Metro Chicago Synod, ELCA

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, systematic, historical, and Biblical 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, 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 (e.g. Mark 10:43): “Let the one who would be great among you be your servant (Greek: Diakonos).


The 2018 graduation took place June 23rd at Edison Park Lutheran Church in Chicago

2018 Metro Chicago diakonia graduates

Click Here To View the Metro Chicago Synod Diakonia Page

Program Overview

What is the emphasis of Diakonia?
Diakonia emphasizes the baptismal vocation of all Christians to serve as did our Lord Jesus. Participants are usually already leaders 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 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?
The diakonia curriculum consists of twelve courses, six per academic year. Each course is 5 sessions in length, and meets weekly for 3 hour sessions. Weekly assignments and reading reflect the twin purposes of relating subject matter to the students’ context of life and ministry (family, parish, neighborhood area of ministry), 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 parish. Typically, students average approximately two to five hours of studies per week in addition to class time.


How much does diakonia cost?Tuition: Tuition will be $360 (each year for the two-year program). Tuition may be paid by class. Diakonia has a financial aid program.

Books: Actual costs vary from course to course, but instructors try to provide materials for $25 or less per course.

Retreats: The number of retreats is determined by year, normally there is one. Recent retreats have cost participants approximately $65 per weekend.

Fees: A nonrefundable registration fee of $25 is required at the time of registration. An additional fee of $25 at the conclusion of the program covers graduation expenses, including the presentation of a commemorative diakonia cross.

Course Outlines

COURSE OUTLINE – Series A Two years of formation Twelve five-session courses
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COURSE OUTLINE – Series B Two years of formation Twelve five-session courses
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Diakonia Coordinator
Mary Ann Smith

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
4501 Main Street
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515-2881
O: 630-968-6231
Classes meet Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Grace Lutheran Church
1430 South Boulevard
Evanston, Illinois 60202
Classes meet Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
357 Division St.
Elgin, Illinois 60120
O:773.248.1233 Classes meet Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon