Certified Lay Minister (CLM) Resources
- CLM Overview Brochure - Called By God to Serve [PDF]
- CLM Certification Process Checklist [PDF]
- CLM Courses [PDF]
- CLM Guidelines [PDF]
- Letter concerning psychological assessment for CLM applicants [PDF]
- Suggested Guidelines for DCOM — CLM Interviews [PDF]
- District Superintendent and DCOM Recommendation for Certification Form [PDF]
- District Superintendent and DCOM Recommendation for Re-Certification Form [PDF]
- Certificate of Approval by the Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries [PDF]
- Service of Recognition [PDF]
- CLM Annual Report to the Charge Conference [PDF] — (form for reporting)
- What Every Teacher Needs to Know links [PDF] — Originally published as a series of booklet, these resources are now available as downloadable leaflets.
Book of Discipline References
Certified Lay Minister
¶ 205.4. (Definition of a Pastoral Charge)—When a pastoral charge is not able to be served by an ordained or licensed minister, the bishop, upon recommendation of the cabinet, may assign a qualified and trained layperson, lay minister or lay missioner to do the work of ministry in that charge. The layperson is accountable to the district superintendent or another ordained or licensed minister appointed to oversee the charge, who will make provision for sacramental ministry. Upon the bishop's assignment, the layperson will be assigned an additional clergyperson as a guide to provide support in the assignment. If the assignment is to continue longer than one year, within that year the layperson will begin the process of becoming either a certified lay minister or a certified candidate, thus coming under the care of the District Committee on Ministry. The layperson assigned is also accountable to the policies and procedures of the annual conference where assigned.
¶¶ 266-269. (Charge Conference)—The charge conference shall inquire annually into the gifts, labors, and usefulness of the lay servants and certified lay ministers related to the charge and recommend to the appropriate district and/or conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries those persons who have met the standards set forth for a local church lay servant and/or for certified lay servant and certified lay minister (¶¶266-269)
¶ 268. Certified Lay Minister—In order to enhance the quality of ministry to small membership churches, expand team ministry in churches and in deference to an expression of gifts and evidence of God's grace associated with the lay ministry of early Methodism, the certified lay minister is to be recognized and utilized.
- A certified lay minister is a certified lay servant, certified lay missioner, or equivalent as defined by his or her central conference, who is called and equipped to conduct public worship, care for the congregation, assist in program leadership, develop new and existing faith communities, preach the Word, lead small groups, or establish community outreach ministries as part of a ministry team with the supervision and support of a clergyperson. A certified lay minister is assigned by a district superintendent in accordance with ¶419.2.
- The certified lay minister serves to enhance the quality of ministry much like a class leader did in early Methodism through service in the local church, circuit or cooperative parish, or by expanding team ministry in other churches and charges. As with lay ministry in early Methodism, the certified lay minister uses his or her spiritual gifts as evidence of God’s grace.
- One may be recognized by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, as a certified lay minister after he or she has:
a) Been certified as a lay servant, lay missioner, or equivalent as defined by his or her central conference.
b) Obtained written recommendation from the pastor and the church council or charge conference of the local church in which he or she holds membership.
c) Completed a track of study for certified lay ministers relevant to the candidate’s assignment as defined by the General Board of Discipleship, or the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry in collaboration with the General Board of Discipleship, and the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries or equivalent structure.
d) Received a letter of recommendation from his/her district superintendent.
e) Had all requirements for certification, including appropriate screening and assessment as defined by the annual conference, reviewed by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, for referral to the district committee on ordained ministry for examination of persons who have applied in writing to be certified lay ministers and to make recommendation for certification (see ¶666.10). After the district committee on ordained ministry interviews the candidate, the district committee on ordained ministry will make a recommendation to the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries for final certification by that committee.
- Recognition as a certified lay minister may be renewed every two years by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, after the certified lay minister has:
a) Submitted an annual report to the charge conference or church council where membership is held and to the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, giving evidence of satisfactory performance as a certified lay minister.
b) Obtained a ministry review by the committee on pastor-parish relations, church council, or charge conference from the congregation of which he or she is a member, or when under assignment, from the committee on pastor-parish relations, charge conference, or supervisory board of the ministry setting in which he or she is assigned.
c) Completed a Lay Servant Ministries advanced course or approved continuing education event, as defined by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries or equivalent structure in the last two years.
d) Obtained recommendation for recertification from the district superintendent.
e) Had all requirements for recertification reviewed by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, for referral to the district committee on ordained ministry for examination of persons who have applied in writing to be renewed as certified lay ministers and to make recommendation for recertification (see ¶666.10). After the district committee on ordained ministry interviews the certified lay minister, the district committee on ordained ministry will make a recommendation to the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries for final recertification by that committee.
- A certified lay minister may transfer certification to another district or conference upon receipt of a letter from the previous conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, confirming current certification and the completion date of the most recent advanced course taken. Further renewal is in accordance with 268.4.
- A certified lay minister is not eligible for support by equitable compensation funds or pension funds that are provided for clergy. If a certified lay minister is a lay staff member of a church, circuit or cooperative parish, the local congregation is encouraged to provide compensation and withhold taxes appropriate to a layperson.
