Lay Servant Ministry/Certified Lay Ministry

Course offerings

On the district pages at right you will find information about courses being offered by that district. Courses are being conducted online. You are welcome to take a course offered by any district.


Conference Director of LSM/CLM
Bonnie-jean Rowe

Other resources

Lay Servant Ministries requirements

Lay Servant Ministries legislation adopted at GC 2016

Lay Ministry Course Descriptions and Equipping Resources Catalog

Lay Servant Page on the Discipleship Ministries website

Lay Servant Annual Report and other forms

Lay Servant Ministry

Lead, Care, Communicate ...

... these are the three principles of leadership developed in our Lay Servant Ministries Program here in the New England Conference. Here we go …

What is a Lay Servant?

And what do they accomplish?

A Lay Servant is a good active, supportive member of a United Methodist congregation who is eager to be in ministry through the church. He or she is well-informed on scripture, doctrine, heritage, organization and life of The United Methodist Church and is committed to witnessing through church and community leadership, care giving ministries, and spoken communication. A Lay Servant is willing to initiate ministry in partnership with clergy and other Lay Servants and willing to improve his or her skills for service. Those in Lay Servant Ministry serve in many ways: visitation, leading a study, singing in the choir, serving at a lunch program, teaching Sunday School, sending out church or personal prayers, volunteering to clean, go on a mission project, or to lead or preach at a worship service. The types of ministry are too numerous to list.

Why Lay Servant Ministries?

In 2012 the General Conference of The United Methodist Church approved legislation to change the name of Lay Speaking Ministries to Lay Servant Ministries.  For several quadrennia various name changes were proposed — none of which adequately described the role of this leadership development program. The term servant was chosen because it best describes what Jesus told his disciples in John:13 after he himself had performed the duties of the lowliest servant.  We should be honored to serve as our Lord and Savior did. We are called to live out our discipleship as servants in leadership!

Certified Lay Servant

A Certified Lay Servant requires you to take the Basic course plus an advanced course. Every three years you will need to re-certify by taking an advanced course. You must submit an annual report to your church/charge conference each year for approval.

Certified Lay Speaker

A Certified Lay Speaker requires a specific training and an accountability process. A Certified Lay Speaker is a Certified Lay Servant who is called and equipped to provide pulpit supply in the absence of a pastor. Certified Lay Speakers must also complete an Advanced Course once every three years and, in addition, must complete a given review by the District LSM Committee every three years. The District Committee will recommend those who qualify for re-certification by the Conference Committee.

In the New England Annual Conference, the following Advanced Courses are in the training requirements for the Lay Speaker track: Discover Your Spiritual Gifts, Leading Prayer, Preaching, Living Our United Methodist Beliefs (UM Heritage), Leading Worship and Life Together in the United Methodist Connection (UM Polity).

All courses except those on Preaching are available online at as well as face-to-face in our districts classes and academies (see the pages for each District at right). Please check with your District Director regarding the frequency of use of online courses and permission. 

As determined by each Annual Conference, the New England Conference Lay Servant Ministries Committee has granted a good period of time to maintain and to bring up to date this status track.

Certified Lay Minister (CLM)

A Certified Lay Minister is a qualified United Methodist layperson called to congregational leadership as part of a ministry team under the supervision of a clergy person.  This person enters the certification process, which includes training, support, supervision and accountability while serving in a local church assigned by the District Superintendent.

CLMs may preach the word, and guide the program ministry and mission of a congregation.  However, CLMs may provide leadership in many other contexts and have responsibility for other expressions of mission and ministry both within the congregation and in the community, district, or annual conference.

While CLMs can provide the essential guidance and pastoral leadership and services necessary for effective mission and ministry in churches, they are not intended to replace clergy, but rather to work beside them and with them as part of a team ministry.  (

CLM Requirement Checklist 2021 — Official list to become a CLM in the New England Conference.

CLM Guideline Booklet (GBOD resource)

Lay Servant Page on the Discipleship Ministries website

Lay Servant Annual Report and other forms