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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. Participants can join at any point in the schedule.

A flyer describing the program can be downloaded by clicking Academy Brochure.

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. The group 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: East Iowa, Minnesota Valleys, Missouri River Valley, North Central Iowa, Northern Waters, Prospect Hill and Twin Cities Area.  Sponsoring presbyteries contribute $2,500 annually to help cover the costs of travel and honoraria for the instructors and facilitators of the Academy.  They are also given two seats on the Academy Board, which makes decisions about the program and needs.

For more information, contact Deb DeMeester, Director of Leadership Development.

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 a retreat center centrally located among participants.

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.

Get Started Today

Member of Participating Presbytery:


$1,375/full program

Register for full program at:




$1,925/full program

Register for individual classes by following the link provided.  This is also how you sign up for and pay for room and board.


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.


Upcoming Classes & Class Registration

October 28-29, 2023 at Lakeshore Center

Spiritual Development with Gary Neal Hansen

Winter 2024 Practicum

Worship and Sacraments with Burns Stanfield

March 2024 in person

Leadership 101 with Deb DeMeester

July 21 – 26, 2024 at Synod School

New Testament

Reformed Theology

October 2024 at Lakeshore Center

Polity with Pam Prouty

Winter 2025 Practicum

Pastoral Care with Lisa Watson

April 2025 Online

Formation for Mission

July 20 – 25, 2025 at Synod School

Old Testament

Leadership and Church Administration

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