A Director of Christian Education, by The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod definition, is a synodically certified, called, and commissioned life-span educational leader prepared for team ministry in a congregational setting. In this setting, a DCE is:
In 1959, the LCMS in convention resolved, "that congregations be encouraged to analyze their parish program and, where needed, to establish the office of Director of Christian Education in order to provide additional leadership for the educational program of the congregation." In 1962 in convention, the LCMS encouraged "the field to grow with the passing of another resolution that teachers' colleges be encouraged, with approval of the Board of Higher Education, to intensify the program for training Directors of Christian Education in their curricula." Almost 50 years later, there are six Concordia Universities that certify DCEs. Concordia University Texas is the newest to add DCE certification to its list of majors. At present, it is the fastest growing program on campus -- increasing almost 500% since beginning in 2000. Concordia University Texas accepts and abides by the Synodical mission statement for all DCEs established at the 1999 DCE Summit:
Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the DCE plans, administers and assesses ministry that nurtures and equips people as the Body of Christ for spiritual maturity, service and witness in home, job, congregation, community and the world. (Ephesians 4:11-16, 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
What are the DCE Career Opportunities? Right now, there are fewer than 800 DCEs serving within the full-time ministry of the LC-MS. In Texas and elsewhere, DCE graduates are in great demand.
Four years of college work and one year of full-time internship are required to complete the Religious Education major with DCE Certification. Upon successful completion of the requirements, the student is awarded the DCE certification and is eligible for a Call into full-time ministry of the LC-MS as a Director of Christian Education. Scholarship assistance is available.
Beginning in Fall 2012, students wishing to be admitted into the Religious Education major will need to complete the following course requirements:
Normally completed during the first two years of attendance.
(Added to the Professional Preparation hours)
Missional Emergent (PDF):
If you are interested in serving as a missionary or in a congregation outreaching to the community, this specialization is ideal for you. Students study the latest in missions philosophy not only global but also local. A Mission Trip is a required part of this specialization.
Students selecting the Theology specialization take an additional 18 hours of theology, Greek, or Hebrew. These classes assist those students who desire a strong Theology background for teaching Bible classes in the parish or perhaps a student who is considering entering the seminary sometime in the future.
Children's Ministry (PDF):
This area offers a strong background in early childhood education. Students take courses in foundations of early childhood, motor development and learning, reading and special learner and school law. This specialization is recommended for students who are thinking of children's ministry or who have interest in assisting a congregation in beginning a Day Care Center at the church or working with a Mom's Day Out program.
Outdoor Ministry (PDF):
If you love the outdoors and ministry in an outdoor setting, this specialization may be your choice. With courses in botany, zoology, geology, astronomy, outdoor Christian education, first aid, and other science-related courses, you will be equipped to lead retreats, science camps or work in a camp setting.
Youth Ministry (PDF):
The Youth Ministry specialization serves as a way for DCE students to receive additional education, outside of the required youth ministry class, on how to minister to adolescents in our changing world. The Youth Ministry specialization is open to non-DCE students who desire to receive ministry education in order to work with adolescents in both church and para-church organizations.
If you are interested in leading people in worship through experiential forms such as music, art, drama, and/or visual design; then you should consider Worship and the Arts. Most students in this specialization go on to be worship leaders in a church setting but other possibilities are available as you will be equipped in many forms of worship expression.
Instead of a Specialization, a student may choose from one of the following minors: Behavioral Science (PDF), Business (PDF), Communication in the Church (PDF), Communication Production (PDF), Communication Speech (PDF), Computer Science (PDF), Music (PDF)
Once you are at Concordia University Texas, you will need to be admitted to the Program. Applications should be submitted during the Spring application period. Program admission forms are available in the DCE office and as a writable PDF form under the Requirements for Full Admission below.
Requirements for Full Admission (See the DCE Handbook for more details)
An applicant to the College of Education - DCE Ministry Church Certification program must:
The DCE Senior Capstone Practicum classes are designed to give participants on-site involvement with a practiced DCE in order to acquire experience and skills related to DCE ministry. This normally occurs during a student's senior year.
Practicum Information and Forms:
After graduation, the student performs and carries out the duties of a DCE in a directed and supervised, academic, one-year experience in a congregational setting. The paid, benefited internship is designed to enable the student to experience as many aspects of the educational and youth ministries in a parish as possible. The parish pastor or other church professional serves as on-site supervisor. The DCE Program Director or Associate Director serves as the University supervisor and campus contact.
Internship Information and Forms:
Complete DCE Internship Handbook 2012-13 (PDF)
Intern Time Log - p30 (PDF)
Intervention Plan - p51 (PDF)
The following links may provide helpful information for DCEs, especially those going into youth ministry:
"Youth Specialties and Zondervan in partnership with Concordia University Texas are dedicated to helping teach those who've been called into the ministry of working with youth. We are official members of the Youth Specialties Academic Support Network. Visit the Youth Specialties website at www.YouthSpecialties.com to learn more about the training, textbooks, and resources that Youth Specialties provides."