School for Lay Ministry Learning Community

Transform Your Ministry in Just One Year with Theologically-Sound Training & Leadership Development

October 12, 2024
Start Date
Contact Hours
I'm Ready to Enroll

Unleash Your Leadership Potential with the School for Lay Ministry Learning Community

From preaching and teaching to providing pastoral care or designing worship, faith leaders, like you, serve their congregations in various roles. Often, you do so without the theological background or seminary degrees your colleagues may have. With the School for Lay Ministry, you'll embark on a transformative year-long journey empowering you to lead faithfully, recognizing the vital role you play in a lay-led, clergy-support ministry model.

I'm Ready to Enroll

I am so grateful to the Faith+Lead program at Luther Seminary. The School for Lay Ministry definitely gave me the confidence I needed to set goals higher than I could ever imagine.

Who Should Join the School for Lay Ministry?

Do any of these describe you:

  • You’ve recently been asked to or have taken up a leadership role in your congregation,
  • You’ve been entrusted with giving sermons, teaching Sunday School, or leading adult education,
  • You desire to be a faithful disciple who can help form other disciples,
  • or, you simply yearn to deepen your faith?

Then the School for Lay Ministry is tailor-made for you!

Whether you hold a formal position within your congregation or simply have a burning passion for leadership, our School for Lay Ministry provides a unique opportunity for peer-based learning while emphasizing your pivotal role as pastoral caregivers.


What Will You Learn?

Throughout the year, you'll embark on an enriching journey covering a wide range of topics, including:

  • Crafting impactful sermons from basic exegesis to the hermeneutical circle.
  • Mastering pastoral ministry and effective congregational leadership.
  • Navigating spirituality in the digital age.
  • Delivering compassionate and meaningful funeral sermons.
  • Exploring biblical chronology, from the Pentateuch to the matriarchs and patriarchs.
  • Discovering the intricacies of Church history, American Christianity, and rural ministry.
  • Staying connected to God in the busyness of life and ministry and discerning where Jesus' Church is being led in the 21st Century.

And that's just the beginning! We're proud to share that our online School for Lay Ministry is entering its 3rd year, building upon the success of 2023, with past students leading in their communities as a testament to its effectiveness.

Most importantly...

You'll emerge from the School for Lay Ministry as a well-rounded disciple and leader ready to impact your congregation and community loving and leading in the way of Jesus. Connect with God on a deeper level and learn innovative ways to share the story of Jesus, all within a supportive community. Together, we'll cultivate relationships that offer unwavering support as you champion justice and adapt ministry models for the modern world.

How Does It Work?

Each month, you'll enjoy online lessons you complete at your own pace. Then, meet together with your cohort and Rev. Marianne to process what you've learned and put it into practice.


Step 1: Learn at Your Pace with On-Demand Lessons

Monthly lessons are available on-demand so that you can fit them into your schedule

  • Access our on-demand lessons at your convenience.
  • Each month, explore the course materials. You'll be engaged by our interactive activities and videos from trusted guides. Each unit includes spiritual practices and ideas you can start using in your community right away.

Step 2: Monthly Cohort Meetings

Calls are on Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Central

  • Join live monthly meetings to collaborate with your cohort and our experienced facilitator to process online learning and apply insights.
  • Can't make a meeting? No worries! We record each session for later viewing.

Woman at laptop doing an online Bible study with others over Zoom.

Step 3: Embrace Growth as You Serve

Put what you're learning into practice and get support from your cohort

  • Apply your newfound knowledge to your ministry context.
  • Receive unwavering support from your cohort throughout the year, fostering growth in faith, confidence, and leadership.

Join an upcoming cohort.

Monthly live meetings with a supportive group with expert guidance from Rev. Marianne Ell.

Join the Waiting List

Join the waiting list to be the first to hear when we schedule the next session of School for Lay Ministry Learning Community.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

NOTE: By filling out this form, you will be notified before we open registration to anyone else, and may even receive an exclusive discount code!

Enroll Now

Enroll now and receive:

  • On-demand video courses tailored to your schedule.
  • A FREE one-year subscription to the Faith+Lead membership, with access to ALL Faith+Lead courses on-demand, workshops, and monthly coaching calls.
  • Monthly live meetings with a supportive cohort.
  • A private, online group space for personal and leadership growth.
  • Expert guidance from Rev. Marianne Ell.
  • Bonus lessons covering church history, Lutheranism, and more. Explore them at your own pace.

Single Payment

Multiple Payments


$55/month for 12 months

Apply for a Scholarship I'm Ready to Enroll

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! Due to popular request, we plan to offer the School for Lay Ministry regularly. Keep an eye on your inbox for when we announce our next dates.

All calls are recorded and available for later viewing.

Whether you're a lay leader who has taken on additional responsibilities at church, or an everyday Jesus follower who wants to dive deeper in your discipleship and leadership, the School for Lay Ministry is for you.

This is a 12-month learning community with one monthly live call of 3 hours. In-between live calls, students will study materials and videos provided as their schedules allow.

The School for Lay Ministry is open to all denominations!

No. Your learning will come through live teaching, video lessons, handouts, and slides. There are recommended books that will be shared through the learning community, but they are not required. Many will be available via your local library or interlibrary loan.

There are no required exams, but students will have the option to regularly check their learning through interactive features. Those taking this to seek a lay pastor or lay ministry position have the option of completing regular, short evaluations that can be used as part of a ministry portfolio.

Yes, after going through the one-year program, students receive a certificate that lists the number of contact hours.

Yes. This one year program gives students a basic foundation in a variety of practical and theological concepts to use in real-world lay ministry. The program encompasses everything from preaching to conflict management to boundaries and more.

Don’t see your question addressed?
Email us at [email protected] for more information. We’ll be delighted to connect!

Meet Your Instructor

profile photo of Rev. Marianne Ell
Marianne Ell, M.Div, Director for Discipleship

The Rev. Marianne Ell has spent all of her 32 years in ministry serving in small and rural congregations, as well as in Chaplaincy positions in both a hospital and a retirement community. Her passion is in developing leaders and equipping them for the ministries to which God is calling them. Rev. Ell enjoys helping communities discover opportunities for mission and exploring possibilities for vitality. She received her Master of Divinity Degree from The Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX, and is currently working on a Masters in Organizational Leadership. Marianne and her husband live on a farm in Wittman, Maryland and have two sons and a daughter. She enjoys the outdoors and living near the water, grilling out with family and friends, traveling, exercising, and mowing grass (because she can see the lines). She is looking forward to building relationships in this learning community.

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