Lay Servant Ministries

Called to serve

Through baptism, all Christians are called to a ministry of servanthood. Some feel called to serve their own church or others in a deeper way. The Minnesota Conference offers a variety of opportunities for laity to become trained and equipped to live out their calling.

Look at the events calendar (and select "Laity" under the month) to see when the next lay servant training events and other related types of opportunities are scheduled.

View a list of certified lay speakers to find someone to come and speak at your church.

Certification types and process

First step

Ministry Discernment Retreat: One-day workshop to learn basic leadership skills and complete spiritual gifts inventory

Second step

Choose a path that matches your gifts:

Certified Lay Servant: Be equipped and inspired to serve as a leader in various ministry areas, such as Christian education, congregational care, hospitality, prayer, mission, and more

Certified Lay Speaker: Serve as a trained worship leader and share God’s word through preaching; you may choose to be placed on a published pulpit supply list available to conference pastors

Certified Lay Minister: Serve as staff or a volunteer in a specialized ministry in roles such as communications director, music leader, children/youth ministries director, district parish nurse, and spiritual leader of a congregation under oversight of an elder

Training sessions

Training sessions

Ministry Discernment Retreat (one day): Offered every spring and fall in various locations. This retreat is the entry point for those exploring a call to lay ministry and provides an overview of the various lay ministry opportunities within the conference. Upcoming discernment retreats: Jan. 28, 2017 / Feb. 11, 2017

Lay Servant Ministries Class (one day): Classes will be offered every spring and fall in various locations throughout the state. The classes will correspond to the three gospel imperatives on which the Minnesota Conference is focused: grow in love of God and neighbor, reach new people, and heal a broken world.

Lay Speaker Retreat (weekend): Offered two times each year, as scheduling allows, at Koronis Ministries in Paynesville and Northern Pines Camp in Park Rapids.

CLM Modules (several days of training and coursework): Times and locations vary.

View and sign up for upcoming training events

Certification requirements

Certified Lay Servant
1. Completion of Ministry Discernment Retreat
2. Pastor and church council or charge conference approval
3. Completion of a Lay Servant Ministries class
4. Submission of Form 2 annually
5. Completion of a Lay Servant Ministries class every 3 years

Certified Lay Speaker
1. Completion of Ministry Discernment Retreat
2. Pastor and church council or charge conference approval
3. Completion of required courses for lay speakers (weekend retreat and coursework)
4. Interview with and approval from Lay Servant Ministries Team
5. Submission of Form 2 annually
6. Completion of a Lay Servant Ministries class every 3 years

Certified Lay Minister (CLM)
1. Completion of Ministry Discernment Retreat
2. Pastor and church council or charge conference approval
3. District superintendent recommendation
4. Completion of a Lay Servant Ministries class for lay servants
5. Completion of CLM Modules
6. Written application to, appearance before, and approval from District Committee on Ordained Ministry (dCOM)
7. Approval by dCOM every 2 years


"I'm 65 years old. I have an English, speech, and theater major. I taught English (including Advanced Placement Lit and Comp) for 36 years; I coached speech for 34 years; I directed theater for 30 years. Although it would seem that I wouldn't 'learn' anything new at my age and with my experience, I personally found the Lay Speaker Retreat to be one of the most positive and valuable training experiences I ever had. I learned so much--about our faith and about how various people approach the ministry/pulpit supply, about other people and their faith journeys, and various means of approaching the pulpit. I also was pleased that many of the techniques I had been using were exactly what I should have been doing (one does like 'validation,' I guess). I met and connected with other people across the conference. I've been through probably hundreds of trainings in my now 40-year career. I still consider that weekend one of the best, if not the best, training experience that I've had."  –Carol Ottoson

"I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated the Lay Speaker training. I have been to many different meetings in my lifetime, some good, some terrible. This one was simply excellent. I heard this from other participants as well. Thank you for putting in the time to make this an exceptional retreat."  –Lloyd Peterson


Janet Beard, Minnesota Conference Co-Lay Leader / (763) 300-6619

Bob Kutter, Minnesota Conference Co-Lay Leader / (320) 491-5604

Jane Stone, Lay Servant Ministries Registrar / (651) 214-6470

Steve Trefz, Equipper of Lay Servant Ministries / (605) 251-5316

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058