Lay Servant Ministries


Welcome

The Western NC Conference of the UMC is committed to equipping and empowering laypersons who have responded to the call of God to serve in mission and ministry. The United Methodist Church has established three categories for laypersons in the area of lay servant ministries to discover, develop, and deploy principled Christian leaders for the mission of making disciples for the transformation of the world:

  • Certified Lay Servant
  • Certified Lay Speaker
  • Certified Lay Minister

Being called to ministry is a serious endeavor. It takes a disciple to make a disciple. Thus we must do all we can to prepare ourselves and others to serve. We invite you to "Open the Door" to register your interest in pursuing Lay Servant Ministries and explore upcoming opportunities to begin your journey!

Next Steps: If you feel a call to ministry, your first step is to download this form and present it to your pastor, to begin your discussion for your path into Lay Servant Ministries.

LSM Brochure from Discipleship Ministries

Learn more about the different opportunities to serve.

Charge Conference Forms →

 

Open the Door! →

 



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Upcoming Events

Lay Servant Ministries Fall Classes Each One a Minister - Blue Ridge

November 10, 2018
10AM - 4PM
District - Blue Ridge

Lay Servant Ministries Fall Class Each One a Minister - Blue Ridge

November 17, 2018
10AM - 4PM
District - Blue Ridge

 

FAQ

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 outreach ministries as part of a ministry team with the supervision and support of a clergyperson. A certified lay minister is assigned by a district superintendent in accordance with ¶419.2. This person enters the certification process, which includes training, support, supervision and accountability while serving in a local church. Certified lay ministry is meant to be longer-term, intentional ministry as part of a ministry team.

Certification is the process recognized in the United Methodist Church to prepare someone for significant service. In this case, certification provides a layperson with the training, support, supervision and accountability to provide leadership in a congregation or other ministry setting as part of a ministry team and under the supervision of a clergyperson.

Paragraph 268 explains Certified Lay Minister, requirements and service distinction. 

Perhaps you have considered being more involved in mission and ministry in the past, but wanted to remain in the community where you live as a faithful servant. Perhaps you are the one others look toward for leadership, perhaps you are comfortable sharing your faith story, or you could be discerning the service to which God is calling you.  Have you ever asked yourself, “Could God be calling me to be a leader in mission and ministry?” Have you read “The Christian as Minister”? Have you had a conversation your pastor? Certified Lay Ministry may be an appropriate response for you at this time.

You need to commit to and complete the following requirements:

  1. Meet with your pastor.
  2. Meet with your local SPRC.
  3. Meet with your District Superintendent.
  4. Complete the Certified Lay Ministry application and submit it to the CLM office  . (Note: all signatures and meetings need to happen prior to July 1.)
  5. Complete the Biographical Information Form  (included in the CLM application packet).
  6. Requirements for making application to enter into the Certified Lay Ministry course of study: 
  7. Completed the Basic Lay Servant Ministry course.
  8. Completed one Advanced Lay Servant course.
  9. Must be a Certified Lay Servant.
  10. Complete a background screening for criminal records search, sex offender records search, credit report search and driver’s license report prior to the completion of Module 1.
  11. Successfully complete the two-year learning experience, consisting of four seven-week modules and a separate demonstration project (practicum).
  12. Demonstrate through service in the local church an appreciation for the history, polity, doctrine, worship and liturgy of The United Methodist Church.
  13. Upon successful completion of Modules1-4, a Certificate of Completion for the required coursework will be issued to the candidate for CLM.
  14. The candidate for Certified Lay Ministry needs to request an interview with the District Committee on Ordained Ministry (DCOM). It is the CLM’s responsibility to contact the chair or registrar of their DCOM to request this interview.

The DCOM will make their recommendation to the Conference Committee on Lay Ministry, who will provide written documentation of approval of the Certified Lay Minister.

  1. Meet with your Pastor.
  2. Meet with your local SPRC.
  3. Meet with your District Superintendent.
  4. Complete the Certified Lay Ministry application and submit it to the CLM office by July 1. (Note: all signatures and meetings need to happen prior to July 1.)
  5. Complete the Biographical Information Form (included in the CLM application packet).
  6. Complete the requirements for making application to enter into the Certified Lay Ministry course of study 
  7. Must already be a Certified Lay Servant.
  8. Complete a background screening for criminal records search, sex offender records search, credit report search and driver’s license report prior to the completion of Module 1.

A CLM is a unique, recognized lay servant in The United Methodist Church. A CLM is intended for missional leadership in churches or other ministry settings as part of a team ministry under the supervision of a clergyperson. This category of ministry is actually a part of the historic continuation of lay leadership in our church as a CLM resembles earlier Exhorters, Class Leaders, Lay Preachers, and Missioners.

