In the summer of 2023 Deaconess Intern Alyssa & her husband, Vicar Rob Choate, came to serve their internships at St. Luke’s.  Alyssa is in her final year of school to become a Deaconess. Come and see what the sacred work of a Deaconess is like. If this interview speaks to your heart, please share it today! Set Apart to Serve (SAS) is an initiative of the LCMS to recruit church workers in many different roles. Since church work is rooted in Baptism and a lifetime of hearing the Word, SAS encourages young people to consider church work vocations primarily through their continued and faithful involvement with their congregation.

Where are you from and where do you go to school to become a Deaconess?

I grew up in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri and to become a Deaconess I went to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.

What is a Deaconess?

A deaconess is a woman who is theologically trained to serve in the church. I joke that they are kind of like “fun nuns” . We don’t take vows like nun’s do, but we do similar kinds of work like teaching, caring for the sick, elderly, women, and children. I also sometimes talk about a deaconess being the “mom” of a church. The Pastor is the dad, focused on word and sacrament ministry (preaching, communion, baptism). The deaconess comes alongside him doing mercy work, nurturing the congregation and community. However deaconesses don’t always work in a church, some deaconesses are sent out as missionaries or work at various Lutheran non profits and Recognized Service Organizations RSO’s.

Do you have a favorite book, game, song, or memory you could share with us from childhood?

I love the song “I am Jesus Little Lamb” . It was one of the songs my parents would sing to me and my brothers before bedtime. Also we used to have epic nerf wars with our friends at church… until we broke a table and put footprints on the walls!

In the sanctuary at St. Luke’s, Alyssa watches over the 2024 K-5 VBS opening.

What made you want to become a Deaconess?

I’ve always been a helper. I grew up in the church and my goal was to serve God no matter what I did. I kind of “fell” into my first church work job as a youth director and after doing that for almost five years, I wanted more training so I could be more effective in teaching and caring for the needs of the Church.

What do you do as a Deaconess Intern?

Currently I am working at St. Luke’s helping to plan VBS and helping with the Generations service. I work at the Haven doing visitation and spiritual care with the residents there. I also work at Redeeming Life Outreach Ministries ( in Sanford where I am currently working on an event to celebrate and reach out to moms in the community.

For high schoolers and career changers thinking about a career path to pursue, what would you like to tell them?

I would like to tell them that God will use them wherever he puts them and if you are meant to pursue church work he will get you there! He is in control and if He calls you into church work He will equip you to do the job. If they are considering becoming a deaconess it is a incredibly rewarding job. You have the opportunity to care for God’s people and remind them of God’s promises everyday.

What time of day do you spend the most time praying and for how long typically?

I spend time devotionally in the morning reading scripture and praying, and pray and sing a hymn with my husband at night. I don’t have a typical length of prayer time. Honestly I kind of keep “an open line of prayer” going in my head throughout the day and talk to God as I go about my day.

Alyssa & Deaconess Emily McLean in front of their offices at the Lutheran Haven in Oviedo, FL.

What are your work hours?

My work hours vary depending on where I am working. Typically 8 hrs during the day but I am at a youth group on Sunday nights and often have something church related on Wednesday nights.

What are you really good at?

I’m getting better at sewing all the time and have been having a blast making or upcycling clothing. I’ve been told I’m a pretty good teacher and I love doing it so maybe that?

Do you have summer travel, staycation, or mission work plans?

We have to move back to Seminary this summer but we hope to get up to St. Augustine for a little vacation before that. We also hope to travel around to see family before school starts.

Alyssa & Rob at the St. Luke’s SJM Golf Classic Tournament in Orlando, FL.

Alyssa thank you for your time on this interview.  We’re going to miss you and Rob so much.

Want more information? Follow the link for more information on the Deaconess program and other Set Apart to Serve (SAS) careers.