Deacon Training Program

Ordained deacons possess a gift for ministry and a passion for love, justice and service. They connect the church with the neediest and most neglected and marginalized of God's children.

Authorized by the church and ordained by a bishop to serve a lifetime ministry of Word and Service to their community and congregation, deacons are called by God to be teachers, leaders and disciples. 

Join the Deacon Studies program at Saint Paul to become an ​ordained ​United Methodist​ deacon and provide a ministry rich in compassion and justice. Your guidance impacts your community and helps members discover and develop their faith.

Why Study at Saint Paul?

  • Adaptable learning options: Our programs allow students to complete their studies online, on-campus in Leawood, Kansas, or Oklahoma City, Oklahoma or in hybrid form, allowing them the flexibility they need to gain their Deacon ordination and education at their own pace and in their chosen environment. 
  • Experiential learning: Our specialized degrees and hands-on approach bring out our students’ unique skills and passions. 
  • A team of mentors: Our faculty and staff at Saint Paul have helped countless students become successful and impactful Deacons within the United Methodist church.
  • Career preparation: Our dedication to our students and creating the religious leaders of the future is unparalleled, and our commitment to providing a meaningful academic and faith-filled experience helps students get started on their religious leadership path.

How to Become a Deacon

Becoming a deacon requires several steps specific to the denomination students intend to seek ordination. Those desiring to become a Methodist deacon in the United Methodist Church should plan to attain the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree in theology, as well as a graduate theology education
  • Engagement with ministerial formation, including pastoral care
  • Ordination, a process during which an individual enters candidacy, receives approval from the district, completes interviews and exams, is recommended for ordination and participates in an ordination service

At Saint Paul School of Theology, the M​aster of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM) degree​ and the ​Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree ​programs provide students with the knowledge and training needed to become ordained deacons. Both allow students to tailor their studies to their needs by selecting a Deacon Ministry specialization, preparing them for a bright future in Church leadership.

Explore the MACM Program

The Master of Arts in Christian Ministry degree provides students with a deep understanding of ministry and theology and prepares them for spiritual leadership roles such as those in deacon ministries.

Explore the MDiv Program

The Master of Divinity degree requires that students take pastoral studies courses and fosters strong religious leadership skills that empower leaders in the Church.

Which Program Should You Choose?

The MACM typically takes two years of full-time study to complete, while the MDiv requires three years of full-time or six years of part-time study. In addition to considering program length when choosing your path, you may also want to think about the unique goals of each program and whether those align with your personal and professional interests. 

For example, the MACM program emphasizes social, cultural and theological awareness, whereas the MDiv program centers on history, theology, language and ministry leadership skills. Both programs adequately prepare you for ordination, meaning you have the freedom to choose the program offering the curriculum and focus that you find most compelling.

If you are unsure which Saint Paul School of Theology master’s degree is right for you, review our program summaries to learn more, or contact us — we’re happy to walk you through your options to ensure you select a program that aligns with your spiritual and professional goals.

Deacon Training Classes

To become a Methodist deacon, you need to complete a set of educational requirements that includes theology, ministry and practical skills. These courses ground you in the rich history of the Church as well as contemporary knowledge and practice.

Depending on the degree path you choose, expect to take a range of classes, including:

  • Evangelism
  • Worship
  • Mission of the Church in the World
  • UM Doctrine, Polity and History
  • Spiritual Formation Retreat
  • Church History

Funding Your Education

Saint Paul School of Theology's affordable deacon training program allows you to achieve your goals while saving on tuition. Through programs like the Each One, Reach One Scholarship, you can receive 50% off tuition for the duration of your program.

Funding options also include a combination of other institutional or external scholarships, traditional federal financial aid, church support and annual conference assistance. Learn more about funding options on the Scholarships and Financial Aid page.

To learn more about the cost of the Methodist deacon training program, visit the Tuition and Fees page.

Careers for Methodist Deacons

Methodist deacons have a unique role within the Methodist tradition, and their responsibilities and activities focus on serving both the church community and broader society. These individuals may focus on:

  • Pastoral care
  • Social justice and advocacy
  • Teaching
  • Community outreach
  • Worship leadership
  • Church administration

This versatility necessitates that deacons have skills in organizing the community, public speaking, empathy and counseling, teamwork and the ability to connect biblical teachings to contemporary life. In addition, in administrative capacities, deacons must be adept at engaging with church committees and other ministerial leaders.

The General Board of Higher Education Ministries of the United Methodist Church provides the following examples of duties that Deacons undertake in their congregation:

  • Officiate at funerals and weddings
  • Assist the elder in administering Baptism and Holy Communion
  • Lead discipleship development ministries
  • Help lay people identify and claim their own ministries

Engage With Theologians at Saint Paul

Enrich your educational experience by attending events and lecture series featuring world-renowned theologians and scholars. These speakers bring topics and issues facing today’s theological leaders into conversation with Saint Paul faculty and students. Get to know us better and enhance your understanding of faith traditions and history — see you at our next event!

Lead in Your Faith as a Methodist Deacon

When you pursue a Master of Divinity or Master of Arts in Christian Ministry at Saint Paul School of Theology, you embark on a spiritual journey that encourages both your faith and academic growth. Graduate with a deeper understanding of the Church and prepare to make an impact on your congregation and the wider community as an ordained deacon.

Earn your MDiv or MACM degree online, in person or in a hybrid format. Request Information today!