Deacon Studies

A leader in preparing students for ministry as a deacon


Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has been a leader in preparing students for ministry as a deacon since The United Methodist Church created the Order of Deacons in 1996. In 1998, Garrett became the first seminary to create a Deacon Studies program and has continued to grow it’s support of students seeking ordination as a deacon.

Director of Deacon Studies

​​Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee is associate professor of Christian education and director of deacon studies. She has served in various capacities at numerous churches as a deacon in full connection in the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church. In addition to her work as a professor and director of deacon studies, Lee is co-executive director of Garrett-Evanston Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Program.

Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee

Educational Routes


Persons pursuing ordination as a deacon can complete their educational requirements by one of two routes:


  1. through the completion of an MA or MDiv degree that includes the Basic Graduate Theological Studies courses or
  2. through completion of Basic Graduate Theological Studies (BGTS) at Garrett in conjunction with a master’s degree in an area of service (e.g., counseling, social work, peace studies) or, for those over 35, in conjunction with United Methodist certification studies.



Basic Graduate Theological Studies Course Requirements


The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church requires a minimum total of 27 semester hours for the Basic Graduate Theological Studies (BGTS). The BGTS at Garrett includes the following courses:


    • Introduction to Hebrew Bible
    • Introduction to New Testament
    • History of Christian Thought & Practice I OR History of Christian Thought & Practice II
    • Introduction to Theology
    • Global Christianity in an Interfaith World
    • UM Worship OR Worship in Ecumenical Perspective
    • Theology of Evangelism OR Empowering Congregations for Evangelism
    • UM Studies: Wesley and the 19th Century
    • UM Studies: 20th Century to the Present


Garrett offers a record of completion to students who complete the entire sequence through Garrett. By recommendation of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the maximum number of transfer courses is 4. Per the University Senate, online course credit for Deacon Studies (BGTS) may not exceed a total of 18 semester hours.

Resources for Students

a travel mug that says order of deacon

Deacon Gatherings

Join monthly lunch gatherings with Garrett faculty and staff who are United Methodist deacons. These gatherings are open to all who are on the ordination track as a deacon or who are interested in learning more about the ministry of deacons.

pitcher and water basin

Deacon Fellows Program

Students applying to one of our master degree programs have the opportunity to be a part of our Deacon Fellows Program.

Celebrating 25 Years of United Methodist Deacons

Garrett was a proud sponsor of the 25th anniversary conference celebrating 25 years of the United Methodist Order of Deacons. You can watch video recordings of select lectures, panels and worship services on Garrett’s YouTube channel.

deacon logo 25th anniversary

Meet Our United Methodist Faculty

Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee
Associate Professor of Christian Education
Director, Deacon Studies

Rev. Dr. Cheryl Anderson
Professor of Old Testament

Rev. Dr. Ron Anderson
Ernest and Bernice Styberg Professor of Worship

Rev. Dr. Gennifer Brooks
Ernest and Bernice Styberg Professor of Preaching

Rev. Dr. Barry Bryant
Associate Professor of United Methodist and Wesleyan Studies

Dr. Lucy Chung
Director of the Styberg Library and Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology

Rev. Dr. Timothy Eberhart

Robert and Marilyn Degler McClean Associate Professor of Ecological Theology and Practice

Rev. Dr. Dong Hyeon Jeong
Assistant Professor of New Testament

Rev. Dr. AHyun Lee
Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology, Care, and Psychotherapy

Dr. Rolf Nolasco
Rueben P. Job Professor of Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Theology

Dr. Hendrik Pieterse
Associate Professor of Global Christianity and Intercultural Theology

Dr. Lallene J. Rector
Professor of Psychology of Religion and Pastoral Psychotherapy and President Emerita

Rev. Dr. Mark Teasdale
E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism

Rev. Dr. Mai-Anh Le Tran
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean, Associate Professor of Religious Education and Practical Theology

Rev. Dr. Javier A. Viera
President and Professor of Education and Leadership

Next Steps


Garrett-Evangelical accepts applications from students with a minimum GPA of 2.5 in a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and who are proficient in the English language.