Certified Lay Ministry training slated April 20

February 19, 2013

The position of Certified Lay Minister (CLM) was approved by the General Conference in 2004.The first two CLM’s in the Louisiana Conference were certified in 2010. Five were certified in 2011 and one in 2012 for a total of eight Certified Lay Ministers in the Louisiana Conference.

We need trained lay persons who have strong spiritual centering and want to take a stronger leadership role in church activities in their local church and/or district.

A certified lay minister is a United Methodist layperson called to congregational leadership as part of a ministry team under the supervision of a clergyperson. They are qualified for CLM status after specific training and examination. CLM certification is the process recognized in The United Methodist Church to prepare someone for significant service. In this case, certification provides a layperson with the training, support, supervision and accountability needed to lead a congregation that:

  • Is small and may be struggling with the expense of clergy pastoral leadership.
  • Is part of a multi-point charge using shared pastoral leadership. A CLM may serve as part of a pastoral team to increase continuity of leadership.
  • Is dealing with numeric or program expansion and growth and can benefit from a larger pastoral leadership team. Large churches may use a CLM as a lay staff member.
  • Is developing leadership (perhaps indigenous) to serve multi-cultural or cross-cultural populations or in missional ways.

Legislation that enables and guides the CLM program is found in paragraph 271 in the 2012 Book of Discipline. A CLM is a unique, recognized lay servant in The United Methodist Church. A CLM is intended for the missional leadership of smaller churches, as part of a team ministry, or serving on staff in a larger congregation, but always under the supervision of a clergyperson. As part of the historic continuation of lay leadership in our church, CLM’s resemble earlier extorters, class leaders, lay preachers and missioners.

To become a Certified Lay Minister an individual must apply, be trained, screened, examined and assigned following the “Steps to become a Certified Lay Minister” information available on the Louisiana conference web site When a CLM no longer has an assignment due to church discontinuance, merging or change of ministry plan, the district superintendent is encouraged to assist the CLM to find another congregation to serve. This may be his or her own local church or another church that needs missional leadership as part of a ministry team.

The CLM is assigned by the district superintendent to a congregation to provide preaching, care ministry, program leadership and witness to the community (or as otherwise spelled out in the CLM’s covenant agreement) as part of a Mutual Ministry Team. Only clergy have sacramental authority in The United Methodist Church. Baptism and Holy Communion are the two sacraments celebrated by our denomination. CLMs do not have sacramental authority, so they may not conduct baptism, Communion or weddings, but they may conduct funerals.

A CLM orientation and training will be held on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at the Wesley Center from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. This orientation and training will give you an opportunity to learn more about Certified Lay Ministry. At this time, we have approximately 30 persons who have expressed an interest in attending the CLM orientation and training event.

If interested in learning more about Certified Lay Ministry, contact your pastor and district superintendent. For any other questions regarding the CLM program, including receiving information about the April 20 CLM orientation and training, please contact Al Franks, Director Lay Servant Ministries for the Louisiana Conference, at

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