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Certified Lay Ministers


Certified Lay Ministers (CLMs) are assigned by their area’s district superintendent to serve as pastors to a congregation, provide support to a pastor of a congregation, pastor a church, or participate as part of ministry teams serving a cohort of congregations that includes lay-led and participating churches. CLMs, with specific and required training and assignment by their district superintendent, may assist with and conduct most facets of pastoral ministry.

CLMs are vital to providing pastoral leadership in congregations of all sizes and locations and often in smaller congregations that are lay led. Their role is becoming increasingly crucial as ministry changes and churches seek new ways to share resources and expertise. Their role is critical to providing essential and life-affirming ministry.

Contact Person

Rev. Sheila Miranda (

Certification Process

Those who are interested in pursuing certification as a CLM should follow these steps:

  1. Become certified as Certified Lay Servant.
  2. Speak with the pastor of your local church or your district superintendent about your call to the ministry of Certifed Lay Minister.
  3. A mentor will be assigned to walk you through the process, and you will be provided with a list of required courses. You may begin completing the required course work as soon as the mentor is assigned.
  4. Complete the Certified Lay Minister Annual Report to the Charge Conference: Initial Application or Request for Renewal form. You will need a recommendation from the pastor and the administrative council or charge conference.
  5. Request a letter of recommendation from the district superintendent to pursue certification as a CLM.
  6. Request an initial interview with the district Committee on Ordained Ministry (dCOM). The dCOM will inform you about any paperwork that you will need to submit prior to this meeting. To proceed with the certification process, you will be required to complete a psychological evaluation and background checks.
  7. The dCOM will continue to meet with you during your educational process. The dCOM may recommend to the Conference Committee on Certified Lay Ministries that you be certified as a lay minister.
  8. After you successfully complete all requirements for certification, and with the recommendations of the dCOM and the Conference Committee on Certified Lay Ministries, you may be assigned by the district superintendent to serve with the pastor of your church, to serve another church, or to serve as part of a ministry team.

Recertification Process

  1. Complete the Certified Lay Minister Annual Report to the Charge Conference: Initial Application or Request for Renewal form each year and submit it with the other charge conference reports.
  2. Complete an advanced lay servant ministry class every two years.
  3. Obtain a ministry review by the committee on pastor-parish relations, church council, or charge conference from the congregation of which you are a member, or when under assignment, from the committee on pastor-parish relations, charge conference, or supervisory board of the ministry setting in which you are assigned.
  4. Obtain a recommendation for recertification from the district superintendent.
  5. Obtain a recommendation for recertification from the dCOM every two years. The dCOM will make a recommendation to the Conference Committee on Certified Lay Ministries for recertification.

Educational Requirements

There are four modules that make up the required coursework:

  1. Call and Covenant for Ministry. This module covers understanding of theology and call for ministry, exploring spiritual gifts, and developing a ministry covenant.
    Minimum time: 30 hours
  2. The Practice of Ministry. Thefour sections of this module cover leading worship, preaching/sharing faith, discipleship ministries, and caring for a congregation.
    Minimum time: 8 hours per section (32 hours total)
  3. Organization for Ministry. This module focuses on the leader’s task of organizing a congregation for mission and ministry. It provides specific guidance on topics central to a congregation’s health.
    Minimum time: 8 hours
  4. Connection for Ministry. This module explains United Methodist theology, practice, and polity as it relates to the roles of the local congregation, district, conference, and general church.
    Minimum time: 8 hours
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