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Lay Ministries FAQs


  1. I am already certified. Will my status change if I haven’t completed all these classes?
  2. What if I have taken some classes for Certified Lay Speaker but am not yet certified?
  3. What if I have taken some modules for Certified Lay Minister and am not yet certified?
  4. What is the renewal process for Certified Pulpit Supply and Certified Lay Minister?
  5. Will certificates still be handed out with course completion?
  6. Will lay servant annual reports still be filled out each year and submitted for approval?
  7. Who makes up the district ministry teams that will be interviewing Certified Pulpit Supply and Certified Lay Ministers?
  8. How will I know if I am approved once I complete all courses for Certified Pulpit Supply and/or Certified Lay Ministers?
  9. Can I still take classes through Be A Disciple and have them count toward required courses?
  10. What if my course records are different from what the Conference has in its records?
  11. What if my church is disaffiliating and I am in process of certification or already certified?
  12. Are we allowed to do it this way? What does the Book of Discipline say?
  13. What is Absorb?
  14. Why the change?

I am already certified. Will my status change if I haven’t completed all these classes?

If you have been certified as Certified Pulpit Supply (formerly Certified Lay Speaker) or as a Certified Lay Minister, you will not need to take more classes. However, every two years you will be interviewed. At that time, you will be asked to complete an educational goal (i.e., course, mentoring or coaching).
 

What if I have taken some classes for Certified Lay Speaker but am not yet certified?

Laity actively pursuing Certified Pulpit Supply (formerly Certified Lay Speaker) are encouraged to continue to complete requirements in the learning pathways. Credit will be given for courses completed prior to January 2023.
 

What if I have taken some modules for Certified Lay Minister and am not yet certified?

Laity actively pursuing Certified Lay Minister are encouraged to continue to complete requirements in the learning pathways. Credit will be given for courses completed prior to January 2023.
 

What is the renewal process for Certified Pulpit Supply and Certified Lay Minister?

Every year laity under assignment to a local church, no matter their status, will be interviewed by the district committee on ordained ministry. Certified Lay Ministers who aren't assigned to a local church will be interviewed by the district committee on ordained ministry at least every two years. Laity approved as Certified Pulpit Supply will meet with their district lay ministry team at least every two years. At that time, you will be asked to complete an educational goal (i.e., course, mentoring or coaching).
 

Will certificates still be handed out with course completion?

Laity who complete classes in Certified Pulpit Supply and Certified Lay Minister pathways will receive a course completion certificate. You should keep them for your records and lay annual reports.
 

Will lay servant annual reports still be filled out each year and submitted for approval?

Laity who are actively engaging in course work and those who are already certified within the Certified Pulpit Supply and Certified Lay Minister pathways will fill out a lay education annual report.
 

Who makes up the district ministry teams that will be interviewing Certified Pulpit Supply and Certified Lay Ministers?

The district lay ministry team, which interviews Certified Pulpit Supply not under assignment to a local church, could include a district lay leader, a district lay education coordinator, other district laity, district clergy and the district superintendent. The district committee on ministry, which interviews all Certified Lay Ministers and any Certified Pulpit Supply assigned to a local church, is made up of district clergy and laity as nominated by the district superintendent and approved by the annual conference.

 

How will I know if I am approved once I complete all courses for Certified Pulpit Supply and/or Certified Lay Ministers?

Following your interview, the district lay ministry team and the district committe on ministry registrar will submit your paper to the Conference Lay Education Director. Then, you will receive notification of your approval from the executive team of the Conference Lay Ministry Team.
 

Can I still take classes through Be A Disciple and have them count toward required courses?

Courses taken through Be A Disciple could potentially count toward a course in one of the three learning pathways. The course completion certificate for the course taken should be submitted to the Conference Lay Ministry Team. The team will consider the course and determine if it is comparable to a course required in a pathway. Any missing courses within a pathway would be communicated and required to be completed before the certification interview. We believe that all education is worthwhile, so if a course interests you, you should take it.
 

What if my course records are different from what the Conference has in its records?

Submit your course completion certificates to the Conference Lay Ministry administrator, Morgan Scott, mscott@moumethodist.org.
 

What if my church is disaffiliating, and I am in process of certification or already certified?

If your church is disaffiliating and you are choosing to remain United Methodist, you can move your membership to another local church. You might visit our Church Locator to find the UMCs near you or even consider relating to a United Methodist Church through their online worship experience. Several of our larger churches have vibrant online worship and do receive members who do not live nearby. You can continue your coursework towards certification or follow the renewal of certification steps as they apply.

If your church is disaffiliating and you are following, your certification will be discontinued at the time of disaffiliation. (Disaffiliations are effective upon annual conference session vote.) These certifications are related to the United Methodist Church and the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church.
 

Are we allowed to do it this way? What does the Book of Discipline say?

Authority is given for the Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries to approve alternative courses. It is important to note that the design of these courses must fit the needs of the Annual Conference (UMC Discipleship Ministries). See also, 2016 Book of Discipline, Paragraph 266.7.
 

What is Absorb?

Absorb is an on-demand learning platform that will offer online courses on your timeline, at a pace that works for you. The goal of this learning platform is to support educational opportunities for those seeking certification as well as equip local church leaders on a variety of topics to support their work.
 

Why the change?

When COVID hit in 2020, we had to rethink how we provided lay education in the Missouri Conference just as many churches had to rethink how to provide worship. We have spent the past couple of years taking a hard look at laity education and how to meet the unique needs of Missouri United Methodist churches.

Members from the Conference Lay Ministry Team, in conversation with the Cabinet and Bishop Farr, determined that a new, more innovative approach to equipping and empowering laity was needed for the Missouri Conference. The following areas were identified as priorities: Courses that were more accessible, filled with contextual content and updated, more culturally aware, and prepared and led by knowledgeable instructors.

From these conversations, new learning pathways were formed that will help educate and empower laity to live into God’s call on their lives while equipping any called laity to pulpit supply and lay minister work.