For an expanded version of the Lay Servant Ministries FAQ, visit https://www.wnccumc.org/lay-servant-ministries.

A CLM is assigned as part of a ministry team and is not appointed. There is to be a supervising clergyperson who is appointed to oversee the charge, even if a CLM is serving in a pastoral leadership role within a local congregation. This clergyperson provides sacramental authority and ensures provision of sacrament for the congregation including not only the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion, but any and all rights and functions under the heading of “ordering of the church” – such as reception of members, weddings, and the like.

Specific distinctions are offered below to explain (not compare) leadership. A CLM is different from…

An Elder?

An Elder is a clergy member of the annual conference ordained to a lifetime ministry of Word, Sacrament, Order and Service. By the authority given in their ordination, they are authorized to preach and teach the Word of God, to provide pastoral care and counsel, to administer the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion, and to order the life of the Church for service in mission and ministry. The authority of the elders is not limited to a specific appointment as they are ordained to a lifetime ministry of Word, Sacrament, Order and Service. Elders are also under the guaranteed appointment (placement) of a Bishop and in most cases have completed seminary training. 

A Licensed Local Pastor?

A Licensed Local Pastor is a clergy member of the annual conference providing pastoral leadership in a local congregation. They are appointed (placed) by the Bishop for non-itinerant ministry in a local congregation. Their license is tied to their appointment; and when not under appointment, the Licensed Local Pastor reverts to a lay status. Their training includes attending a Licensing School and completing the Course of Study Program administered through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.  

A Certified Lay Speaker?

A Certified Lay Speaker is a certified lay servant (or equivalent as defined by his or her central conference) whose call has been affirmed by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries or equivalent structure to serve in pulpit supply in accordance and compliance with ¶341.1 of the Book of Discipline. The role of a certified lay speaker is a specific calling for ministry of pulpit supply. The lay speaker has completed a track of study which includes the “Introduction to Lay Ministry: The BASIC Course”, as well as courses on leading worship, leading prayer, discovering spiritual gifts, preaching, United Methodist heritage, and United Methodist polity, and/or other courses as determined by the annual conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries (or equivalent structure). The Certified Lay Speaker is to complete another advanced course every three years as part of the recertification process. (See par. 267, 2016 BOD)

A Certified Lay Servant?

A certified lay servant is a professing member of a local church or charge, or a baptized participant of a recognized United Methodist collegiate ministry or other United Methodist ministry setting, who desires to serve the Church and who knows and is committed to Scripture and the doctrine, heritage, organization, and life of The United Methodist Church and who has received specific training to witness to the Christian faith through spoken communication, to lead within a church and community, and to provide caring ministry. The certified lay servant serves the local church or charge (or beyond the local church or charge) in ways in which his or her witness, leadership, and service inspires others to a deeper commitment to Christ and more effective discipleship. The Certified Lay Servant is to complete an advanced course every three years as part of the recertification process. Traditionally, these individuals also speak on Laity Sunday. (See par. 266, 2016 BOD)The Certified Lay Minister (CLM) is a position that was created by the 2004 session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. This position was designed to enhance the quality of ministry and ability of small membership churches and team ministry in larger membership churches to meet the spiritual and temporal needs of a constantly changing world (¶ 271 in the 2012 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church).

Certified Lay Ministers preach the Word, provide care ministry to the congregation, assist in program leadership, and are a witness in the community as part of a ministry team with the supervision and support of a clergyperson. The Certified Lay Minister can be assigned by a District Superintendent to provide lay servant leadership in a ministry or in a church.

The CLM Applicant is required to submit for a background screening before the completion of Module 1 and before registering for Module 2.

The required background screening includes a criminal records search, sex offender records search, a credit report search and a driver’s license report.

The CLM applicant is to contact    . She will send you an online invitation to complete the information necessary to complete the online screening. You will pay the screening fee at the time you complete the online form. The cost will generally range from $25 to $40 and must be paid by credit card at the time of completing the online screening.

The applicant is to meet with the pastor to discuss his/her sense of calling.

  1. The pastor will request a meeting with the district superintendent to include the pastor, members of SPRC, church council and the applicant to discuss the needs of the church, and the suitability of the person’s gifts as a candidate for the certified lay ministry program within the local church.
  2. The pastor will sign the applicant’s application form.
  3. The pastor will complete and sign the Pastor’s Recommendation. The signed Pastor’s Recommendation form is to be mailed before July 1  

The pastor is part of the Commitment and Covenant through the applicant’s course of study and process.

