Lay Deacon Program

What is the Lay Diaconate?

The Diaconate in the Holy Scriptures

The diaconate is a group of people committed to service in and for the Church, a group which has its roots in the New Testament [see Philippians 1:1; I Timothy 3:8-13; Acts 6:1-6]. As the Church catholic has grown, so too, the diaconate has had a history of development and usage. The diaconate has had a variety of definitions over time and has included a broad range of people, privileges, and responsibilities all dealing with sharing the Word of God and service in the Lord’s kingdom.

Purpose of the Atlantic District Lay Diaconate

The Atlantic District Lay Deacons are trained laity who are granted the opportunity to work under the Office of the Public Ministry in service to the local church, her members and to the world through works of mercy and witness as directed. The purpose of the Atlantic District Lay Diaconate is to provide some basic and uniform standards for preparation, education, and accountability; to offer opportunities for continuing education, fellowship, and support; to encourage excellence in service; and to be a forum for mutual concerns and needs. The Atlantic District Lay Diaconate is standardized and exists exclusively within the Atlantic District.

Members of the Atlantic District Lay Diaconate

Members of the Atlantic District Lay Diaconate are men and women selected and nominated by the local congregation and its pastor and approved by the Atlantic District Board of Directors to serve after the example of our Lord Jesus Christ by sharing the Word and doing acts of service. Members of the Atlantic District Lay Diaconate are those individuals who apply for membership, meet the requirements as set by the Atlantic District, and subscribe to these guidelines for service and supervision. An Atlantic District Lay Deacon’s focus of work is in the local congregation and in the surrounding community through those congregations.

- From the Guidelines for the Atlantic District Lay Deacons Program

2022-23 Academic Year

It is with praise to our most gracious God and joy that the schedule for the 2022-2023 academic year of the Atlantic District Lay Deacon Training Program has been finalized. It includes:

Interpreting Scripture

through review of resources [commentaries, historical documents and grammatical tools] the student will learn to be an honest, faithful and adept interpreter of Holy Scripture and perceive Christ and His message throughout it.
Class Schedule: Tuesdays – September 13, 20, 27; October 4, 11, 18
Instructor: Rev Matthew O Staneck, Pastor – Redeemer Lutheran Church, Glendale, NY; Associate Editor, Lutheran Forum. 

Teaching and Sharing the Faith

examines the principles and practices of Christian education on the parish level with special attention to the Lutheran perspective, enabling the student to lead Bible classes, catechetical studies, as well as focusing on the basics of sharing the faith.: proper theology, preparation, and delivery.
Class Schedule: Tuesdays, November 8, 15, 22, 29: December 6, 13
Instructor: TBA

Proclaiming the Faith

This course studies the basics of delivering the message of Christ in a group setting, focusing on purpose, theology, preparation and delivery.
Class Schedule: Tuesdays, January 10, 17,24,31 2023; February 7, 21
Instructor: TBA


developing a strategy for doing evangelistic outreach based upon personal mission statements and
leadership style, identifying available resources on the local level, and being able to evaluate I a mission situation.
Class Schedule: Tuesdays, March 7,14,21,28; April 11, 18
Instructor: TBA

Apologetics [formerly Early Church History]

this course is designed to render an understanding of God's work through the Church, allowing the student to identify and describe key individuals, events and controversies and the situations in which the pure doctrine of the Church was defended, the impact upon the Church and world today, and developing the ability to defend the faith on their own.
Class Schedule: May 2,9,16,23; June 6, 13
Instructor: Rev Martin A Tyce, Pastor – Atonement Lutheran Church, Stony Point NY; vacancy Pastor, St Paul’s Lutheran Church, Monroe NY, Circuit Visitor – Circuit 4.

Note: All Classes are held 6:30-9:00 PM, with open Q & A from 9:00-9:30 PM; classes will be broadcast through Google Classromm, tutorial for which will be made available.


  • Lay Congregational Members and all interested in taking a course may register to do so; the fee is $100. Registration forms may be obtained directly from me [] or through the Diaconate Portal on the Atlantic District Website. Registration will begin September 1 for Interpretation of Scripture.
  • Continuing Education options are being developed to run concurrently with the regular academic offerings. They will include: Crossways Bible Studies; Starting New Ministries; and, Studies in the Gospel of Matthew. Schedules and instructors will be posted in the near future. Registration for Lay Deacons and congregational laity will be the same as regular course offering.

Lay Diaconate Guidelines

Complete guidelines and details for those interested in the Atlantic District Lay Diaconate

Get Started

Download applications and resources below to get started in the AD Diaconate Program!

Class Schedule

Cycle 1

  • Old Testament Studies
  • New Testament Studies
  • Theology of Worship
  • Christian Doctrine
  • Christian Care

Cycle 2

  • Interpreting Scripture
  • Teaching the Faith
  • Sharing the Faith
  • Evangelism
  • Apologetics (Formerly History of the Church)

Each class is usually six weeks in length. Registered participants will receive a class schedule, along with instructors’ name, prior to the academic year.

Class Participation

All classes are on-line, using an established Distance Education System. Classes may be viewed:

  • Live Session - Tuesdays, 6:30 – 9:30 PM
  • Individual study at home at your leisure via recorded sessions
  • Active, Certified Deacons may also audit the courses Continuing Education Credit.for the discounted fee of $50. Registration is required.

Program Costs - In addition to the varying cost of texts to be used, Tuition for each course is $200, payable either by credit card or personal check to the Atlantic District, and sent directly to the District Offices. Mark your check Lay Deacon Training Program.

Scholarship Funds are available. A rebate of $50 will be granted to matriculated students upon successfully completing the course. Contact the Program Registrar for more information: [not available for those auditing the courses for Continuing Education]

Registration - Applications are available from the Registrar and Atlantic District Lay Deacon Program Coordinator, Rev Henry Albrechtsen. Please contact him for both registration and scholarship applications, as well as with any questions, at;

All completed forms must be submitted to Rev Albrechtsen.

Q & A

Q: Have there been recent changes in the Lay Deacon Training Program?
A: Yes. Since September 2018, the Atlantic District has assumed sole responsibility for the administration of the Lay Deacon Training Program. The manner of the Program remains through computer based distance learning, and remains offered to all participating ECCE Districts.

Q: What benefit does distance learning provide?
A: Participants can study when most convenient for them: simultaneously with the live session, or independently as their schedule dictates by reviewing the recorded class. Completion of the Atlantic District Lay Deacon Training Program will allow certified Atlantic District Lay Deacons to transfer their status, with some provisions, to other participating Districts.

Q: In addition to the classes, are there other requirements for the Program?
A: Applicants must complete the Registration Form, as well as provide a letter of support from their congregational Pastor and Parish Council. During the length of the Program and immediately afterwards, each participant will engage in an internship, providing over the course of 200 hours for practical experience in several areas of service.

Q: Are there opportunities to meet with other students?
A: Each individual cohort is encouraged to meet and view the class together at a central location whenever possible. Such sites will be designated according to need and opportunity during the course of study. IN addition, there are several opportunities for fellowship, including monthly Regional breakfasts and annual rallies, Regional Bible studies, and the annual Atlantic District Lay Deacon Retreat for all members and students, as well as guests.

Q: How do I know if I should become an Atlantic district Lay Deacon?
A: Begin with prayer. Then speak with your Pastor, share your desire to serve and your willingness to prepare through study and practical experience.