Leadership Resources

Certified Lay Ministry Overview

What is a Certified Lay Minister?

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 ministries as part of a ministry team with the supervision and support of a clergy person. A certified lay minister is assigned by a district superintendent in accordance with ¶419.2. (2016 Book of Discipline, ¶268.1)

Why do we have Certified Lay Ministers?

According to ¶268.2 of the 2016 Book of Discipline, we have certified lay ministers in order 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
  • Expand team ministry in other churches or charges
  • Use spiritual gifts as evidence of God's grace, as with lay ministry in early Methodism

What does a Certified Lay Minister do?

Our 2016 Book Of Discipline tells us that a CLM as part of a ministry under the supervision and support of a clergyperson:

  • Conducts public worship
  • Cares for the congregation
  • Assists in program leadership
  • Develops new and existing faith communities   
  • Preaches the Word
  • Leads small groups
  • Establishes community outreach ministries

What are the four major components of Certified Lay Ministry?

  1. Training 
  2. Supervision 
  3. Support 
  4. Accountability 

CLMs also now have the opportunity with further training to specialize in the following areas:

  • Lay Missioner 
  • Lay Missionary/Church Planter
  • Children's Faith Formation
  • Men's Ministry Specialist
  • United Methodist Parish Nurse

Learn more about CLM specializations here »

Specialties to come include:

  • Congregational Care Ministry
  • Blessings Ministry
  • Church Administration
  • Small Group Ministry

If you are interested in becoming a CLM, pray to discern God's will in your life. Reflect on questions like these:

  • Could God be calling you as a layperson to be a part of a ministry team using gifts given to you?
  • Could you serve God faithfully as a CLM in the congregation in which you are currently a member or a nearby congregation in need of lay leadership?
  • Are you willing to explore this form of leadership in The United Methodist Church?

If you can answer "yes" to any of these questions, consider becoming a Certified Lay Minister and experience what it is like to be faithfully alive to the possibilities of leading the mission and ministry of a church today as part of a ministry team. Talk with your pastor or district superintendent to explore the process. Complete the training. Dedicate yourself to this task.

May God bless you as you make yourself available for this call!

See paragraph 268 of 2016 The Book of Discipline.

Categories: Certified Lay Ministers