“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (NIV)
Note: Below is a link to the conference page which shows all of the Lay Servant Ministries courses being offered across the conference. You are welcome to take courses in any of the other 7 districts.
What is the Lay Servant Ministries program?
Lay Servant Ministries is the United Methodist Church’s primary leadership development program for laity. It trains and equips church members to serve God through serving others in their local church and local community. The program includes training courses on a wide variety of topics. The courses are open to all who wish to attend (including clergy).
There are two categories of qualification in the program which depend on the amount and type of training a person chooses to complete:
A) Certified Lay Servant – completes the Basic Course plus one Advanced Course of their choosing. For most folks, the Advanced Course they take is related to the ministry area in which they are most involved in their church. However, many people take more than one Advanced Course according to their interests and/or ministry responsibilities in their church.
B) Certified Lay Speaker – completes the Basic Course plus the following six required Advanced Courses: 1) Discovering Spiritual Gifts; 2) History & Heritage of the UMC; 3) Leading Prayer; 4) Leading Worship; 5) Preaching; and 6) UM Polity. In addition to completing this required course work, Lay Speaker candidates must also be evaluated by the district committee on Lay Servant Ministries regarding their preaching/speaking skills and call story.
NOTE: The next Lay Speaker evaluations will are held periodically. To indicate your interest in appearing before the committee click HERE
Approval by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries is also required to complete the certification process. This Lay Speaker certification track is designed to train and equip those Lay Servants who have public speaking skills and a passion for serving through Lay Speaking and/or Lay Preaching – when called upon to fulfill such needs in their church and district.
The “Basic Course” is intended to provide any person who is serving in (or considering serving in) a ministry within the United Methodist Church with the most essential and fundamental information that they should know as a United Methodist. The course includes instruction on topics such as: 1) fundamental Methodist history/heritage 2) recognizing God’s call in your life 3) deciding on a ministry area in which to serve 4) exploring your “Spiritual Gifts” 5) core leadership skills 6) fundamentals of lay speaking/preaching 7) overview of various ministry areas such as evangelism, outreach, lay pastoral care & hospitality related ministries.
The “Advanced Courses” are topic specific and include more detailed training on particular subjects. Advanced Courses are offered on topics such as: Discovering Spiritual Gifts; History & Heritage of the UMC; Leading Prayer; Leading Worship; Lay Preaching; UM Polity; Biblical Story Telling; Lay Pastoral Care Giving etc. While its recommended that a person take the Basic Course before taking advanced courses if possible, it is NOT required.
What is a Certified Lay Minister?
A Certified Lay Minister’s role and training is different than a Lay Servant and Lay Speaker. To see details about becoming a Certified Lay Minister click HERE
“Chuck Knows Church” video explaining Lay Servant Ministries
Lay Speaker Certification Process
For those laity who are pursuing Lay Speaker Certification…if you have taken the following required courses – 1) Basic Course 2) Discovering Spiritual Gifts; 3) History & Heritage of the UMC; 4) Leading Prayer; 5) Leading Worship; 6) Preaching and 7) UM Polity – AND you have been recommended and approved by your Charge Conference as a Lay Speaker candidate, you will need to appear before the district Lay Servant Ministries Committee in order to complete your certification requirements. If you are ready to appear before the District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries please ask your pastor to notify the district so that arrangements can be made for you to appear before the committee.
Requirements for Lay Speaker certification:
- Candidate must be a professing member of a local church.
- Candidate must complete all required coursework (Basic Course; Spiritual Gifts; UM Polity; UM History; Preaching; Leading Prayer and Leading Worship).
- Candidate must be recommended by his/her pastor.
- Candidate must be recommended by his/her church’s charge conference.
- Candidate must have a background check done. To apply click HERE
- Candidate must be examined (interviewed & preaching assessed) and recommended by District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries.
- Candidate must finally be approved by Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries.
Harbor District Lay Servant Ministries Co-Director & Lay Speaker Coordinator:
Eston Brinkley, 910-352-7380, firstname.lastname@example.org
Harbor District Lay Servant Ministries Co-Director:
Sylvia Hall, 910-520-7101, email@example.com
Why the change from Lay Speaking Ministries To Lay Servant Ministries?
The 2012 General Conference of the United Methodist Church approved legislation to change the name of Lay Speaking Ministries to Lay Servant Ministries.
The main reasons for this change are:
- It is thought that a significant amount of laity were dissuaded from participating in the Lay Speaking Ministries program because the name implied that the program was primarily for those interested in preaching. The new term, Lay Servant Ministries, is meant to be more inclusive and support/encourage the leadership development of all laity, not just those interested in preaching.
- Secondly, the Lay Servant Ministries program (through it’s “lay speaking track” coursework) provides an opportunity for those laity who have a passion for preaching to pursue an expanded and more thorough training and certification process in order to take their preaching and leadership skills to a higher level. Those who pursue the Lay Servant Ministries “preaching track” become “Lay Speakers” once the required coursework and approvals are met.
Why the name was the name “Lay Servant” chosen?
The term servant was chosen because it best describes what Jesus told his disciples in John 13 after he himself had performed the duties of the lowliest servant.
“After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord – and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also do as I have done to you. Very truly I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13: 12-17
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
Other important points:
Under the Lay Servant Ministries program,the Certified Lay Speaker must complete more courses and approvals than were required under the former Lay Speaking Ministries program – so people who were considered “Certified Lay Speakers” under the former Lay Speaking Ministries program will not immediately quality as “Certified Lay Speakers” under the new Lay Servant Ministries program.
