Certified Lay Minister

The Certified Lay Minister (CLM) is a position that was created by the 2004 session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. It is a position designed to enhance the quality of ministry and ability of small membership churches, team ministry in larger membership churches, and ministry in other community settings to meet the spiritual and temporal needs of a constantly changing world. (Paragraph 268, 2016 Book of Discipline, United Methodist Church)  

If you have questions about the CLM program, please feel free to contact Darlene White, Conference Assistant for Leadership Development, for more information at darlene.white@inumc.org  or 317-924-1321. Or scroll down to see some CLM FAQ

Those individuals who are interested can begin working through steps 1 - 2 below in order to be ready for certification in the CLM Academy.  Training resources include class sessions, a wide variety of reading and viewing materials, and on-going support from instructors, clergy persons, and local church members.  Please contact your District Director of Lay Servant Ministries or your District Office for information on when and where trainings are taking place through the Lay Servant Academy.  You may also take many of the classes for Certified Lay Speaker through www.beadisciple.com.  Please notify your District Director of Lay Servant Ministries of your completion of this course and request a certificate be sent to them by Be A Disciple.  

District Directors of Lay Servant Ministries

CLM Brochure

Steps to Certification for Certified Lay Ministry

STEP 1 – Certified Lay Servant  BOD 266

STEP 2 –  Certified Lay Speaker  BOD 267

STEP 3 – Attend Certified Lay Minister Academy with Recommendation of Pastor and Administrative Council/ or Charge Conference

STEP 4 -  Meeting with District Committee on Ministry (dCOM) to Finalize Certification

STEP 5 - Conditional Assignment to congregation 


The Indiana Conference is unable to recognize the completion of CLM Modules on BeADisciple. While BeADisciple is a fantastic resource, the CLM process the Indiana Conference has established requires in-person training with instructors at the Conference Center. More information about the CLM process can be found in the Application and Handbook link below.


There are two sets of dates for CLM Courses:

Spring 2019 CLM

February 23, 2019: CLM Orientation

May 2-4, 2019: CLM Academy


Fall 2018 CLM

August 25th, 2018: CLM Orientation

October 3-4, 2018: CLM Academy

Both Orientation and Academy must be attended for completion. All Courses are held centrally at the Conference Center. 

Essential Documents For CLMs



What is a certified lay minister (CLM)?
A Certified Lay Minister is a certified lay servant, certified lay missioner, (or equivalent as defined by his or her central conference), who is called and equipped to conduct public worship, care for the congregation, assist in program leadership, develop new and existing faith communities, preach the Word, lead small groups, or establish community outreach ministries as part of a ministry team with the supervision and support of a clergyperson. A certified lay minister is assigned by a district superintendent in accordance with ¶419.2. This person enters the certification process, which includes training, support, supervision and accountability while serving in a local church. Certified lay ministry is meant to be longer-term, intentional ministry as part of a ministry team.

How is the CLM placed for service?
The CLM may be assigned by the Bishop in consultation with the Cabinet (205.4) or by Conference Superintendent (¶) to a congregation to provide preaching, care ministry, program leadership, and witness to the community as part of a mutual ministry team. Completion of the CLM process does not guarantee assignment outside of their current congregation. A CLM may continue fruitful lay ministry within their own home congregation under the supervision and support of a clergyperson.

How is a CLM different from other recognized ministers?
A CLM is a unique, recognized lay servant in The United Methodist Church. A CLM is intended for missional leadership in churches or other ministry settings as part of a team ministry under the supervision of a clergyperson. This category of ministry is actually a part of the historic continuation of lay leadership in our church as a CLM resembles earlier Exhorters, Class Leaders, Lay Preachers, and Missioners.

A CLM may be assigned as part of a ministry team and is not appointed. There is to be a supervising clergyperson who is appointed to oversee the charge, even if a CLM is serving in a pastoral leadership role within a local congregation. A CLM does not sacramental authority at any time. This clergyperson provides sacramental authority and ensures provision of sacrament for the congregation including not only the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion, but any and all rights and functions under the heading of “ordering of the church” – such as reception of members, weddings, and the like.

Specific distinctions are offered below to explain (not compare) leadership. A CLM is different from…

  • An Elder?
    An Elder is a clergy member of the annual conference ordained to a lifetime ministry of Word, Sacrament, Order and Service. By the authority given in their ordination, they are authorized to preach and teach the Word of God, to provide pastoral care and counsel, to administer the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion, and to order the life of the Church for service in mission and ministry. The authority of the elders is not limited to a specific appointment as they are ordained to a lifetime ministry of Word, Sacrament, Order and Service. Elders are also under the guaranteed appointment (placement) of a Bishop and in most cases have completed seminary training. 
  • A Licensed Local Pastor?
    A Licensed Local Pastor is a clergy member of the annual conference providing pastoral leadership in a local congregation. They are appointed (placed) by the Bishop for non-itinerant ministry in a local congregation. Their license is tied to their appointment; and when not under appointment, the Licensed Local Pastor reverts to a lay status. Their training includes attending a Licensing School and completing the Course of Study Program administered through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.  
  • A Certified Lay Speaker?
    A Certified Lay Speaker is a certified lay servant (or equivalent as defined by his or her central conference) whose call has been affirmed by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries or equivalent structure to serve in pulpit supply in accordance and compliance with ¶341.1 of the Book of Discipline. The role of a certified lay speaker is a specific calling for ministry of pulpit supply. The lay speaker has completed a track of study which includes the “Introduction to Lay Ministry: The BASIC Course”, as well as courses on leading worship, leading prayer, discovering spiritual gifts, preaching, United Methodist heritage, and United Methodist polity, and/or other courses as determined by the annual conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries (or equivalent structure). The Certified Lay Speaker is to complete another advanced course every three years as part of the recertification process. (See par. 267, 2016 BOD)
  • A Certified Lay Servant?
    A certified lay servant is a professing member of a local church or charge, or a baptized participant of a recognized United Methodist collegiate ministry or other United Methodist ministry setting, who desires to serve the Church and who knows and is committed to Scripture and the doctrine, heritage, organization, and life of The United Methodist Church and who has received specific training to witness to the Christian faith through spoken communication, to lead within a church and community, and to provide caring ministry. The certified lay servant serves the local church or charge (or beyond the local church or charge) in ways in which his or her witness, leadership, and service inspires others to a deeper commitment to Christ and more effective discipleship. The Certified Lay Servant is to complete an advanced course every three years as part of the recertification process. Traditionally, these individuals also speak on Laity Sunday. (See par. 266, 2016 BOD)

For additional information, check out Discipleship Ministries for more FAQ about Certified Lay Ministry.


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