According to Paragraph 267 in the Book of Discipline, a Certified Lay Speaker serves by preaching the Word when requested by their pastor, district superintendent, or committee on Lay Servant Ministries.
While Certified Lay Speakers have been an active program in United Methodism for decades, the 2012 Book of Discipline made many changes to the certification process and required classes. If you were certified as a Lay Speaker prior to 2012, we encourage you to explore our resources, if you are not yet familiar with the new requirements.
If you are interested in becoming a Certified Lay Speaker, 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
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 Speaker, you must first fulfill the requirements to become a Certified Lay Servant.
In addition to the Introductory (Basic) course, those pursuing Lay Speaker certification must take the following Advanced courses:
- Leading Worship
- Leading Prayer
- Discovering Spiritual Gifts
- United Methodist Heritage (Beliefs)
- United Methodist Polity
Once the track of study has been completed, you must obtain recommendations from your pastor, as well as the church council or charge conference of the local church where you hold your membership.
Finally, you must be interviewed and recommended by the district committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, to be submitted to the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, for approval and certification.
Certified Lay Speakers must:
- Submit an 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 Speaker.
- 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.
- In the last three years, be interviewed and recommended for renewal as a certified lay speaker from the district committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, and the approval of the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries for recertification.
The conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, will review the courses completed and the renewal application after these steps have been taken.