Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Welcome to the Southeastern District Lay Deacon Program, Version 3.0!

An opportunity for you – As one of God’s baptized children, He has given you special gifts to unwrap and use for His kingdom work. Through our new lay deacon training, you can be further prepared to use your God-given gifts and talents to serve in the Lord’s mission field right where you live, with the support of your pastor and the blessing of your congregation.

A mission-hearted theological training – The two-year theological on-line and hands-on training is designed to shape men and women of every age and background for the Lord’s missionary service. They will receive a Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod Scriptural and Confessional understanding through a faculty that has been recruited to participate because of their desire to ensure the Good News of Jesus is experienced and heard by people who are hungry for His love.

Our Lay Deacon Poster Child – Remember Philip the Deacon in the book of Acts? He was the deacon who led the Ethiopian official to understand Isaiah 53 and then baptized him on the desert road to Gaza. Philip is a wonderful poster child for the updated Version 3.0 of our lay deacon program. Imagine every Southeastern District (SED) church with 2, 5, 10 or more lay deacons who are Philip-like. Imagine how that could change the culture of a church and the community around it!

What’s old and new about Version 3.0 – The SED Lay Deacon Program has been around ever since the early 90’s. Recent LCMS Conventions encouraged the districts’ lay deacon training to have an evangelistic focus, which is exactly what the Version 3.0 is designed to do. It aligns perfectly with the vision of the SED:

As we work together to connect our neighbors with Jesus,
Lives are transformed and God’s kingdom is growing.

Here are a few reasons I’m really excited about Version 3.0:

  • Your faculty includes former seminary professors, pastors, commissioned workers, lay men and women (from the SED and beyond) who have missional credentials and experience.
  •  Students learn through on-line classes and hands-on work done with your pastor.
  • The curriculum is newly designed for theological understanding in a missional context and spiritual formation.
  • Each student has personal coach who will help them identify and work towards missional goals.
  • Scholarships are available.

The gifts are in the people – You are one of the tens of thousands of gifted lay men and women in our SED congregations and schools. I imagine that when the lay people are equipped and deployed to use their gifts in neighborhoods across the SED, we will see the Lord’s kingdom grow in multiple ways. I encourage you to take prayerful time to discern if God is calling you to be a part of the Lay Deacon Program. Pray for those members in your congregation who may have the gifts and encourage them to consider this opportunity. Join with me in praying for the Lord to lead people to say “yes” to the Lay Deacon Program.

In the royal service of the King,

Dr. John Denninger, President
Southeastern District, LCMS