All Certified Lay Servants, Certified Lay Speakers, and Certified Lay Ministers are required to submit an annual report to their Charge Conference. This is not a new requirement and is found in Section XI. Lay Servant Ministries in the 2016 Book of Discipline.

If it has been in the past 2 years, please contact your District Director of Lay Servant Ministries for assistance in locating a new certificate of completion.

If the course was from BEADISCIPLE.COM, check old emails.

If the course was more than 2years ago enter the date and information you remember into the appropriate fields.

CLS and CLSp are required to take an Advanced LSM Course every three years to be recertified. CLMs are required to take a course every 2 years. These courses must be completed by Charge Conference the year they are due.

Special note:  The 2016 Book of Discipline added an application process to CLS and CLSp. Completing a course does not make you certified or recertified. When you have completed the course you are to fill out an application and submit it to your District Director of Lay Servant Ministry. This process has not been fully implemented yet across the BWC. For the 2017 Church Conference season the completion of the course will be accepted. In the 2018 Church Conference season the application process will be required. This means classes should be completed weeks, if not months, before your charge conference so the district can complete your application and you will have a certificate for charge conference.

Yes, three copies for the three signatures at your charge conference: pastor, district superintendent, and council chair person. 

These three signed copies are to be retained as follows: One copy for the church, one copy for the DS, and one for your own records.

I am a CLM but have not taken a Basic Course or Advanced LSM course.

The 2016 BOD made it a requirement for CLMs to be a Certified Lay Servant. If you have not completed the Basic LSM course or an Advanced course please type NONE in the fields for these courses. The BWC Committee on Lay Servant Ministry will be working this year to make sure all of our CLMs meet the new requirements.

Since the position of certified lay minister is not a clergy position, the Certified Lay Minister does not have sacramental authority at any time. Appropriate attire would be regular ordinary "go to church" clothes, an alb, or a sash/praise garment. This person provides leadership in a congregation in the work of ministry, but is not considered clergy and should not try to appear as such. Therefore, clergy robe, stole or collar should never be worn.

The CLM should not assume the title "Pastor" or be addressed as Reverend.

The CLM can be assigned by the Bishop in consultation with the Cabinet (205.4) or by DS (¶) to a congregation to provide preaching, care ministry, program leadership, and witness to the community as part of a mutual ministry team.

A supervising clergyperson with equipping gifts is essential to the CLM’s effectiveness. The Mutual Ministry Team, from the local congregation served, is also part of the accountability process.

A local church served by a CLM still has a Pastor Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) and Charge Conference to communicate the CLM’s effectiveness and support.

One may be recognized by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, as a certified lay minister after he or she has:

a) Been certified as a lay servant, lay missioner, (or equivalent as defined by his or her central conference).

b) Obtained written recommendation from the pastor and the church council or charge conference of the local church in which he or she holds membership.

c) Completed a track of study for certified lay ministers relevant to the candidate’s assignment as defined by the General Board of Discipleship, or the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry in collaboration with the General Board of Discipleship, and the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries or equivalent structure.

d) Received a letter of recommendation from his/her district superintendent.

e) Had all requirements for certification, including appropriate screening and assessment as defined by the annual conference, reviewed by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, for referral to the district committee on ordained ministry for examination of persons who have applied in writing to be certified lay ministers and to make recommendation for certification (see ¶666.10). After the district committee on ordained ministry interviews the candidate, the district committee on ordained ministry will make a recommendation to the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries for final certification by that committee.

Recognition as a certified lay minister may be renewed every two years by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, after the certified lay minister has:

a) Submitted an annual report to the charge conference or church council where membership is held and to the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, giving evidence of satisfactory performance as a certified lay minister.

b) Obtained a ministry review by the committee on pastor-parish relations, church council, or charge conference from the congregation of which he or she is a member, or when under assignment, from the committee on pastor-parish relations, charge conference, or supervisory board of the ministry setting in which he or she is assigned.

c) Completed a Lay Servant Ministries advanced course or approved continuing education event, as defined by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries or equivalent structure in the last two years.

d) Obtained recommendation for recertification from the district superintendent.

e) Had all requirements for recertification reviewed by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, for referral to the district committee on ordained ministry for examination of persons who have applied in writing to be renewed as certified lay ministers and to make recommendation for recertification (see ¶666.10).

After the district committee on ordained ministry interviews the certified lay minister, the district committee on ordained ministry will make a recommendation to the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries for final recertification by that committee.

A certified lay minister may transfer certification to another district or conference upon receipt of a letter from the previous conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, confirming current certification and the completion date of the most recent advanced course taken. Further renewal is in accordance with 268.4.

