Certified Lay Minister

A Certified Lay Minister (CLM) is a qualified United Methodist layperson called to congregational leadership as part of a ministry under the supervision of a clergyperson, and who often serves the church in many other ways. The Book of Discipline 2016 paragraph 268 explains the Certified Lay Ministry, requirements and service distinction. A person who wishes to become a CLM enters the certification process, which includes training, support, supervision, and accountability, while serving in a local church assigned by the District Superintendent. CLMs are laypeople serving out their call as a disciple of Jesus Christ. They are not intended to be reimbursed as either full or part-time clergy, and are encouraged to have their main source of livelihood beyond their local church.


The certification process prepares the CLM to be an intentional, holistic congregational leader assigned under the supervision of an equipping clergyperson in a team ministry.


  • Must be at least 18-years-old and have been an active member of the local United Methodist Church for a minimum of two years in the conference that recommends.
  • Been recommended by the pastor of a local church where he or she hold membership and by vote of the church council or charge conference.
  • Completed the tracks of LACE (Lay Academy of Congregation Excellence).
  • Demonstrated appreciation of the history, polity, doctrine, worship, and liturgy of The United Methodist Church through service in his or her local church.
  • Psychological Evaluations before serving (expenses to be negotiated between local church, district and person.) This is to be done after the application and before the other requirements is completed.
  • Been recommended by the District Superintendent after completion of appropriate screening
  • Made application in writing to the District Committee on Ordained Ministry.
  • Background Check initially including a financial check, then a general background check
    every Quadrennium.
  • Appeared before the District Committee on Ordained Ministry for review and approval

Requirements for Serving as a Certified Lay Minister:

  • Quarterly meetings with a Supervising Pastor to be assigned and approved by District Superintendent. (The CLM must meet with this pastor at least 4 times a year).
  • Formulate a written covenant which includes a job description and area of ministry that is signed by SPR of the church serving, supervising pastor and approved by DCOM (a signed and dated copy to be kept in the District office as part of the covenant process.)
  • Complete Safe Sanctuary training and Boundaries training every Quadrennium
  • Complete and sign a yearly ministry evaluation with the supervising pastor and SPR (where the CLM is serving.) A copy is to be turned into Conference DCOM sub team, District Superintendent, and a copy is to remain with the CLM.

Requirements for re-certification to continue as Certified Lay Minister:

  • The certified lay minister is to apply in writing for re-certification every two years to the District Committee on Ordained Ministry upon:
    • Ministry review by church council or charge conference from the congregation of which he or she is a member.
    • Satisfactory completion of 4 approved continued education credits.
    • Recommendation of District Superintendent.


Certified Lay Ministers are assigned by the District Superintendent under the support and supervision of a clergy person. They will provide lay leadership in mission areas, including local congregations. They will not have any clergy rights or benefits. Certified Lay Ministers may be re-certified by the DCOM and Conference District on Ordained Ministry sub-team every 2 years after evidence of a successful ministry program and recommendations of Charge Conference from the congregation to which the CLM is assigned.

Restrictions and Procedures:

  • Certified Lay Ministers must serve only in the district in which they are approved by the DCOM of that specific district.
  • A certified lay minister may transfer certification to another district or conference upon receipt of a letter from the previous conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries, or equivalent structure, confirming current certification and the completion date of the most recent advanced course taken. (see ¶268.5, 2016 BOD)
  • The DCOM will certify for the designated area of ministry and for a designated time which is listed in written form and documented in the covenant. The covenant must be renewed every two years and at that time the designated area of ministry can be revised.
  • A certified lay minister is not eligible for support by equitable compensation funds or pension funds that are provided for clergy. If a certified lay minister is a lay staff member of a church, circuit or cooperative parish, the local congregation is encouraged to provide compensation and withhold taxes appropriate to a layperson. (see ¶268.6, 2016 BOD)
Revised 03/07/2017