Lay Servant Ministries

All are called and strategically deployed to Grow. Reach. Heal.


The ConneXion Retreat pushed us to examine different aspects of ourselves: our values, personalities, and gifts in how these related to our calling. We found it encouraging to go through this process alongside others on similar journeys. Hearing their stories reinforced and refined our own leadership paths. The timing for us was better than we could have imagined as just a few months later, our pastor left and we needed to step up during the transition. We are lay leaders because we love our church and want to give it as much as we can so others can be blessed the way we have been. 

-Lisa and Miguel Salazar, La Puerta Abierta, Saint Paul. 

It was a clear message for me to follow this call and see where it sent. My certification led me to be a liaison for the homeless shelter, visit shut-ins and the elderly, write monthly newsletter articles for our church, and serve in support of the pastor. Each job evolved into unique opportunities that were directed by God. I felt the presence of God with me in all that I did. It was truly amazing. My advice to you is to let God lead you. This is not about you, but rather you serving God. 

-Del Larson, Grace UMC, Moorhead





Step 1: Attend the ConneXion Retreat.

The next ConneXion Retreat is TBD.

Step 2: Find your niche in one of three tracks.

See certification requirements below. 

Certified Lay Servant

Certified Lay Speaker

Certified Lay Minister

Training Events to Renew Your Certification in 2020

  • Pre-Annual Conference Workshops will be offered June 10, from 10-11:30, in Sioux Falls.  Register for Annual Conference
  • Reach 2020, workshops on reaching new people in new ways, October 9-10, Messiah UMC in Plymouth.

Certification Types and Requirements

Certified Lay Servant

Be equipped and inspired to serve as a leader in various ministry areas inside and outside your congregation. Serve as staff or volunteer in areas like community advocacy, social justice issues, earth care, as well as children/youth ministry, congregational care, hospitality, prayer, mission, and more.

Certification Requirements

  1. Completion of ConneXion Retreat.
  2. Encouraged to attend a United Methodist Training event either in person or online every year.
  3. Submission of Certified Lay Servant Form annually.

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

Certification Requirements

  1. Completion of ConneXion Retreat.
  2. Clergy and church council or charge conference recommendation.
  3. Completion of required courses for lay speakers (weekend retreat and coursework).
  4. Interview with and approval from members of the Lay Ministry Team.
  5. Submission of Certified Lay Speaker Form annually.
  6. Encouraged to attend a United Methodist Training event either in person or online every year.
  7. Completion of one course related to preaching or worship leadership every three years.

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, care coordinator, and spiritual leader of a congregation under oversight of an elder.

Certification Requirements

  1. Complete ConneXion retreat.
  2. Discern and choose ministry area for certification CLM Materials and Information
    1. Please note:  The CLM Materials and Information link gives you all the information you need to know about Lay Servant Ministries and the discernment process.  It also clarifies the difference between a Certified Lay Servant, a Certified Lay Speaker, and a Certified Lay Minister.
    2. The Certified Lay Ministry Guidelines (the fourth choice) contains all of the information and forms that you need, with the exception of the Report of Lay Ministers Form 2, which is number 14 below.
  3. Obtain written recommendation from home church and council/charge conference
  4. Complete CLM Modules 1-4, which can be found in the Certified Lay Ministry (CLM) Certification Program through – Chris#1A44369.  [Please note that the time limit to complete each Module is two-three weeks long. 
  5. Meet with CLM coordinator [Carol Ottoson, ]  to finalize a training completion plan.
  6. Form a Mutual Ministry Team.
  7. Complete appropriate screening and assessment as required by district.
  8. Receive letter of recommendation from district superintendent.
  9. Have all requirements for certification reviewed by conference committee on lay servant ministries for referral to district committee on ministry (dCOM) for examination and recommendation.
  10. Make application in writing to become certified lay minister.
  11. Submit a report documenting completion of training and a written application/ministry covenant to become a CLM in the chosen ministry area to: clergy, DS and CLM coordinator [Carol Ottoson,].
  12. Submit application/ministry covenant and letters of recommendation to dCOM.
  13. Interview with dCOM and obtain recommendation for certification
  14. Submit an annual report to charge conference/church council where membership is held, to the conference committee on LSM giving evidence of satisfactory performance as a CLM.  This can be found at the following: Report of Certified Lay Minister (Form 2).
  15. Obtain a ministry review by PPRC/SPPRC, church council, or charge conference.
  16. Complete an approved continuing education course every two years.
  17. Recertify with dCOM every two years.

Have Questions? We are here to help.

Terry Sullivan, Lay Ministries Team Chair 
/ (218) 770-9573

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

Jody Thone, Director of Leadership Development / (612) 230-6134

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058