Diakonia - Preparing people to be the Church of Tomorrow
If you have ever felt drawn to be more effective in the ministries you are already involved in or inspired to start something new in your community or just wanted to learn more about the Christian faith, but you just didn’t know where to start, diakonia may be a good fit for you.
Growing In Faith: Diakonia’s Call to Discipleship
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
— Matthew 28: 18-20 NIV
Growing In Faith: Diakonia Overview
When Jesus told his disciples, “Come, follow me,” (Mathew 4:19 NIV), it wasn’t simply a call for them to follow Jesus on the road. It was an invitation to life-long discipleship. That meant learning, listening, and sharing Jesus directly through his Word. In fact, the definition of disciple means follower or student.
Diakonia is a call to discipleship. The invitation is to live our lives for Christ, to commune with other Christians, and to undertake theological learning that will mature our understanding of the Word and carry that learning to others in love and service.
Begun by a Lutheran pastor to support the work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Diakonia is offered to both ELCA members and others interested in learning more about their Christian faith. Currently active in 11 out of 65 ELCA synods, the program develops dynamic disciples by providing:
- Rich, theological education
- A deepened appreciation of the Bible – dynamic, living and transformational
- Clarity in forms of grace-filled service
The Growing In Faith: Diakonia curriculum consists of twelve courses, with six courses offered each academic year. Participants begin with a Foundation’s Year and then may choose to continue their formation through a Practical Year. Each course has five weekly sessions that meet in three-hour increments. Weekly assignments and reading are designed to relate subject matter to the students’ context of life and ministry.
Tuition cost is $65/course, $390/year. A registration fee of $30 covers start up and celebration costs. The cost for books for each course varies, but typically doesn’t exceed $30/course. Financial assistance is available upon request. Your home congregation may offer some financial assistance as well.
More than a course of study, Diakonia is a chance to heed Christ’s call, to grow spiritually and to commit to a life-long spiritual journey spent on the road with our Lord.
Current Meeting Situation
Diakonia sites are currently meeting in-person and online through Zoom.
I entered Diakonia wondering why was I an ELCA Lutheran? Had I just gone with the flow of what was easiest for me and my family? I graduated from Diakonia being thankful for the opportunity to develop my understanding of, faith in, and ability to serve our God. We are united with other Christians through our belief in the redeeming birth, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, but we do have differences in how we live that belief out. I have come to appreciate the ELCA’s willingness to openly discuss and welcome our differences – I think the body of Christ is “richer” for it!
If you want to find a bright light then Diakonia is for you! When you participate in Diakonia you don’t just find God, you find yourself. Doing Diakonia made me stronger in my faith and more caring for others.
It is a gift and joy to teach and learn alongside students who are curious and excited to learn more about the God who loves them/us so. I savor seeing their ‘Aha! Moments’ as faith comes alive in new ways.
When I signed up for Diakonia classes, I had no expectations of where this program would lead me. I just wanted to know the Bible better. Through the teaching, the reading, the class discussions, the reflections I gained so much more than facts.
Diakonia developed and connected me to live in a deeper relationship with God. I highly recommend it to everyone.
Diakonia is an exciting, informative and eye-opening experience that has encouraged me to dig deeper into my own relationship with Christ.
I have been spiritually enlightened, not only from the knowledge gained but especially from the treasured relationships formed with the Pastors who taught and my fellow classmates whom God placed on my path to share this incredible journey with.