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A Life of Faith
The diakonia™ Program
What is the diakonia™ program?
diakonia 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 thorough grounding in the classic seminary disciplines of practical, Biblical, systematic, and historical theology;
By identifying particular skills and aptitudes in ministry and encouraging their use in the local parish;
By providing spiritual growth through worship, retreats, and a supportive community of fellow students, pastor-mentors, 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 the word of Jesus in scripture: “Let the one who would be great among you be your servant [Greek: diakonos]” (Mark 10:4).
What is the emphasis of diakonia?
diakonia emphasizes the baptismal vocation of all Christians to serve as our Lord Jesus served. Participants are usually already leaders or otherwise fully active in their parishes 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 Biblical, theological, liturgical, and historical traditions of the Church. They are committed to serve through the church in a variety of ways: teaching, administration, worship leadership, action for social justice, evangelism, visitation of the sick and homebound, community organization, youth work, ministry among the elderly, and the like. The diakonia Program helps participants, in every way they seek, to grow closer to the image and example of Christ the Servant.
How is diakonia structured?
The diakonia curriculum consists of twelve courses, six per academic year. Each course is five sessions in length and meets weekly for three-hour sessions. Weekly assignments and readings reflect the twin purposes of relating subject matter to the student’s context of life and ministry (family, congregation, neighborhood area of ministry, and work setting) and of 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 congregations. In addition to class time, students, typically, average approximately three-to-five hours of study per week, depending on the particular course. The two-year sequence of courses is as follows:
Series A— Practical Ministry I: The Meaning and Context of the Christian Life in the Lutheran Tradition, Introduction to the New Testament, Church History: The First 400 Years, Lutheran Creeds and Confessions, Practical Ministry II: Visitation (the sick, the homebound, the grieving.), and The Daily Life of a Christian.
Series B—Introduction to the Old Testament, Christian Doctrine, Lutheran Faith in the American Context, Practical Ministry III: To Communicate the Gospel, Christian Worship, and Themes and Issues in Christian Ethics.
What is the Vision/Mission of diakonia™?
The mission of diakonia is to provide a spiritual formation program for adults who desire to build the Kingdom of God by serving a Crucified Lord in a freely responsible manner. diakonia seeks to accomplish this mission by emphasizing that the Biblical and Confessional purpose of one's baptismal calling is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ who came to serve, not to be served. The main focus of diakonia is teaching, equipping, and motivating those who respond to their baptismal calling to serve a Crucified Lord (Jesus Christ) in all aspects of their daily lives. diakonia underscores this teaching, motivating, and equipping by utilizing an approach to ministry called freely responsible servanthood that is capable of handling the many diverse and ever-evolving situations the Christians of today encounter on a daily basis.
diakonia envisions freely responsible servanthood as a practical means for any Christian to live as fully and completely as possible in this fast-paced, ever-changing world. Freely responsible servanthood allows sufficient flexibility combined with a sincere desire to serve on the Lord's behalf that gives it the unique ability and willingness to enter into any situation empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit. diakonia seeks to portray this practical empowerment as a ministry paradigm that allows for individual freedom and responsibility to be held in healthy tension within the witnessing context of daily Christian living.
For more information:
Watch for online information sessions that will be scheduled for July and August.
Contact Dr. Trenton Ferro, Location Manager—firstname.lastname@example.org or (724) 762-0305—if you have any questions, want to learn more, and or wish to enroll in the diakonia program.