What is Certified Lay Minister?

A Certified Lay Minister (CLM) is a qualified United Methodist layperson called to congregational leadership as part of a ministry team under the supervision of a clergyperson, but who often serves the church in many other ways. Paragraph 272 in the 2004 Book of Discipline, authorized by the 2004 General Conference, explains Certified Lay Ministry, requirements and service distinction. Our Book of Discipline tell us that a CLM.

  • Is an extension of the historic role of laity in Methodist environment.
  • Is trained, supported, supervised and accountable for leadership in his/her context.
  • Can be assigned by the bishop and cabinet as an appropriate leaders in a smaller church or faith community.
  • Has the support and supervision of a clergyperson.
  • Can make a real difference in the vitality of a congregation that otherwise may be discontinued for lack of a pastor.


Steps to becoming Certified Lay Minister (CLM)

Contact the pastor of your church, and together read and discuss The Christian as Minister (2009 edition).

Write a letter of intent to your District Superintendent (DS) stating your call to become a Certified Lay Minister (CLM) and the particular ministry specialization and setting to which you are called.  The DS will ask for your permission to have the Office of Ministerial Concerns.

Conduct a background check (cost $50)
Have you sign a “notarized statement” detailing any former criminal or sexual misconduct; and sign a GBHEM work authorization form

Obtain a letter of recommendation from your pastor and an affirmative vote of the Church Council or Administrative Board.

Complete the Local Church Lay Speaker Training and the Certified Lay Speaker Training (within the last 3 years).  Have a letter of verification added to your file at the Center for Church Leadership (CCL) indicating your completion of this training. Enroll in and complete classes in United Methodist History, Theology, and Organization.  The CCL will receive a form indicating completion of these classes.

Complete training in Clergy Boundaries and Safe Sanctuaries.  The CCL will receive a form indicating completion of these classes.

Complete Inclusiveness Training.  The CCL will receive a form indicating completion of this class.  

Upon your request, the DS and the chair of the dCOM will assign you a mentor.  Usually the mentor will be the pastor of the local church that you, the candidate, attend.  The assignment will be made in writing with a copy to be placed in your candidate file with CCL.  With your mentor, establish your Ministry Team and work together on a covenant to address the ministry expectations of the CLM, to define the role of the mentor, and to specify the role of the Ministry Team in supporting the work of ministry in the church and community. 

Present the covenant to the congregation and/or ministry setting for approval.

Attend the Academy for Certified Lay Minister; usually occurring a weekend in May at Martin Methodist College.  A form noting completion will be added to your file with CCL.

Write a two-page summary of your ministry within your chosen setting.   

Complete the appropriate training for the specific area of ministry to which you are called. Send a letter to the chair of the dCOM requesting an interview for certification.  In advance of the interview, provide recommendations from the following:

  • Your District Superintendent 
  • Your Mentor (If different from your mentor, your pastor)
  • Lay Leader
  • Chairperson of you Church Council or Administrative Board
  • Shared Ministry Partners (others involved in your ministry specialization), as appropriate
  •  At least two (2) Ministry Team Members

Prior to your interview for certification, submit an updated Ministry Team Covenant to your District Chair.

After certification, the CLM will meet annually with the dCOM’s designated interview team, with re-certification bi-annually.




Martin Methodist College

433 West Madison St.
Pulaski, TN 38478