Deaconess Studies

Deaconess Studies: Faith Incarnate in Love

“Christians live not in themselves, but in Christ and in their neighbor. Otherwise they are not Christians. They live in Christ through faith, in their neighbor through love. By faith they are caught up beyond themselves into God. By love they descend beneath themselves into their neighbor.” Martin Luther, 1520

Christians are called to serve their neighbor in and through the love of Christ. It is a vocation that is profoundly simple and yet filled with great challenges. As the church strives to equip Christians for such service, it has continually looked for opportunities to more effectively impact the lives of people in broken and hurting communities. The introduction of the Lutheran deaconess to the work of the church has been one of these opportunities, bringing the unique gifts of women to enrich and build up the body of Christ in its work of compassion and human care.

Originating in 19th century Europe, the modern deaconess was introduced in Germany to help address the great spiritual and physical needs that emerged in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars and increasing industrialization. In their efforts to embody the compassion of Christ for the hurting and sick, deaconesses helped to shape the fields of nursing, social ministry, and Christian education. Today, deaconesses are called by congregations and into foreign missions, employed by hospitals, nursing homes, and social service organizations.

Through her theological training, skills, and practical experience, a deaconess serves the church by shaping and carrying out its works of charity, compassion, and human care. Set apart for such service, she helps the church manifest the evangelical vision of a community that is known in the world through its sacrificial love for others.

At Concordia Seminary we strive to give our students the best possible combination of theological formation and skill development, keeping our curriculum adaptable to complement and further the particular gifts and interests of our students. Presently there are three residential routes:

You can download a brochure that summarizes our Deaconess program offerings.


Download Forms:

For additional information please contact Gillian Bond, Director of Deaconess Studies at 314-505-7114;