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Director of Christian Education (DCE) Program

DCE Mission: Our mission is to prepare Christian Educators in a collaborative, field-based environment for leadership in equipping people of all ages for various church-related ministries.

What Is a Director of Christian Education?

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:

  • A called minister of the Gospel.
  • A professionally trained parish education specialist.
  • A team minister who works with the pastor, staff and lay leaders of the congregation.
  • An administrator and resource person of parish education and youth.
  • A teacher of the faith.
  • A trainer of the laity for service inside and outside of the parish.

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 DCE's 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 DCE's serving within the full-time ministry of the LC-MS. In Texas and elsewhere, DCE graduates are in great demand.

Total Hours: 134-145

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.

Formal Admission Into the DCE Program

Once you are at Concordia University Texas, you will need to be admitted to the Program. Applications should be submitted during the student's sophomore year. Program admission forms are available in the DCE office and as a writable PDF form under the Requirements for Full Admission below.


An applicant to the DCE Ministry Church Certification program must:

  • Be a student in good standing at Concordia University, both academically and personally.
  • Meet the requirements for admission to the public ministry of the Church appropriate for entering the professional program. Distinction is made between those entering the program and those finishing the program.
  • A member in good standing of a congregation of a Lutheran Church.
  • Have a minimum of 30 semester credit hours by the end of the semester of application.
  • Be academically eligible, with a 2.50 or higher, both in the major and cumulative.
  • Submit all application materials.
  • Complete a Program Admission Interview during Sophomore year.
  • Receive approval from the DCE Program Director.
  • Receive approval from the College of Education.


Admission Materials

  • Application for admission (PDF form) to professional program
  • A 300-500 word autobiography documenting your personal and spiritual journey with Christ
  • Three completed Reference Forms (PDF) or Reference Forms (PDF form): One from a Concordia faculty or staff member, one from your congregational pastor and one personal (non-family, at least 21 years old)


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.


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.