Lay Servants are to serve the local church or charge in any way in which their witness or leadership and service inspires the laity to deeper commitment to Christ and more effective discipleship. This includes the interpretation of scriptures, doctrine, organization, and ministries of the church. There are several paths for one to fulfill their calling to this service.
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.
For Certified Lay Minister FAQs, visit: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/clm-faqs.
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)
Lay Speaker (not certified)
A lay speaker is a professing member of a local church who is ready and desirous to serve the Church, and who is well informed on and committed to the Scriptures and the doctrine, heritage, organization, and life of The United Methodist Church. A lay speaker has completed the required training courses in lay speaking and has been approved by a district or annual conference committee on lay speaking. Lay speakers serve the local church by witnessing to the Christian faith through spoken communication, church and community leadership, and caregiving ministries. When certified, the lay speaker may conduct services of worship, preach, and lead study sessions as requested by the pastor or the district superintendent.
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)