Certified Lay Servants are laity who undergo training to become more effective in communication, leadership, and caring ministries.
According to Paragraph 266 in the Book of Discipline, a Certified Lay Servant:
- Knows and is committed to Scripture and the doctrine, heritage, organization, and life of the United Methodist Church
- Has received specific training to witness to the Christian faith through spoken communication, to lead within a church, and to provide caring ministry.
If you are interested in becoming a Certified Lay Servant, you can learn more using the Frequently Asked Questions below or by contacting your District Director of Lay Servant Ministries. Visit CBOL Leadership to find the LSM Director or Directors for your district. If you cannot find a LSM Director for your district, any District Director can assist.
Frequently Asked Questions
A Certified Lay Servant may serve in the following areas:
- Provides leadership, assistance, and support to the church or another United Methodist ministry
- Leads meetings for prayer, training, study, and discussion
- Conducts, or assists in conducting, services of worship, preaches the Word, or gives addresses
- Provides congregational and community leadership and fosters caring ministries
- Assists with the distribution of elements of Holy Communion
- Teaches the Scriptures, doctrine, organization, and ministries of The United Methodist Church
Lay Servants have a variety of gifts and graces to serve in some or all of these forms of ministry.
Certified Lay Servants may be requested to serve in these areas by their local pastor, district superintendent, or committee on Lay Servant Ministries.
All Lay Servant Ministry courses are open to anyone who wants to learn, regardless of whether they wish to pursue certification. LSM courses provide resources for growing in faith as well as leading in the local church and beyond.
There are two different kinds of courses:
- Introductory course: Formerly known as the Basic course, this training is focused on the role laity play in the local church as servant leaders. We recommend that all laity consider taking the Introductory course.
- Advanced courses: These courses provide resources for spiritual growth and leadership development. A wide variety of advanced courses are available, such as leading in worship and public prayer, preaching, devotional life, and United Methodist beliefs, history, and church structure (polity).
Visit our Lay Servant Ministries Upcoming Trainings page for more information about classes happening soon.
To become recognized as a Certified Lay Servant, you must complete:
- Recommendation from your pastor
- Recommendation from the church council or charge conference of the local church or United Methodist ministry where you hold membership
- Lay Servant Ministries Basic (Introductory) course
- Any one of the approved Lay Servant Ministries Advanced courses
The course certificates and recommendations are reviewed and approved by the district committee on Lay Servant Ministries or equivalent structure (see Paragraph 668.3).
Certified Lay Servants must:
- Submit annual report and renewal application to the charge conference or church council and to the district committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, giving evidence of satisfactory performance as a Certified Lay Servant.
- Obtain recommendation for renewal from the pastor and church council or charge conference where you hold membership.
- Complete a Lay Servant Ministries advanced course at least once every three years to renew your certification.
The district committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, will review the courses completed and the renewal application after these steps have been taken.