What is a Certified Lay Minister?

Lay preachers, exhorters, and class leaders have served the church since its earliest days. In deference to an expression of gifts and evidence of God’s grace associated with the lay ministry of early Methodism, the Certified Lay Minister (CLM) is to be recognized and utilized.

CLMbCertified Lay Ministers are meant to enhance the quality of ministry to small membership churches and to expand team ministry in churches. Certified Lay Ministers preach the Word, provide a care ministry to the congregation, assist in program leadership, and are to be a witness in the community for the growth, missional and connectional thrust of The United Methodist Church as part of a ministry team with the supervision and support of a clergyperson.

Many Certified Lay Ministers serve as assigned pastors in the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area. Still others serve in different leadership contexts supporting and enhancing local church ministries. The Pacific Northwest, Oregon-Idaho, and Alaska Conferences recognize the strength of the lay ministry and are committed to providing relevant training to further enrich lay leadership in our churches.

The Certified Lay Minister is assigned by the district superintendent to provide lay servant leadership in a ministry or in a church. There are four major components in the formation of these leaders: training, supervision, support, and accountability. Read more about the training cycle here.

To become a Certified Lay Minister, you need to complete the following requirements:

  1. Complete requirements to become a Certified Lay Servant or equivalent training as defined by district or conference
  2. Complete Cycles A-D for Certified Lay Ministry or equivalent training
  3. Complete courses relevant to assignment
  4. Demonstrate through service in local church an appreciation for the history, polity, doctrine, worship, and liturgy of The United Methodist Church
  5. Receive recommendation from district superintendent
  6. Make application in writing to and meet with the District Committee on Ordained Ministry for review and approval at time of application and every two years thereafter
  7. For recertification by District Committee on Ordained Ministry – undergo a ministry review by church council or charge conference, complete an approved continuing education event, receive again recommendation of district superintendent

¶ 271 from The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church provides both detail to the process and definition for the role of Certified Lay Minister.

This FAQ prepared by United Methodist Discipleship Ministries helps to answer some common questions. Please note that our area’s training is distinct in some ways from others.

© Copyright 2022 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church

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