Are you interested in reaching out to serve others? Do you feel a call to work with those in need across the nation or the world?
If so, you may have a calling to enter Concordia University Chicago's long-standing Deaconess Studies program. Through a series of coursework, you will be equipped to serve people in need through congregations, agencies, institutions or missionary work. Deaconesses have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include teaching, visitation, ministering to the grieving, counseling, and helping others to use their gifts of service.
Concordia’s deaconess studies program allows graduates to become certified and practice in just five years. It is the only undergraduate program leading to deaconess certification in The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). Studies include a one-year, paid internship. While the program is designed especially for women who plan to serve in the LCMS, it is open to all.
Graduates of the deaconess program are eligible for certification by the LCMS as deaconesses, in the category of Minister of Religion-Commissioned. They receive their first placement through the Synodical Placement Office. Students can also combine their studies with programs in education, social work or not-for-profit business management to have even more career opportunities.
Community is an important part of deaconess student life. Students meet regularly to study God’s word, pray and worship. They also gather for retreats, fellowship and fun. Community life extends to the professional deaconess who prays regularly for students and visits campus for Bible studies and classes.
To date, more than 180 women have completed the Deaconess Program since its beginning at Concordia University Chicago in 1980.
General Course Information
At the end of successful program completion, students will earn a bachelor of arts degree and are eligible to receive the LCMS deaconess certification and/or placement as an LCMS deaconess, although this is not a guaranteed certification or placement.
You will take courses in deaconess ministry, Lutheran doctrine and ministry skills. In addition, you will have guided practical experience in field work and a year-long internship to serve those in need. Your courses and our faculty will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed.
Deaconess students may double major in areas such as education or minor in social work, sociology, psychology, biblical languages or Spanish. Many students also choose to combine their undergraduate training with a master’s degree in gerontology, social work, counseling or business administration.
The year-long, paid deaconess internship is a great opportunity for students to tryout the things they’ve learned in the classroom and to grow from new experiences. CUC’s interns have served in institutions and congregations throughout the U.S. and in the mission field in countries such as Guatemala, China, Thailand, Germany, England and others. Assignments for internships are made by the program director after consultation with each student.
Concordia’s faculty, staff, curriculum, location and library resources enhance the offerings of the program. Our theological faculty is recognized and highly respected throughout the Synod and beyond. They are authors of numerous books, articles and commentaries, and serve as adjunct faculty for LCMS seminaries.
CUC’s location provides easy access to the cultural, learning and servant opportunities of Chicago. A rich variety of Lutheran congregations and service organizations exist within an easy distance to campus. Our library is one of the oldest and most complete theological libraries in the Synod, with access to the resources of other major Chicago schools.