Leadership Resources

Certified Lay Minister

What is a Certified Lay Minister?

A Certified Lay Minister (CLM) is a qualified United Methodist layperson called to congregational leadership as part of a ministry team under the supervision a clergyperson. Paragraph 271 in the 2012 Book of Discipline explains Certified Lay Ministry, requirements, and service distinction.

A person wishing to become a CLM enters the certification process, which includes training, support, supervision, and accountability to the District Committee on Ordained Ministry. CLMs are laypeople serving out their call as disciples of Jesus Christ. They are neither full- nor part-time clergy.

Why do we have Certified Lay Ministers?

According to ¶271 of the 2012 Book of Discipline, we have certified lay ministers in order to:

  • Enhance ministry in small-membership churches
  • Expand team ministry
  • Recognize the importance of the ministry of the laity, linking back to early Methodism.

What does a Certified Lay Minister do?

Our Book Of Discipline tells us that a CLM:

  • Preaches the Word.
  • Provides care ministry.
  • Assists in program leadership.
  • Serves as a witness to the community.


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 271 of The Book of Discipline.

Categories: Certified Lay Ministers