Lay Servant Ministries is one of the most significant lay leadership development programs available within the United Methodist connection. Through this equipping and empowering system, lay servants have the opportunity to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ who then go and make other disciples.

The General Conference of The United Methodist Church 2016 approved several legislative petitions addressing paragraphs 266-271 of the Book of Discipline, submitted by the Discipleship Ministries Board of Directors. The rationale for these legislative petitions was to bring about clarity, consistency and collaboration for Lay Servants, Lay Speakers, Lay Missioners and Certified Lay Ministers. The adopted legislation streamlines and simplifies the processes for people to become Certified Lay Servants, Certified Lay Speakers, and Certified Lay Ministers. In addition, the Lay Missioner will become a part of the Certified Lay Minister process. The adopted legislation was effective January 1, 2017.

Certified Lay Servant

Serves the local church or charge (and/or beyond) and:

  • Provides program leadership
  • Leads meetings for prayer, training, study, and discussion
  • Conducts services of worship; preaches the Word
  • Provides congregational and community leadership, and fosters caring ministries
  • Assists in the distribution of the elements of Holy Communion
  • Teaches the Scriptures, doctrine, organization, and ministries of The United Methodist Church

Requirements for Certification

  • Pastor and church council or charge conference recommendation
  • Lay Servant Ministries introductory course
  • Lay Servant Ministries advanced course
  • District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure (See ¶668.3) approval

Certified Lay Speaker

Serves by preaching the Word when requested by pastor, district superintendent, or Committee on Lay Servant Ministries, in accordance and compliance with ¶341.1.

Requirements for Certification

  • Certified as a lay servant
  • Pastor and church council or charge conference recommendation
  • Complete track of study as defined in ¶267.3.c:
    • New Introductory (formerly Basic) Course
    • Leading Worship
    • Leading Prayer
    • Discovering Spiritual Gifts
    • Preaching
    • United Methodist Heritage
    • United Methodist Polity
  • Conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries approval after interview with, and recommendation from, the District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries

Certified Lay Minister

As part of a ministry team with supervision and support of a clergy person:

  • Conducts public worship
  • Cares for the congregation
  • Develops new faith communities
  • Preaches the Word
  • Leads small groups
  • Establishes outreach ministries
  • Serves as a class leader
  • Engages in specialized ministries after appropriate training, e.g. United Methodist parish nurse, lay missionary/church planter, men’s ministry specialist, children’s faith formation, HPH/LM lay missioner
  • Assists in program leadership

Requirements for Certification

  • Certified as a lay servant, lay missioner
  • Pastor and church council or charge conference recommendation
  • Complete a track of study as defined in ¶268
  • District Superintendent recommendation
  • Appropriate screening and assessment
  • Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries approval after interview with,and recommendation from District Committee on Ordained Ministry

Requirements for Renewal

  • Annual report
  • Recommendation of church council or charge conference
  • Certified Lay Servant and Certified Lay Speaker must accumulate in every three years at least ten approved hours of advanced Lay Servant Ministry courses to renew certification.
  • Certified Lay Servant must have the approval of the District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure
  • Certified Lay Speaker must have approval of the Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries every three years after interview with and recommendation from the District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries.
  • Certified Lay Minister must:
    • Attend in every two years an advanced course or approved continuing education event
    • Receive District Superintendent recommendation
    • Obtain approval of the Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries every two years after interview with and recommendation from Dis-trict Committee on Ordained Ministry.

You are encouraged to take courses as often as you wish. This allows you to grow in more than one area, or to concentrate in one area of your gifts.