There were several proposed legislative petitions addressing paragraphs 266-271 of the Book of Discipline submitted to the 2016 General Conference by the Discipleship Ministries Board of Directors. All of these paragraphs dealt with Lay Servants, Lay Speakers, Lay Missioners and Certified Lay Ministers. The rationale for submitting these legislative petitions was to bring about clarity, consistency and collaboration. 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. This will bring the number of categories to three: certified lay servant, certified lay speaker, and certified lay minister.
The category of local church lay servant has been removed to reduce the number of categories for lay servant ministries. In addition, it has been found that local church lay servants are most often taking an advanced course for renewal rather than a refresher course, and therefore, were fulfilling the requirements for certified lay servant. It is not fiscally responsible to produce materials which will have very limited usage, such as the refresher courses.
Currently, both local church lay servants and certified lay servants serve the local church through ministries of leading, caring and communicating. The difference between the local and the certified lay servants is that the certified lay servant may also serve beyond the local church. Being a certified lay servant, however, does not require service in the district or conference, or in other local churches beyond the local church where membership is held.
A layperson can still serve in the local church after completing the BASIC course, but in order to be certified as a lay servant he/she will need to take an additional Lay Servant Ministries’ advanced course.
You may also download the Adopted Legislation info sheet that illustrates the approved legislation linearly. Should you have questions regarding the PDF, please contact Jodi Cataldo in the office of Laity in Leadership at Discipleship Ministries: [email protected].