Certified Lay Ministry
Book of Discipline
“In order to enhance the quality of ministry to small membership churches, expand team ministry in churches and 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 is to be recognized and utlilized.”
(2012 BOD, ¶271)
Four Major Components
There are four major components to the formation of Certified Lay Ministers:
What is a Certified Lay Minister?
Laity have long been a part of ministry in Methodism. Lay preachers, exhorters, and class leaders have served the church since its earliest days.
“The certified lay minister is to preach the Word, provide a care ministry to the congregation, assist in program leadership, and 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 clergy person.” (2012 BOD, ¶271.1)
Certified Lay Ministers (CLMs) are usually providing ministry in part-time or volunteer roles in a variety of formats:
- in visitation and care ministry
- as parish nurse (with appropriate training)
- as a small group leader
- in preaching ministries
- as a missionary or church planter
- in smaller new faith communities – that are not stand-alone parishes; house churches, ethnic fellowships, small faith communities
- in Ethnic Ministries
- as Hispanic/Latino Lay Missioners
- as a pastor of a small church as part of a ministry team
- on a pastoral team on multi-point charges or parishes to assist in continuity of leadership
- as a pastoral associate in a larger church
- multi-cultural or cross-cultural groups by developing indigenous leadership
Steps to Certification
STEP 1: LOCAL CHURCH RECOMMENDATION
Written recommendation of the pastor and supporting vote of the church council or charge conference where he/she holds membership. A CLM must demonstrate appreciation of United Methodist history, doctrine, polity, worship and liturgy through service in the local church.
STEP 2: CERTIFICATION AS A LAY SERVANT
Before becoming a CLM, one must be a certified lay servant or a person with equivalent training as defined by his/her district or conference which includes completion of the BASIC and an advanced Lay Servant Ministries course.
STEP 3: COMPLETE COURSEWORK
Complete courses Modules 1-4 for Certified Lay Ministry (or their equivalent as required by the annual conference) and courses relevant to his/her assignment.
STEP 4: DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT RECOMMENDATION
After completion of appropriate screening and assessment, a person requests a letter of recommendation from his/her District Superintendent (DS).
STEP 5: CERTIFICATION BY DISTRICT COMMITTEE ON ORDAINED MINISTRY
Apply in writing to, and appear before, District Committee on Ordained Ministry (dCOM) for review and approval of certification.
The CLM may be recertified by the dCOM every two years upon:
- Written application for recertification to the dCOM
- Ministry review by church council or charge conference from the congregation of which he or she is a member (when under assignment, ministry review by church council or charge conference where assigned).
- Satisfactory completion of an approved continuing education event
- Recommendation of DS (2012 BOD, ¶271.3 and ¶271.4)
Transfer of Certification
“A certified lay minister who moves may transfer certification to the new district upon receipt of a letter from the previous District’s Committee on Ordained Ministry confirming current certification.” (2012 BOD, ¶271.5)
The CLM is assigned by the DS to provide lay servant leadership in a ministry or in a church as part of a ministry team. The CLM is accountable to the DS or another ordained or licensed minister appointed to oversee the charge, who will make provision for sacramental ministry and provide guidance and mentoring to the CLM assigned (2012 BOD, ¶205.4).
CLMs are laypersons and as such are not eligible for support by equitable compensation funds or pension that are provided for clergy members. The local congregation is encouraged to provide appropriate compensation (2012 BOD, ¶271.6).