The Academy

The Academy is a series of classes designed for those who want to grow in their faith and knowledge; grow as a leader; serve God in new ways and opportunities; engage in meaningful continuing education; and learn from the best of teachers. The Academy develops well equipped, thoughtful individuals to better serve the congregations and councils in a variety of ways. Many use this training on their journey toward becoming Commissioned Pastors, others for their own enrichment. Completion of the 11 courses fulfills the educational requirements to become a CP/CRE in the participating presbyteries.

The Academy developed out of conversations between the presbyteries of Minnesota Valleys, North Central Iowa and Prospect Hill and the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, where each presbytery had its own training for Commissioned Ruling Elders. Presbytery leaders determined that if they worked together, they could not only address the growing needs for Commissioned Pastors but also recruit nationally known instructors to enhance the program. A task force of the visioning group developed a curriculum of 11 classes that would meet the educational expectations of each participating presbytery.

Sponsoring presbyteries: Minnesota Valleys, North Central Iowa, Northern Waters and Prospect Hill.

Become a sponsoring presbytery to enhance and enrich the learning opportunities! For more information, contact Deb DeMeester, Director of Leadership Development, at ddemeester@lakesandprairies.org.

Get Started Today!

Summer classes are offered at the Synod School of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, IA. Commissioned Pastors are encouraged to take these as ongoing Continuing Education and for building relationships with other Commissioned Pastors.

Each fall and spring, classes are held at Lakeshore Center on Lake Okoboji in NW Iowa. Additionally, Presbyteries or groups of Commissioned Pastors who have at least five people interested can join the fall and spring classes by video conferencing.

Winter practicums are offered online to eliminate the need for mid-winter travel. Lecture content will be met with hands on experiences and insightful conversations with pastors.

Tuition

Member of Participating Presbytery:

  • $125.00/class
  • $1,375/full program

Non-member:

  • $150/class
  • $1650/full program

Additional Expenses:

Participants are responsible for purchasing the required texts, room and board at Synod School as well as travel/accommodations for Fall and Spring classes.

Summer Classes

Two classes are offered each summer during Synod School, the last full week of July. Select the class you are interested in taking and it will direct you to a flyer with more information and a registration link.

Location: Online Due to Pandemic (Will resume in person when safe, at the Synod School)

Dates: July 26-30, 2021.

Instructor: Rev. Dr. Sarah Henrich, retired professor of New Testament from Luther Seminary and a Synod School lover.

Registration: Register through the Synod School website that goes live April 1, 2021.

Location: Online or Hybrid at Synod School (Due to Pandemic, will resume in person when safe.)

Dates: TBA 2021

Instructor: Dr. Gary Neal Hansen, whose book Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History’s Best Teachers, became a best seller.

Registration: Register through the Synod School website that goes live April 1, 2021.

Location: The Synod School in Buena Vista, IA.

Dates: July 24-29, 2022

Instructor: TBA

Location: The Synod School in Buena Vista, IA.

Dates: July 24 – 29, 2022.

Instructor: Cambria Kaltwasser, Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Northwestern College in Orange City, IA.

Winter Classes

Winter classes include hands on learning with a local pastor as well as readings, reflections, and a couple of Zoom meetings over a two months. To sign up, select the class you are interested in taking and it will direct you to a flyer with more information and a registration link.

Location: ZOOM Online

Dates: February 1 – March 8, 2021.

Instructor: Rev. Lisa Watson who served for many years as a hospital chaplain and is currently a marriage and family therapist.

Introductory Course to PC(USA) resources for mission, evangelism, faith formation and justice

Location: Online

Dates: Evening of March 12, Duration of Day March 13.

Coordinated by Stephanie Fritz and Carl Horton

Location: Online

Dates: TBA – Winter 2022

Instructor: Elaine Boyd, pastor Amboy Presbyterian Church in MN. A trained musician and educator.

Fall & Spring Classes

Fall and spring classes are ordinarily held face to face.  To sign up, select the class you are interested in taking and it will direct you to a flyer with more information and a registration link.

Will be offered in October 2021, at Lakeshore Center in Milford, IA (only if COVID permits).

Location: Lakeshore Center on Lake Okoboji

Dates: October 2022 (Specifics TBA)

Instructor: Pam Prouty, Stated Clerk for the Synod of Lakes and Prairies and the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys

Explore what it means to be an Engaging Leader and to Engage other Leaders. Learn More

Location: TBA in January 2022

Dates: TBA

Instructor: Deb DeMeester, Director of Leadership Development for the Synod of Lakes and Prairies

What Leaders are Saying

The Academy has opened my eyes to a clearer understanding of church leadership. We have had excellent teachers/leaders and I am learning so much. I look forward to each new class! I am confident that these classes will educate and mature us to move forward in leadership.

I am loving the Academy course! It is so great to get to know other people with the same interests as I have, and I have already put into practice so much of what I have learned!

The Academy has been an experience in learning more about what God is calling me to do! The people in the program bring such a diverse background of knowledge that it makes for great discussion and – learning.