School for Lay Ministry

A 12-month learning journey for everyday disciples and lay leaders who want to deepen their faith and grow in their capacity to serve in the church and world.

Waiting ListThis course is full, but you can join the waiting list.

As a lay leader, you get called on to fill any number of roles—from preaching and teaching to pastoral care and worship design.

Now imagine doing the work you love, but with the kind of theological training that allows space for reflection, conversation, and integration. 

Over a 12-month period that begins on October 16, you and the members of your learning community will be connected to course materials created by seminary professors. Then, you'll gather together to sit with new ideas, interact and engage deeply with each other and the content, and apply your learnings to your specific context.


Prepare for an immersive learning experience chock-full of courses that teach you:

  • The basics of preaching, pastoral ministry, and congregational leadership
  • What you need to know about reading and interpreting the Bible, including the Ten Commandments, the creation narratives, and the historical Jesus
  • How to understand spirituality and digital culture
  • Skills for dealing with conflict;
  • What it means to be a faithful innovator
  • … and so much more!
Group Bible study.
Woman using laptop with earbuds.


As a School of Lay ministry student, you’ll:

  • Watch assigned videos;
  • Work through a curated syllabus of reading materials 
  • Engage in theological reflection on your own time.

Then, you and your cohort will gather together online once a month (on a Saturday from 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM CT) with an experienced pastor facilitator for discussion, questions, and opportunities to integrate what you’re learning into your specific context.

Plus, get access to our entire library of over 50 self-paced digital courses, available through our partnership with the Iona Collaborative!


Meet the Instructor

The Rev. Marianne Ell has spent all of her 32 years in ministry serving in small and rural congregations, along with chaplaincy positions in a both a hospital and a retirement community. Her passion is developing leaders and equipping them for the ministries to which God is calling them.

She received her Master of Divinity Degree from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX and is currently working on a Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership. Marianne and her husband live on a farm in Wittman, Maryland and have two sons and one daughter.

When she isn’t facilitating learning communities, Rev. Ell enjoys the outdoors and living near the water, grilling out with family and friends, traveling, exercising, and mowing her yard (because she can see the lines). Like you, she is looking forward to building relationships in this learning community!


Now is the time to join us! In an effort to maintain a close knit environment and allow as many opportunities for sharing as possible, we’re keeping this learning community intentionally small. With that in mind, don’t delay. If the ways in which you currently minister could benefit from this kind of expansive theological training, sign up today. We can’t wait to get to know you.