What are Church Work Vocations?

A ‘Vocation’ is a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action; especially, a divine call to the religious life.

Professional church work is a noble Christian vocation. It is an opportunity to serve and care for the people of God in their faith-life journey and to be a witness to the world. Church professionals prepare themselves to better understand the teachings of the Scriptures for application to the lives of people—from the very young to the elderly. They lead by teaching, preaching and leading an exemplary Christian life.

Have you ever thought about a career in church work? Want to become a pastor or serve in some other way? What’s the next step?

You may think the only way you can serve the church is to become a pastor. NOT SO. God’s people join together around Word and Sacrament, reaching out to a lost world. Dedicated, faithful workers assist and lead people in participating in the fulfillment of the Great Commission, building up the Body of Christ. The following vocations represent the many ways in which you can serve the Church in its vital ministries.


Martin Luther wrote; “There is no more precious treasure, no nobler thing on earth, than a pious, faithful pastor or preacher.” As pastor, you will be considered both shepherd and servant of God’s flock. Through you, on a daily basis, God will carry out His most wonderful work, that of saving the lost.

As you care for the members a congregation, you will be active in preaching, teaching, administering the Sacraments, visiting members, comforting the sorrowing, giving godly counsel, and providing a vision of outreach. You may also serve as a military or institutional chaplain, a missionary, a church administrator, an educator, or a campus pastor.

Preparation for this calling requires four years of undergraduate study, preferably with a Christian liberal arts emphasis, followed by four years of theological study at a seminary.


If you have a passion for working with students in a Christian setting, this is the vocation for you. You will help each student reach his/her potential while integrating faith into their learning. You will partner with pastors and parents in the joy of preparing students for a life of service to Church and world. Teachers serve in Lutheran preschool, elementary or secondary settings. You will also be able to utilize your gifts and talents in coaching, music, drama, art, or other educational arenas.

The education of a Christian teacher leads to state and church certification. You will attend college for four or five years, during which time you will work under supervision in actual classrooms.


Deaconess means “servant.” As a Christian woman in the role of deaconess, you will share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of human care and mercy. This may include visiting the sick and homebound, teaching Bible studies, or working with individuals with special needs. Deaconesses serve in congregations, hospitals and other institutions, inner cities and foreign mission fields.

Certification as a deaconess follows one to four years of study (depending on previous education), majoring in theology with an additional area of special interest, followed by a year of internship.

Director of Christian Education

These individuals coordinate with the pastor to focus on the vision and leadership of a congregation’s various educational ministries. This can involve all ages, nourishing children, youth, adults, and family groups in Christian instruction and growth in personal faith through Bible classes, Sunday School, Midweek programs, Vacation Bible School, youth programs or outdoor ministry.

In time you will be qualified to lead, supervise, administer, coordinate, train and instruct in the various educational activities in the congregation you serve. Based on your gifts, you may also specialize or assist in counseling, music, or worship.

Academic preparation leading to certification as a Director of Christian Education involves four years of higher education plus one year of internship in a congregation.

Director of Christian Outreach

As a Director of Christian Outreach, you are a valuable member of an outreach-oriented ministry team. Your primary function is to stimulate, educate, mobilize, and support parishioners in witnessing, evangelizing, and assimilating new members. You might also serve in a mission congregation or develop cross-cultural outreach in the United States or on a foreign mission field. In addition, there are opportunities for you to serve in specialized service such as campus ministry or church planting.

Your program of study requires four years of higher education and one year of internship that will prepare you for the variety of skills needed in the fields of evangelism and mission.

Director of Family Life Ministry

Families with a strong commitment to Christ and a life of service to others provide a positive influence in and throughout the world. As a Director of Family Life Ministry, you will support and equip healthy relationships in families. The Family Life graduate will be certified by the National Council on Family Relations and equipped to develop and implement programming in a congregation to strengthen healthy families. The Director of Family Life Ministry will serve as a partner on a congregation’s ministry team.

Director of Parish Music

Music is a delightful, noble gift of God, one of His gifts to His people. As a Director of Parish Music, you will use your talents and spiritual sensitivity to enhance the music life and worship experiences in a congregation. You will give leadership to choirs, instrumental ensembles, and soloists by playing an integral role in the life of the church and by enhancing your congregation’s love for communal worship.

Your program of preparation requires four years of study along with a practicum in an area church.

Lay Minister

Ministry is a team effort. The lay minister works under a pastor’s guidance and direction in a variety of ways. You might be involved in evangelism, visitation, Christian education, youth work, senior ministry, parish administration, assimilation and spiritual gifts administration and other ministries.

The four-year course of study for a lay minister includes a major in theology and involves an internship or practicum.

Social Worker

As a social worker you will be dedicated to helping people function within their environment. Social work demands skill in human relations, sensitivity, and a concern for people facing adversity. You will be making a career of bringing Christ-centered love and hope to the hurting and hopeless of society, and devoting yourself to binding spiritual wounds through the means of Christian and secular social work agencies.

The course of studies for a Lutheran Social Worker includes four years of classes interspersed with supervised field experience in local agencies.