diakonia™

diakoniaDiakonia™ is an exciting opportunity which provides a spiritual journey to lay individuals who wish to become more involved in their church or who want to better understand their faith.

Diakonia™ meets once each week for two years during the school year.  Individuals are joined by other students and pastors from around the Northern Illinois Synod to talk about the Bible, Christian Doctrine, Christian Ethics, Church and Society, and other topics.  Students are also given the opportunity to discern what spiritual gifts they might have.

This course of study prepares students for the task of showing God’s love in their workplaces, neighborhoods, families, and schools as well as in their local churches.  Diakonia™ graduates are called to be God’s light of Christ in the world.

I encourage anyone who is looking for a deeper spiritual connection with Christ to try Diakonia™.  The Northern Illinois Synod plans to offer classes in eight locations for the 2014-2015 academic year:

  • St. Barnabas, Cary (northeast corner of the NIS) on Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • First Lutheran, DeKalb (central NIS) on Mondays from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
  • St. John’s, Peru (south region NIS) on Tuesdays from 6:30-9:30 p.m. (tentative)
  • Salem/Trinity Lutheran, Moline (western edge of the NIS) on Tuesdays from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
  • St. Mark, Rockford (north central) on Thursdays from 6-9 p.m.
  • St. John, Joliet (east region NIS) on Tuesdays from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
  • St. John, Sterling (central NIS) on Thursdays from 6-9 p.m.
  • Christ Lutheran, Stockton (northwest NIS) on Thursdays from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

The 2015-2016 year will begin on September 8 for Tuesday courses and September 10  for Thursday courses.  Cary classes begin on Saturday, September 12.  The DeKalb/Sycamore site will begin classes on Monday, September 14.  All sites require a minimum number of students for operation.

Click here to download an application for the Diakonia™ program.  Diakonia™ graduates, current students, or I would be glad to talk with you about our experiences in the program and how they have influenced our spiritual growth and fellowship with our instructors and peers.  I can be reached at home (815-756-8321) or by cell (815-751-8256) but the easiest way to contact me is via e-mail at drode@niu.edu.

Many of us in the Northern Illinois Synod have felt called to the diakonia™ program, and we hope to share its benefits with others who want to deepen their faith and have a closer relationship with God.  I hope you will give prayerful consideration to this unique opportunity.

Sincerely in Christ,

Denise L. Rode, Ed.D.
Northern Illinois Synod Diakonia™ Chairperson

Program Overview & Course Descriptions

The diakonia™ Program is a two-year process of spiritual formation and
theological education for baptized members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or anyone wishing in good faith to study these teachings. 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 found in this word of Scripture: “Let the one who would be great among you be your servant (diakonos).”

The purpose and goal of the diakonia program is to provide each participant the opportunity to discover their God-given gifts, strengthen their faith and
their abilities, and give them purpose within their own congregations, synods,
and the church-wide body of Christ.

Through the diakonia educational experience, each student’s understanding of
theology and their relationship to God is allowed to blossom and bear fruit as a light of Christ in society.

diakonia is a two-year course of study which consists of twelve courses – six
courses each year. Each course is five weeks in length, meeting once a week for
three hours each. Weekly assignments and readings reflect the twin purposes of relating subject matter to the student’s context of life and ministry (family, parish, neighborhood, area of ministry), and 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 3-5 hours of study per week in addition to class time.

  1. Tuition: $360 per year (for the two-year program). Pro- rated refunds are
    given for students who withdraw from the program.
  2. Fees: A non-refundable Registration Fee of $25 is required at the time of
    registration. An additional fee of $24-40 at the conclusion of the program
    covers graduation expenses, including the presenting of a commemorative
    diakonia cross.
  3. Books: Actual costs for books vary from course to course, but instructors
    try to provide materials for less than $25-30 per course.
  4. Retreats: The number of retreats is determined by year, normally these is
    one. Retreat costs will vary by location.
  5. Financial Aid: Financial aid is available, plus we strongly encourage
    congregations to help support their lay leaders. It is our goal to turn no one
    away because financial need.

All courses are taught by pastors and/or lay professionals particularly skilled in that area of instruction or ministry. diakonia courses combine theological knowledge with practical skills. All students are encouraged to work at their own level of theological knowledge, academic training and experience in ministry.

COURSES OFFERED in SERIES A:

1. Introduction to the New Testament.

2. Church History: The First 400 Years.

3. Practical Ministry I: Biblical Images of the Life of the Church

4. Lutheran Creeds and Confessions

5. Practical Ministry II: Visitation

6. The Daily Life of the Christian

COURSES OFFERED in SERIES B:

1. Introduction to the Old Testament

2. Lutheran Faith in the American Context

3. Christian Doctrine

4. Christian Worship

5. Themes & Issues in Christian Ethics

6. Practical Ministry III: Communicating the Gospel

Salem Lutheran Church
1724 15th Street
Moline, IL 61265-3843
309-764-5614
Tuesday evenings

St. Barnabas Lutheran Church
89014 S. Cary Algonquin Rd.
Cary, IL 60013-2405
847-639-3959
Saturday mornings

St. John Lutheran Church
2000 Luther Drive
Peru, IL 61354
815-223-1144
Tuesday evenings

St. Mark Lutheran Church
675 N. Mulford Rd
Rockford, IL 61107-3893
815-398-3557
Thursday evenings

Registration forms and Financial Aid forms are available by contacting:

Doug Liston
5008 Hickory Lane
McHenry, IL 60050
815-331-3000
dliston@premmag.com

Further information may also be found at the diakonia program website:
www.thediakoniaprogram.org

Download a brochure