Growing in Faith: The Diakonia Program

Course Guide

Foundation Year – Six 5-week classes

This first year of study will provide a strong foundation which will be built upon in year 2 and subsequent study. Each synod should offer this foundation year of classes each year with in-person classes in order to establish the community that has been so important to this program. Zoom options should also be offered for those either not close enough, or with physical limitations, which prevent attending in person.

Christianity in a Lutheran Key

While all Christians share a common set of theological beliefs, Lutherans look at things through a filter of grace. In this course we will discover more about our Lutheran roots. Students will be presented with materials that will help them answer “I’m a Lutheran, so what?” We will also look forward to challenges that face us in the future.

Intro to the Old Testament

The world of the Old (or First) Testament can seem very distant from ours. In fact, it is! In time, 2000-3000 years and, in distance, about 6000 miles lie between us. Barriers posed by different ethnicities, languages, cultures, geography, histories, politics, and even religious practices are daunting. The effort to bridge the divide can seem not worth the trouble. For too many, for too long, the New Covenant (Testament) in Jesus Christ has totally overshadowed the older witnesses to God’s work in the world.

This course seeks to help group members recognize universal, enduring truths embedded in the particular lives of the people—our sisters and brothers in faith—who were the first to live as God’s Chosen Ones. Strange though they may be to us, our aim is to enter with hearts and minds into their world so God’s Spirit can reveal God at work in human life of all times and places, including our own.

Intro New Testament

The goals of this course are to understand the gospel message as revealed in the New Testament (NT), to explore the life and faith of the Christian church in the first century, to understand how the Bible came down to us in its present form, and to understand and use a variety of tools for interpreting the Bible. Throughout the course students will reflect on how the New Testament Gospel has shaped our Christian lives.

Lutheran Creeds and Confessions

This course provides an analysis of the historical context and theological content of the Book of Concord (the Lutheran Confession), with an eye to establishing the importance of its witness for Christian mission and ministry. To gain an understanding of the chief theological positions of the Book of Concord in their historical setting in order to apply them to the life of the Lutheran Christian today.

Living Every Day as a Christian

This course allows students to explore what it means to live as a Christian disciple. Students will discuss and explore discipleship at home, in their Christian community and the community at large. They will explore various spiritual practices that might be useful in daily living.

Worship Matters

Why do we worship Sunday after Sunday? Is worship intended for an ‘in group’ to comfort and console? Is worship intended to equip for mission and service? Is worship for God or for us? As we explore these questions, we will discover tensions in worship: a God focus or a communal focus, a head focus or a heart focus, a structured worship or a free worship, a universal church focus or a focus on the local assembly and its needs.

How we worship as a community will be informed by our roots in the Western Church’s liturgical tradition as well as by social and cultural experiences in a particular time and place. Through our conversations we will challenge and equip one another for the ongoing renewal of the worship life of the church.