The diakonia™ Program is a two-year process of spiritual formation and theological education for baptized members of the Lutheran Church.

What is the diakonia™ program

diakoniaTMlogoThe diakonia Program is a two-year process of spiritual formation and theological education for baptized members of the Lutheran Church.  This process occurs in three basic ways:

  • By a thorough grounding in the classic seminary disciplines of practical, systematic, historical and Biblical theology;
  • by identifying and encouraging particular skills in ministry;
  • by providing spiritual growth through worship, retreats, and a supportive community of fellow students and instructors.

These are the tools diakonia uses to help equip God’s people for service in parish and neighborhood ministries.  The primary theme and focus of the diakonia experience is found in this word of Scripture:  “Let the one who would be great among you be your servant (diakonos).”  Mark 10:43



What is diakonia’s™ emphasis?

diakonia emphasizes the baptismal vocation of all Christians to serve as did our Lord Jesus.  Participants are usually already leaders in their churches, and have a high degree of commitment to the ministry of the Church.  They want to deepen their life of faith and ground their baptismal commitment to serve in the scriptural, theological, liturgical and historical traditions of the church.  They are committed to serve through the Church in a variety of ways:  teaching, administration, liturgical leadership, action for social justice, evangelism, visitation of the sick, community organization, youth work, ministry among the elderly, and the like.  In every way they seek, and are helped by diakonia, to grow closer to the image and example of Christ the servant.


How is diakonia™ structured?

diakonia is a two year course of study which consists of twelve courses – six courses each year. Each course is five weeks in length, meeting once a week for three hours each.  Weekly assignments and readings reflect the twin purposes of relating subject matter to the student’s context of life and ministry (family, parish, neighborhood, area of ministry), and  giving a solid background to the topic.  Students work at their own level, and assignments reflect the understanding that students are already busy in their families, jobs and parish.  Typically, students average approximately 2-3 hours of study per week in addition to class time.


diakonia™ Program Courses

All courses are taught by pastors and/or lay professionals particularly skilled in that area of instruction or ministry.  diakonia courses combine theological knowledge with practical skills. All students are encouraged to work at their own level of theological knowledge, academic training and experience in ministry.  


  1. Introduction to the New Testament.
  2. Church History: The First 400 years.
  3. Practical Ministry I: Biblical Images of the Life of the Church
  4. Lutheran Creeds and Confessions
  5. Practical Ministry II: Visitation (Nursing   Homes, Hospital, Homebound, Terminally Ill etc.)
  6. The Daily Life of the Christian



  1. Introduction to the Old Testament
  2. Lutheran Faith in the American Context 
  3. Christian Doctrine
  4. Christian Worship    
  5. Themes & Issues in Christian Ethics
  6. Practical Ministry III: Communicating the Gospel


How much does diakonia™ cost?

Tuition: The annual tuition is $360.

Registration:   A non-refundable Registration Fee of $25 is required at the beginning of each year in September.

Books:  Actual costs for books vary from course to course; the average is $25-30 per course.

Graduation Fee:  A $25 Graduation Fee is collected from graduating 2nd year students.

Retreats:  There is an annual PA diakonia retreat held every year.       The cost varies from synod to synod. Attendance, while not required, is strongly recommended.

Financial Aid:  Financial aid is available, plus we strongly encourage congregations to help support their lay leaders with the costs of this program. However, it’s our goal to turn no one who the Holy Spirit leads to the diakonia Program away because financial need. If you need Financial Aid simply request an application for it.



PA diakonia Locations: (updated April 2013)

Tuesday: 7 pm –Resurrection Yardley, PA

Tuesday: 7 pm – St. John’s, Phoenixville

Tuesday: 6:30 pm — Trinity Landsdale, PA

In addition to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod the diakonia Program is currently operating in the Florida-Bahamas, Greater Milwaukee, Indiana-Kentucky, Metropolitan Chicago, Metropolitan New York, New Jersey, and Northern Illinois Synods of the ELCA.

If you’d like more information or an application for enrollment contact:

John Thebus, Chair
PA diakonia

diakonia™ and the “Cross and Towel” logo are registered trademarks of The diakonia Program, Inc. Used with Permission.