Lay Ministry Online Certificate Program

How Does the Online Lay Ministry Certificate Program Work?

  • The program consists of seventeen courses, all but two of which are taken online
  • Students who complete the program are eligible to receive a call in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) as a “Commissioned Minister of Religion – Lay Minister”
  • This is a non-degree program, meaning you will not earn a B.A.
  • You can take as much of the program as you want (see our three levels of coursework)

Who Can Benefit from an Online Program?

The online Lay Ministry Certificate is especially helpful if you:

  • Already work in a congregation and want to become eligible for a call in the LCMS
  • Want to dig deeper into theology at the college level without earning a certificate
  • Want to become certified to receive a call in the LCMS

Program Prerequisites

  • High school diploma
  • Ability to perform college level coursework

Program Intake Schedule

  • Courses are offered in a cohort model with new cohorts beginning every June
  • Each course is eight weeks in length
  • Students take three courses each semester
  • Two courses are taken on campus during two three-day residencies

Certification Requirements

  • Associate of Arts degree, or its equivalent
  • Completion of all required Lay Ministry coursework

Contact Information

Contact Mary Jandre, Admissions Counselor, at 262-243-2122 to receive additional program application materials.

Interested in Earning a Bachelor’s Degree?

You can take additional courses through the online adult learning Theology Major and earn a bachelor’s degree.


The Online Lay Ministry Certificate curriculum is built on three different levels to meet your needs:

You’ll receive a certificate of completion when you finish levels 1 and 2. If you complete all three levels, you can become certified as a lay minister eligible to receive a call from a congregation or recognized service organization of the LCMS.

  • Level 1: Foundation for service (certificate in Theological Foundations)
  • Level 2: Practice in service (certificate in Practice of Lay Ministry)
  • Level 3: Certification (certification for Commissioned Minister of Religion – Lay Minister)

See our course catalog for details on the coursework included with each level.

Admission to the Lay Ministry E-Learning Program

There are two layers of application to the program:

1. Apply online to enroll for coursework.

  • Select the undergraduate level under "Program Type" and complete the form.
  • Contact Meghan Beverung, Assistant Director of E-Learning Admission, at 262-243-4397 to receive additional program application materials.

2. Apply with the Office of Lay Ministry

Admission to the program involves:

  • providing references and
  • undergoing a background check