It’s also important to note that both “Local Church Lay Servants” and “Certified Lay Servants” can also preach and serve in a pulpit supply capacity. The idea is that a “Certified Lay Speaker” will have the highest level of training and therefore be theoretically best equipped to serve in pulpit supply situations. That is not to say that “Local Church Lay Servants” and “Certified Lay Servants” will not also be utilized for pulpit supply when necessary.
The Lay Servant “Basic Course” is intended to provide any person who is serving in (or considering serving in) a ministry within the United Methodist Church with the most essential and fundamental information that they should know as a United Methodist. This course is the foundation training for all the other courses in the Lay Servant Ministries program. It is meant to provide you with a solid foundation on which you can develop as an effective leader and servant in The United Methodist Church. This is one of the required courses for those pursuing Lay Speaking certification. Course will include the completion of a mandatory post class assignment. Topics Include:
- Overview of John Wesley & the formation of the Methodist movement
- The role of laity in the early days of Methodism
- Leadership roles (and tools) for today’s lay servant
- Recognizing God’s call in your life
- What is meant by the term “Spiritual Gifts”
- Explanation of what “Caring Ministries” involve
- Tips & techniques for effective communication
- Exploring evangelism, outreach & hospitality related ministries
- Spiritual formation/renewal
- Overview of Lay Servant Ministries program including Lay Speaker certification process
- and more
This course will guide and help participants explore God’s call in their lives. Participants will identify their unique gifts and become more familiar with the many ministry options through which they can use their gifts to serve their church and community. Course book used is ““Each One A Minister” by William Carter. This is one of the required courses for those pursuing Lay Speaking certification. Note: You do not need to take the Lay Servant Ministries Basic course before you take this course.
United Methodist History (Advanced Course)
What exactly do United Methodists believe and why? How do these beliefs shape our denomination? Faithful Christian discipleship requires a foundation in the core belief and practices of the Christian tradition. This course offers a basic explanation of the beliefs and practices of The United Methodist Church. Course book used is ““The United Methodist Way: Living Our Beliefs” by Kenneth Carder. This is one of the required courses for those pursuing Lay Speaking certification. Note: You do not need to take the Lay Servant Ministries Basic course before you take this course.
Leading Prayer (Advanced Course)
Anyone who is called upon to lead public prayer may feel anxious and possibly inadequate for such a task. This course offers help to relieve the anxiety of inexperienced leaders of public prayer and the discomfort of those with and for whom they pray. Course book used is ““Let The Whole Church Say Amen” by Laurence Stookey. Topics include: the nature of prayer; utilizing the image of a flow of energy; the forms, mechanics, and vocabularies of prayer; and prayer editing. This is one of the required courses for those pursuing Lay Speaking certification. Note: You do not need to take the Lay Servant Ministries Basic course before you take this course.
Leading Worship (Advanced Course)
This advanced course focuses on the ministry of the Lay Servant who either regularly or occasionally leads a group, class, organization, or the congregation in worship. Course book used is ““Leading Worship with United Methodists” by Hoyt Hickman. Topics include: basic resources for planning and leading worship; basic pattern of UM worship and its origins; how to renew and revitalize worship; effective leading of worship planning; and understanding the uniqueness of UM worship. This is one of the required courses for those pursuing Lay Speaking certification. Note: You do not need to take the Lay Servant Ministries Basic course before you take this course.
Preaching (Advanced Course)
This course expands upon basic public speaking and the foundations necessary for preparing an engaging sermon. Course book used is ““From Your Heart To Theirs – Developing An Effective Sermon” by David Carroll and Tony Franks. Topics include: understanding different types of sermons; finding the story and using the hymnal; reading the Bible aloud; communicating on paper and moving beyond it and sermon delivery skills. This is one of the required courses for those pursuing Lay Speaking certification. Note: You do not need to take the Lay Servant Ministries Basic course before you take this course.
United Methodist Polity (Advanced Course)
Why does The United Methodist Church do things the way it does? And what does any of this have to do with trying to be a place and a people that embody the Kingdom of God? This course gives participants an overview of the structure and organization of The United Methodist Church. Course books used are ““Life Together in the United Methodist Connection (United Methodist Polity” by Thomas Frank and “the United Methodist Book Of Discipline. Topics include: understanding different types of sermons; finding the story and using the hymnal; reading the Bible aloud; communicating on paper and moving beyond it and sermon delivery skills. This is one of the required courses for those pursuing Lay Speaking certification. Note: You do not need to take the Lay Servant Ministries Basic course before you take this course.
IF NEEDED, PLEASE SUBMIT REQUESTS FOR SCHOLARSHIPS FOR COURSES TO ESTON BRINKLEY BY E-MAIL AT firstname.lastname@example.org
Need a particular Lay Servant Ministries course to complete your Lay Speaker certification course work? You may be able to take it online. BeADisciple.com is proud to host online courses approved by Discipleship Ministries (formerly the General Board of Discipleship) as advanced courses in Lay Servant Ministries. These are courses are designated by the Discipleship Ministries’ “Learning and Leading” logo. Some of the courses are also approved as advanced courses towards the Lay Speaker status.To see what on line courses are being offered click HERE