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Certified Lay Ministry

What is a Certified Lay Minister?

The certified lay minister serves to enhance the quality of ministry much like a class leader did in early Methodism through service in the local church, circuit or cooperative parish, or by expanding team ministry in other churches and charges. As with lay ministry in early Methodism, the certified lay minister uses his or her spiritual gifts as evidence of God’s grace” (The Book of Discipline, ¶268.2).

In other conferences of the United Methodist Church, Certified Lay Ministers (CLMs) sometimes serve in place of clergy in local churches. Here in Cal-Pac, our need for trained lay leadership is of a different distinction, though no less critical than in other regions.

Empowered laity provide the needed gifts, passions, and energies to create, with our clergy, sustainable, vital, and engaging ministries that support our congregations and reach out to our communities. The most effective partnerships will have a shared understanding of the vision and mission, as well as the traditional and structural foundations, of the churches we serve. Effective partners will also demonstrate skillful leadership in areas of group facilitation, liturgical leadership and preaching, pastoral care, and administration.

Is Certified Lay Ministry for Me?

If you sense that there might be an area of ministry to which you are being drawn, but feel as if you would like to have a stronger foundation in knowledge or ability before taking on greater responsibility; that a deeper understanding of the structure and theology of the UMC would strengthen you in the ways you are already serving in ministry; OR that you would like to develop some practical skills in leading individuals or groups, the Certified Lay Ministry program is for you.

You may decide to participate in the CLM training events for personal growth and understanding, to engage deeper in your discipleship and connection to your local church ministry, or to pursue certification to serve in a particular way in your local church and district.

A Certified Lay Minister might:

  • serve in churches in elected roles such as Lay Leader or an administrative committee member;
  • be more readily involved in the planning and leadership of worship;
  • take on ministries of children, youth, or adult education;
  • become a parish nurse;
  • assume leadership of a specialized ministry for men, young mothers, community children, etc.;
  • serve church families and individuals through licensed counseling;
  • develop relationships within communities for greater service to neighbors in need;
  • and more!


16may(may 16)5:30 PM06jun(jun 6)7:30 PMCLM Course: Developing Disciples 2024 (Leadership)5:30 PM - (june 6) 7:30 PM PDT


Rev. John Farley
Assistant to the Bishop for Leadership
Leadership & Discipleship EMT
626.568.7354 |

Denise Serino
Program Manager, Certified Lay Ministry