¶ 419. (The District Superintendent)—As an extension of the office of bishop, the district superintendent shall oversee the total ministry of the clergy (including clergy in extension ministry and ministry beyond the local church) and of the churches in the communities of the district in their missions of witness and service in the world. This oversight requires the superintendent to use his or her gifts and skills related to spiritual and pastoral leadership, personnel leadership, administration, and program. The superintendent is the acting administrator of any pastoral charge in which a pastoral vacancy may develop, or where no pastor is appointed.
2. The superintendent shall work with the bishop and cabinet in the process of appointment and assignment for ordained and licensed clergy, or assignment of qualified and trained laypersons, lay ministers or lay missioners (¶ 205.4).
4. The superintendent shall establish working relationships with staff/pastor-parish relations committees, clergy, district lay leaders, and other lay leadership, to develop faithful and effective systems of ministry within the district. Through the use of charge conferences (¶ 246.4-5), congregational studies (¶ 213) and other gatherings, the superintendent shall seek to form creative and effective connections with the local congregations on his or her district.
5. The superintendent shall serve as an example of spiritual leadership by living a balanced and faithful life, and by encouraging both laity and clergy to continue to grow in spiritual formation through both personal and corporate worship and devotional practices, including participation in the sacraments.
6. In the framework of their supervisory responsibilities, superintendents shall offer support, care, and counsel to clergy concerning matters affecting their effective ministry. Further, the superintendents shall encourage the building of covenant groups and communities among both the clergy and clergy families, and the laity on the district.
¶ 631.6. (Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries)— a) Every annual conference is encouraged to create a conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries or other equivalent structure to fulfill the requirements of ¶¶ 266-268 and to relate to the conference board of laity and the General Board of Discipleship as per ¶1116 and others that might apply.
¶ 635.2. (Conference Board of Ordained Ministry)—v) To report annually to the annual conference for publication in the conference journal a roster of all persons certified as Lay Ministers.
¶ 668.3. (District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries)—The responsibilities of a district committee on Lay Servant Ministries are to provide basic training for local church lay servants and advanced courses for certified lay servants as recommended by the Discipleship Ministries, or as approved by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries; to decide who will be recognized as certified lay servants; to help match lay servants and certified lay ministers with service opportunities; and to support and affirm lay servants and certified lay ministers as they serve.
¶ 666.11. (District Committee on Ordained Ministry)—The committee shall examine all persons who apply in writing to be certified as lay ministers. When there is evidence that their gifts, evidence of God's grace and usefulness, warrant and that they are qualified under ¶268, and on recommendation of their charge conference, the committee shall recommend their certification or recertification. The district committee shall report annually to the annual conference through the annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry a roster of all persons certified as lay ministers.
¶ 1116.6 (Discipleship Ministries) Ministry of the Laity—Provide support to conference director and district director of Lay Servant Ministries, to conference and district committees on Lay Servant Ministries, and to the Association of Conference Directors of Lay Servant Ministries. In consultation with the conference directors, set standards for certified lay servants, certified lay speakers, and certified lay ministers and provide teaching resources for use by annual conference and district committees.
Questions for Candidates for Certified Lay Minister
By Church Council or Charge:
It is recommended that Wesley’s historic questions be used by the church council or charge conference when considering someone for Certified Lay Ministry. These questions do not need to be asked but they should be part of the consideration process as the group reflects on the candidate:
- Do they know God as a pardoning God? Have they the love of God abiding in them? Do they desire nothing but God? Are they holy in all manner of conversation?
- Have they gifts, as well as evidence of God's grace, for the work? Have they a clear, sound understanding; a right judgment in the things of God; a just conception of salvation by faith? Do they speak justly, readily, clearly?
- Have they fruit? Have any been truly convinced of sin and converted to God, and are believers edified by their service?
As long as these marks occur in them, we believe they are called of God to serve. These we receive as sufficient proof that they are moved by the Holy Spirit. (2016 BOD ¶ 310.1.d.)
By District Committee on Ordained Ministry
Once a person has received the recommendations from his/her pastor and church council or charge conference and his/her district superintendent, has completed the required course work, and is appearing before the District Committee on Ordained Ministry for interview and recommendation of certification or re-certification as a CLM, it is recommended that Wesley’s historic questions be asked again as well as specific questions concerning the person's effectiveness in ministry. The following is a list of suggested questions and talking points to be used by dCOMs:
- Tell us about your faith journey and your understanding of the Call of God upon your life.
- How would you describe your understanding of God, Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit?
- How have you experienced the presence of God in your ministry?
- Tell us about a leadership experience you have had in the local church within the last year.
- Share with us a conflict situation in which you have been involved and how you dealt with it.
- Tell us how your service in your local church has demonstrated your appreciation of the history, doctrine, polity, worship and liturgy of The United Methodist Church.
- What gifts, skills, and abilities do you bring to certified lay ministry?
- Describe the covenant you have developed with your Mutual Ministry Team.
- Where do you feel your ministry needs to be strengthened?
- What are you doing for personal spiritual growth?
- What are you doing to take care of yourself physically?