lay ministry

school for lay ministry

What is Lay School?

The School for Lay Ministry’s purpose is to provide adult Christian education in the areas of the Old and New Testament, Lutheran Confessions, Pastoral Care, Worship & Liturgy, and Church History. To do this, we draw on the gifts of seminary professors, those who serve in specialized ministries, and others. The School serves the synods of Northwestern Minnesota and Eastern North Dakota and is open to any person, lay or rostered in the two synods.

SAVE THE DATE!  Upcoming Lay School dates:

March 7, 2020  "Cross+Generational Worship Planning" - SEE INFO BELOW

May 2, 2020

September 26, 2020


History of the School for Lay Ministry

G.I.F.T.S. Events - hosted by Western North Dakota Synod

Click here for more information about the G.I.F.T.S. events.

Cross+Generational worship


March 7, 2020


Lutheran Church of the Cross, Fargo



By nature, worship is cross-generational. In a cultural context where there are generational disconnects between members of your congregation, how can you plan worship services that are engaging and life-giving for everyone?

In this powerful workshop, join Pastors Heather Roth Johnson and Jen Rome as you explore the "why's" and "how's" of cross-generational worship. 

Come away with creative ideas to get people sharing with one another across generational divides, strategies to make your church's tradition come alive for younger generations, and a plan for an Edu-worship Pentecost (May 31, 2020) that your entire congregation will remember.


Learning Objectives:

  • What Works and Why?

Go deep with a core understanding of what makes cross-generational ministry meaningful.

  • What to Do with the Kids and Youth?

Learn how to include children and youth in worship in fresh and meaningful ways.

  • Creative Ideas Your Congregation Will Love

Explore creative storytelling, children’s sermons, liturgical art, and interactive sermons.

  • Put It All Into Practice

Leave with a complete plan for Pentecost (May 31, 2020).

Pastor Heather Roth Johnson joined the staff at St John's, Lakeville, MN, in 2018.  She is Pastor for Faith Formation and Evangelism Specialist at St. John's.  She has more than 20 years' experience in Children's and Family Ministry and is a highly-requested speaker at local and national children's ministry events.  Coffee is her love language and swapping stories of life and faith is her favorite pastime. From baptizing the very young to holding hands with the young at heart, Heather enjoys caring for the soul, loving God's people, and is a storyteller of the faith.  She is married to Scott Johnson and they have two sons, Noah and Jacob.  

Pastor Jen Rome, Pastor of Next Generation Ministries, Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Jen Rome has the best job ever: Pastor of Next Generation Ministries at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in St. Paul. She has 18 years of experience in bringing people of all generations to deeply experience and creatively connect with God, the world, and each other.  Nationally and locally, she presents and leads workshops on cross-generational, multi-sensory, interactive faith formation for church professionals and lay leaders. She, her husband, and their two children live inter-generationally with his parents in a duplex in St. Paul, Minnesota.  

wESTERN nd SYNOD GIFTS event: Growth as DISCIPLES of jesus

Saturday, January 25th

First Lutheran, Minot

9am - 3pm

Our day together at First Lutheran Church in Minot will focus on gaining skills at leading Bible study and small groups that are welcoming to those who are new to life in Christ. They will also help us to go more deeply into our own baptismal covenant and see how all of life “flows” from this important once-an-forever Sacrament of entrance into Christian discipleship.


Pastor Paul Hoffman of Seattle, WA is no stranger to the Western North Dakota Synod. Since his keynote addresses to us at Medora in 2014; he has returned to our synod countless times for the leadership of pastoral mentoring groups, for leadership of our synod staff’s retreat, for preaching and teaching. Paul is well-known as a pastoral theologian emphasizing the gifts and responsibilities of baptism into Christ. For almost twenty years as pastor at Phinney Ridge Lutheran in Seattle, Paul accompanied the congregation on its journey to bring new Christians into the faith through a year-long mentoring process known as The WAY.  These journeys are narrated in two of Paul’s books, Faith Forming Faith and Faith Shaping Ministryboth of which are recommended reading prior to our time together on Saturday, 25 January 2020.