Exploring Vocations

Diaconal Ministers: are consecrated for service in ministries at the intersection of church and world. This is a ministry of Word and Service. The serving is through agencies, institutions, and traditional church programs as diaconal ministers build bridges between the church and the world. A Master’s degree is necessary for this roster and the approval/endorsement of the synodical candidacy committee. In 1994, the E.L.C.A. established the Center for Diaconal Ministry preparation here at Gettysburg.

Those who spent five years of intense study of Ministry, specifically members of the appointed Task Force on The Study of Ministry, recommended, in 1993, the establishment of diaconal ministry. They wrote:
… a ministry of service and witness, exemplifying the life of Christ-like service to persons in need and leading and equipping the baptized for their life of service within and beyond the congregation…Diaconal ministers will be ministers of the word in that they will be spokespersons for the Gospel, the apostolic faith, and the theological emphases of this church to God's world. They will bear special responsibility to speak for the needs of God's world to the church…Diaconal ministry should develop in response to emerging needs and, therefore, must be flexible enough to enable diaconal ministers to move into area of service where the needs of persons and society are pressing the church for leadership and response.
[ELCA Task Force for the Study of Ministry, Together for Ministry:
Final Report and Recommendations, 1988-1993. (Chicago:
ELCA, 1993). pp. 11-12]


Diaconal Ministry Cross
Diakonia finds its center in the Cross of Christ - the one who came not to be served but to serve. The uninterrupted line in this "diaconal cross" represents the integral connection and dynamic flow between ministry in and of the church in relationship with God's world. Diaconal ministers are called to interpret and carry the needs and cries of the world to the church so that the church might heed its call to diakonia by serving the world with the Gospel of Christ Jesus.

by Madelyn Busse, Diaconal Minister
Rocky Mountain Synod, ELCA


Why Gettysburg?
The Board for the Division for Ministry appointed Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, in cooperation with the newly formed Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries (Gettysburg, Philadelphia, and Southern Seminaries), as the ELCA Center for Diaconal Ministry Preparation.
In following years interest in diaconal ministry blossomed - throughout the church. Although the words may be different one thread is consistent in conversation: "How are diaconal ministers embodying the call to service?" Inquiries come from persons considering service as diaconal ministers, members of our synods' Candidacy Committees, staff persons from the 65 ELCA Synods, representatives of our international Lutheran and ecumenical partners in ministry, students preparing for service as pastors or associates in ministry or deaconesses, seminary faculty where students prepare for service, etc.