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Lay Ministry

About Lay Ministry Training

The purpose of Lay Ministry Training is to train and equip men and women to assist Pacific Southwest District-LCMS pastors and congregations in carrying out the Great Commission.

All courses require a minimum of 18 class hours. The cost for each course is $300 administered thru Mission Training Center an online delivery system. Textbooks and materials are purchased by each student.

Partial scholarships are available through the Thomas Eggers Memorial fund for levels 2 and 3 students who demonstrate a need. A scholarship form must be requested from and returned to the Director of Lay Leadership Training, Dr. Victoria Littlefield-Waufle. 

Application & Forms

Application for Enrollment

Request for Permission

Ministry Description

Pastor's Evaluation Form

Practicum Guide

Final Steps

Dr. Victoria Littlefield-Waffle

Lay Ministry Training Director

Continuing Education 

Continuing Education all day courses.  Once a year in the fall C.E. is offered to Deacons & Parish Ministry Assistants as a way to continually expand their Christian Education.  The topic changes each year & follows that of the Pastors Fall Conference .  A reception after C.E. for attendees. This year the conference will be held in Palm Springs on Saturday, September 23 and the speaker will be Rev. Jon Bjogaard who will be sharing his book 'What if You Are Wrong'. Please click here to access the 2023 CE Conference Schedule.

Regional Workshops - A Light in the Dark

Regional Workshops are held once a year as a way for anyone interested in learning more about Christianity and the Church. Each workshop is held at a church, taught by a Pastor, and is a full day event (8:30 am to 3:00 pm) including a continental breakfast, lunch, snacks and of course lots of coffee!  Leaders in the church attend, Elders, Sunday School teachers, Pastors/wives, Deacons, Parish Ministry get the idea.  You may attend any of the workshops … but please, register so we can properly prepare. Certificates will be distributed at the end of the day. The cost of the workshop is $35.00. 

About Lay Min
Regional Workshops
Areas of Service for Lay Ministers

Upon completion of the Lay Ministry Training program, one may serve in a variety of areas within the congregation as determined by the pastor which may include but not limited to:

  • Developing outreach ministries

  • Assimilation of new members

  • Leading small group ministries

  • Assist in administration and in developing stewardship programs

  • Assist in care-giving ministry of the parish (hospital, home and care centers)

  • Provide Bible studies in care centers

  • Assist in family life education

  • Assist in children’s ministry

  • Youth ministry

  • Keeping in touch with members who are not worshipping on a regular basis

  • Developing men’s and women’s ministries

  • Summer camps for children and youth

  • Prayer ministry

Areas of Service

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

John 12:26

Program Levels

The program is designed to foster development of personal and leadership competencies.

  • Level 1 Personal Growth: This level will focus on personal growth in one's discipleship while not intending to assume a leadership role in a congregation as a Parish Ministry Assistant or Deacon. 

  • Level 2 Parish Ministry Assistant: Congregations are encouraged to engage gifted men and women within their membership to serve as Parish Ministry Assistant in various ministries.

  • Level 3 Deacon: Support their Pastor & serve their congregation thru successful completion of all program requirements, including six-month mentoring under his pastor.

Program Levels

Courses Offered

Lay Ministry Training offers a series of ten courses, using qualified LCMS pastors and educators to equip servant leaders to assist pastors and congregations in carrying out the Great Commission. Courses are open to all members of congregations in the Pacific Southwest District to equip them in their area of interest to serve in their congregation.

  • Old Testament: This study will focus on God’s plan of salvation as revealed in the Old Testament and leading to the New Testament. 

  • New Testament: The New Testament study will focus on the person and work of our Savior to show the completion of God’s plan of salvation. 

  • Christian Doctrine: In this course, the basic teaching of God’s Word as recorded in Scripture and supported in the Book of Concord will be studied. 

  • Care-Giving: Concern for those in special need will be stressed, including those home-bound, in hospitals and rest homes, and those in bereavement. 

  • Leadership Skills: This study will include certain fundamental understandings, attitudes, and behaviors required for successful ministry. 

  • Church History & Polity: This study will provide a basic understanding of the history of Lutheranism and the polity of the Lutheran church. 

  • Evangelism & Assimilation: Developing an effective program of outreach and assimilation is central to this course. Small group ministry is included. 

  • Teaching the Faith: This course will examine the essential elements of the teaching-learning process as it applies to teaching the Christian faith. 

  • Lutheran Worship: In this course the applicant will study the basic elements of Lutheran worship, including confession and absolution, the Word and Sacrament, and prayer and how they are included in a variety of worship forms. 

  • Homiletics: In this course the deacon applicant will concentrate on the basic preparation and delivery of a sermon. 


 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:10

Mission Training Center (MTC) Online Learning 

MTC ( has on their website Lay Ministry course equivalents for the Pacific Southwest District. Learning online is available for those who live in remote areas or have a schedule that is not conducive to attending traditional courses. The fee per online course is $300 and is paid to MTC. Contact Dr. Victoria Littlefield-Waufle for additional information. 


Effective 2014 - all Deacons and Parish Ministry Assistants must have fingerprinting on file. Proof of fingerprinting should be sent to the District Office.

Request for Live Scan Service Form - contact the District Office

Applicant Fingerprint Processing Fees

Guidelines for Completing Request Form

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