clinical setting.  (VU students may enroll in Theo 453, Clinical Education for Ministry, in lieu of CPE.)

A sustaining group that gathers in large and small groups for worship, prayer, discernment and sharing mutual concerns. Within community, members are nurtured, supported and challenged. Community is a sign that unity is truly a gift of God's Holy Spirit. The LDA’s diaconal communities grow from the shared commitment to follow Christ’s call to service.

The LDA's diaconate includes two communities: Lutheran Deaconess Conference (for women) and Community of Lutheran Deacons (for men).

Deaconess A Lutheran woman, formed in community, educated in Lutheran theology, consecrated to serve people in church and society.
Deacon A Lutheran man, formed in community, educated in Lutheran theology, consecrated to serve people in church and society.
Diaconate The diaconate is made up of those people set apart by the Christian church for diaconal service.  Deaconesses and deacons of the LDA's diaconate, formed and educated in the Lutheran tradition, share the same faith, call, and values as many Christian diaconates around the world.
Diakonia A Greek word that means “service.” It is used to describe “waiting on tables.” Diakonia is servanthood for the sake of others, that gives dignity to others without demeaning oneself. It’s the kind of service that Jesus showed us how to do.
Discernment A lifelong process of seeking God’s guidance. Discernment can lead to decision-making. Discernment is also used to support personal and spiritual growth in a deepening relationship with God.
Distance-learning The distance-learning option is available to both non-traditional students and traditional students pursuing studies at a college or university other than Valparaiso. Students may find theology courses and work/ministry experiences convenient to their location, as approved by the LDA. Distance-learning students are required to attend week-long seminars in Valparaiso every year during formation.
Education The LDA’s education and formation process includes academic study.  The LDA does not require an academic degree, and the LDA is not a degree-granting organization.  However, theological study is required and ordinarily, students will be encouraged to work toward at least a bachelor’s degree. At least two years of college work is required prior to admission into the process.
Field Work
Supervised volunteer activities during a student's first year in formation provide practice in ministry skills and development of a diaconal identity. A relationship with a supervisor offers time for reflection on personal and professional goals, and for feedback on the student's progress.
Final Interview
This is the final step before consecration by a special committee to indicate the student’s readiness for diaconal ministry and life in community. The student presents a portfolio compiled during Phase III to demonstrate competency in four areas of formation:  spiritual life, theology, work/ministry, and diaconal community.
Formation The LDA's Formation process includes self-reflection and building certain experiences that help students grow in diaconal identity and service.
Individual Formation Covenant
An Individual Formation Covenant (IFC) is developed by the student and the LDA to guide the process, taking into account the student's particular education, experience, and goals.
Internship Internship is a one year experience in a paid position as the student engages in professional ministry and reflection.
Mentor The deaconess or deacon who is assigned by the LDA to support a specific student during the education/formation process.
Roster Each church body sets standards for specific “rosters” (lists of trained and approved workers). While on a roster, church workers are accountable to church body leaders to maintain standards of ministry.
Student seminars are annual weeklong parts of the education and formation process centered in prayer and worship, theology study, learning about diaconal ministry, building community with other students, individual meetings with the LDA staff, and time for personal reflection.
Spiritual Director A spiritual director accompanies one who seeks a deeper relationship with God and who desires to become more aware of the movement of God in one's life. Spiritual directors often have experience and training in discernment and the disciplines of prayer.
Theology Students complete college, university, or seminary classes to fulfill these requirements:  Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures), New Testament, Church History, World Religions, Lutheran Doctrine/Lutheran Confessions, and Theology of Diaconal Ministry.  Other courses may be added, depending on the student’s area of focus.