Deaconess Education and Formation

students"Deaconess" is an identity of one formed in community, educated in Lutheran theology and set apart for service.

In response to the needs of a changing world, the Lutheran Deaconess Association (LDA) offers a process that allows women to express their Christian vocation through church, civic, or human service professions.  Valparaiso University and the LDA enjoy a 60 year tradition of providing service learning together. As an independent non-profit organization adjacent to campus, the LDA partners with VU to educate and form women for service in deaconess ministry.  

Valpo students may begin the education and formation plan anytime after competing their Sophomore year.  However, required Theology classes, which often lead to a Theology minor, may begin any time.  VU students may also be eligible for a deaconess student scholarship (see Financial Aid for details).

Join Diane Marten for a latte` or visit to learn more!

Why Become a Deaconess?
Deaconess Student Majors
How to Become a Deaconess

Some of the most common reasons are

  • to express a Christian vocation
  • to put faith in action
  • in response to a calling
  • a desire to belong to a praying and worshipping community.

Deaconesses serve a variety of needs in the US, Canada, and the world.  Scroll over the map at Faces and Places of Ministry to see examples of deaconess work and ministry.

A deaconess may combine her faith and service in a variety of vocations.  Recent Valpo degree programs include:

  • Business
  • Church Music
  • Education
  • Environmental Science
  • German
  • History
  • International Service
  • Law
  • Theology and Ministry (Master's degree)
  • Nursing
  • Pre-Med 
  • Psychology 
  • Social Work
  • Spanish
  • Theology
  • Youth and Family Education Ministry

Many other graduate and undergraduate degree programs may complement an individualized deaconess education and formation plan.

Deaconess students work with the LDA staff and academic advisors to determine a plan of academic study, planned experiences, and reflection in these areas:

  • Spirituality
  • Theology
  • Diaconal Community
  • Work/Ministry, including
    • Field Work
    • Clinical Education for Ministry (or Clinical Pastoral Education)
    • Internship

Visit our complete website for more information on how to become a deaconess and program requirements.


Contact Information

Lutheran Deaconess Association
Center for Diaconal Ministry
1304 LaPorte Ave
Valparaiso, IN 46383

Diane Marten
Director of Education and Formation