Lay Speaking Courses - CMA

Central Massachusetts District
District Director of Lay Servant Ministries
Beth Ferguson



CMA Lay Servant Ministry Committee courses for Spring 2020 are CANCELLED

  • Introduction to Lay Ministry: The BASIC Course CANCELLED
  • Leading Public Prayer CANCELLED
  • Afire with God CANCELLED

Dates and Time

The 3 day Spring Academy will take place at the Chestnut Street UMC. Each course will meet on three Saturdays: March 14th, March 28th, and April 4th.  Each class will be from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m each day.  All three days are required to complete the course.


    Chestnut Street UMC, 161 Chestnut Street, Gardner, MA

Registration and Course Fee

     $45.00 (Checks payable to: The New England Conference).

Please mail the registration form and your check by March 2nd to Beth Ferguson, 72 East Central St., #402, Franklin, MA 02038. 

Upon mailing of your registration, please call or email your name and course selection to Beth – (978) 430-0959 -

If you are waiting for signatures, please email your intention to participate to by March 2nd.


Course Descriptions

  • Introduction to Lay Ministry: The BASIC Course We offer this course for those beginning the process and for anyone who took the Basic course prior to 2008. This is the foundational course for all other courses in the Lay Ministry program. Participants are encouraged to consider the importance of exercising leadership, developing future leaders, remaining rooted in consistent spiritual practices and being part of a group that holds members accountable in their discipleship.
  • Leading Public Prayer: This course on praying in public will help the participant grow in confidence and skill in public prayer and enrich their personal prayer life. This course is looking for and seeking to present the qualities of prayer that draw us into the presence of God with one another. This book seeks to offer grace and joy, it is a prayer that in word and in truth the church may draw closer, in need and expectation, to the living God.
  • Afire with God: This course will help participants to develop a holistic understanding of stewardship. This course will show how stewardship defines the depth of our discipleship. Our personal response to God moves from simple thought and emotion to complex action and result. To affect our understanding of living as a disciple of Jesus Christ is to affect our understanding of self-interaction with the world. Discipleship and stewardship are inexorably intermingled and intertwined. 


Fall Academy 2020 - preliminary information:

The Fall Academy 2020 course topics and location to be announced. 


About Lay Servant Ministries

Certified Lay Servants - To be recognized as a certified lay servant, one must be recommended by his/her pastor and church council or charge conference and complete the Lay Servant Ministries Basic Course as well as one Lay Servant Advanced Course. Lay servants serve in their own churches, in other churches, and through district or conference projects and programs. This offers them the opportunity to expand their outreach and to enrich their ministry through the various advanced courses. Each lay servant must report and be renewed annually, and he/she must complete at least one Advanced Course every three years.

Certified Lay Speaker – A lay speaker is a Certified Lay Servant who is called and equipped to serve the church in pulpit supply in accordance and compliance with the Book of Disciplines (2012) ¶341.1.  Lay speakers will have specific training and will be interviewed by the district committee on Lay Servant Ministries. In the New England Annual Conference, the following comprise the training requirements for the Lay Speaker track: Discovering Spiritual GiftsLeading Worship, Leading Prayer, 1 of the Preaching courses, 1 of the United Methodist Heritage courses, and United Methodist Polity

Important Reminder: 

To remain a Certified Lay Servant or Certified Lay Speaker you must take one advanced course and continue by taking at least one advanced course every three years. All Certified Lay Servants and speakers must submit an annual report of activities to their respective charge conference. Certified Lay Speakers must also be interviewed by the District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries every 3 years.

Annual Reports: An annual report is required. Click either Lay Servant Ministry or Certified Lay Speaker for the forms.

Certified Lay Ministers - A certified lay minister is a certified lay servant or 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 clergy person. 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. Both the District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries are involved in the process of certification of Lay Ministers.