Lay Servant Ministries


Conference Director
David Bowen
Contact David


  • AWFUMC Conference Committee of Lay Servant Ministries Board Meeting, August 19, 12:30 pm, Evergreen United Methodist Church.
  • Dothan District Lay Servant Ministries Training, August 25-26, Pleasant Hill UMC. Click HERE for registration form.
  • Marianna-Panama City Lay Servant Ministries Training, September 16 & 23, Forest Park UMC, Panama City, Florida. Click HERE for registration form.
  • Pensacola District Lay Servant Ministries Training, September 30 & October 7, Christ UMC, Milton, Florida. Click here for registration form and information
  • Southeastern Jurisdiction Meeting of Lay Servant Ministries District and Conference Directors, July 12-14, 2018. First United Methodist Church, Montgomery, Alabama

Click HERE for a Lay Servant Ministries brochure and definitions.  


In 2012 the General Conference of The United Methodist Church approved legislation to change the name of Lay Speaking Ministries to Lay Servant Ministries. For several quadrennia various name changes were proposed – none of which adequately described the role of this leadership development program. The term servant was chosen because it best describes what Jesus told his disciples in John 13 after he himself had performed the duties of the lowliest servant. We should be honored to serve as our Lord and Savior did. We are called to live out our discipleship as servants in leadership!

Click HERE for a quick definition and requirements of a Certified Lay Servant, Speaker.

From the 2012 Book of Discipline, Section XI. Lay Servant Ministries, paragraph 266, pages 210 and 211:

Lay Servant ministries have two separate tracks: Lay Servant/Certified Lay Servant and Certified Lay Speaker.

When you complete the Basic Course you become a Lay Servant. You still must have your pastor's approval to begin. That has not changed. You can lead Bible studies, teach church school, assist your pastor and visit nursing homes but cannot preach.

When you complete the Basic Course and one Advanced Course you can request an interview with the district board of Lay Servant Ministries to become a Certified Lay Servant. Duties are the same as a Lay Servant with one difference. You can conduct, or assist in conducting, a worship service and present a sermon when requested by your pastor. You can only deliver a message in your church, not the district.

A Certified Lay Speaker will complete a Basic Course and the following Advanced Courses: Leading in Worship, Leading in Prayer, Discovering Spiritual Gifts, Preaching, United Methodist Polity (new course) and a United Methodist Heritage course and then request an interview with the district board of Lay Servant Ministries. You can deliver a message in your church and the district.

What has not changed is that everyone must take an Advance Course every three years to keep certification/status current. Also, an Annual Report must be completed each year and turned into your church's charge conference for approval to continue in this ministry.  

For those of you that have been a Certified Lay Speaker for awhile, the Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries, decided to grandfather these individuals in for a period of three (3) years beginning 2013. You must have taken a Basic Course and at least three of the six Advanced Courses mentioned previously with one being a "Preach" course. The other Advanced Courses must be taken over the next three years to complete all six required courses; otherwise, you will be moved to a status of Certified Lay Servant. 


All God's People
in All Places
and in All Times
are called to Love and to Serve