A certified lay minister is not eligible for support by equitable compensation funds or pension funds that are provided for clergy. If a certified lay minister is a lay staff member of a church, circuit or cooperative parish, the local congregation is encouraged to provide compensation and withhold taxes appropriate to a layperson.
Training may be offered by your conference or district – check with your Conference Director of Lay Servant Ministries or your District Superintendent for available opportunities. The coursework (4 Modules) is provided by Discipleship Ministries as downloads available for purchase at http://bookstore.upperroom.org/. These modules can be used as a group-study with the supervision of a clergyperson and the support of a mutual ministry team (key leaders) of the congregation, provided through a lay academy, online through BeADisciple.com or through some other venue. It is important to check with your conference director on Lay Servant Ministries to determine which type of venue is acceptable in your annual conference.
  1. All LSM pathways require the Basic Course, which is less than $100.
  2. Certified Lay Speaker class costs an additional $250-300, but is not required for CLM.
  3. Certified Lay Minister courses are estimated to cost $250-300, and the psychological assessment costs approximately $400.

Several avenues for funding sources for Financial Aid and Scholarships either exist or are in exploration, and we encourage each candidate to pursue funding opportunities to assist with expenses:

  • Local church support
  • District support, especially through Church Vitality committees
  • United Methodist Men and United Methodist Women
  • WNCC Board of Laity
  • WNCC Leadership Development Team
  • WNCC Church Legacy Initiative
  • Reynolds Ministry Fund

There are many ways that the service of a CLM can enhance the mission of the church. Specifically: 

Serving as a congregational leader in a small church that needs consistent, affordable pastoral care as part of a ministry team with the supervision and support of a clergyperson.

Serving as part of a pastoral ministry team on a larger circuit or parish under the supervision of a lead pastor (appointed Elder or Licensed Local Pastor) to increase the pastoral care in the area.

Serving as a staff member in a congregation.

Serving in specialized ministry in a congregation or other ministry setting, such as parish nursing, church planting, children’s faith formation, congregational care, men’s ministry, small group ministry, etc.

The 2016 Book of Discipline, ¶ 205.4, says that “When a pastoral charge is not able to be served by an ordained or licensed minister, the bishop, upon recommendation of the cabinet, may assign a qualified and trained layperson, lay minister or lay missioner to do the work of ministry in that charge. The layperson is accountable to the district superintendent or another ordained or licensed minister appointed to oversee the charge, who will make provision for sacramental ministry. Upon the bishop’s assignment, the layperson will be assigned an additional clergyperson as a guide to provide support in the assignment." The supervising clergyperson/mentor, therefore, is responsible for:

  1. Overseeing the pastoral charge in which CLM serves
  2. Equipping for ministry — Participates in training and/or development of CLM or other assigned e.g. lay missioner
  3. Providing sacramental ministry in the pastoral charge
  4. Providing support in the assignment through relational partnering

The supervising clergyperson:

  1. Participates in forming the covenant for ministry within the congregation with CLM and mutual ministry team
  2. Ensures a collaborative relationship with D.S. for mission and ministry through the CLM and mutual ministry team
  3. Helps to ensure that the CLM can function in his/her responsibility
  4. Helps to develop and shape CLM for mission and ministry in a formative relational process
The CLM can be assigned by the Bishop in consultation with the Cabinet (205.4) or by DS (¶268) to a congregation 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.
A major component to the formation of Certified Lay Ministers is that of accountability. CLMs are accountable to the Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries for overall oversight, to the district superintendent and/or supervising clergyperson for service, to the District Committee on Ministry for interview and recommendation of certification, and to the supervisory group within the ministry setting who will conduct a ministry review.

A CLM needs to recertify biennially (every 2 years) and be re-approved by the Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministry after interview with their District Committee on Ordained Ministry (DCOM) to continue as a Certified Lay Minister. This requires:

Satisfactory completion of the approved continuing education course (10 hours) for CLM. The CLM recertification class is offered annually during the months of May-August. It is the CLM’s responsibility to know when they need to recertify.

Annual written recommendation with a ministry review by the church council or charge conference from the congregation of which he/she is a member and if different, the congregation where assigned. This is on the annual Charge Conference Form. The original is to be turned in to your church for vote and approval at your charge conference. A copy is to be sent to the CLM coordinator.

It is the CLM’s responsibility to contact the chair or registrar of their DCOM to request an interview for recertification.

After the interview, the District Superintendent and the DCOM will provide their recommendations to the Conference Committee on Lay Ministry, who will then issue the documentation for re-certification.

The questions that should be asked by the pastor and the SPRC to the applicant can be found on page 91 of “The Christian as Minister.”

 

Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.