Those who feel called to certified lay ministry should first follow the process to become a certified lay servant. This is the first step for any certification through Lay Servant Ministries. Lay servants who are interested in additional training for a specific ministry can explore a variety of options from becoming a lay speaker (pulpit supply) to following one of the course pathways in a specific area of ministry related to their calling. All Christians are called to ministry and there are many ways to to respond to God’s call.
Those who feel called to the specific role of the certified lay minister should pursue the following steps:
Apply to be a CLM Candidate:
- Talk to your pastor about your sense of calling and invite your pastor to learn more about their role in supporting you as a clergy mentor.
- Read the book, The Christian as Minister. This book is available online or will be available as a handout at the Day of Discovery event.
- Attend a Day of Discovery event (usually held in July). This event, while optional, is highly recommended as it provides the opportunity to meet potential cohort members, learn about the CLM cohort study track, and participate in discussions about certified lay ministry in the North Carolina Conference.
- Meeting: Have your pastor request a meeting that includes the district superintendent, the pastor, members of S/PPRC, and the chair of church council to discuss the needs of the church and the suitability of your gifts as a candidate for the certified lay ministry program within the local church. These are important members of your team during this journey.
- Application: Complete the online application.
- Signatures: When you submit your online application, your pastor, church council chair, S/PPRC chair, and district superintendent will receive emails inviting them to fill out a brief form affirming their support of you beginning this journey to be a certified lay minister. This counts as their “electronic signature” on your application.
Training and Assessments for CLM Candidates:
- Prerequisite LSM Courses: In addition to the Basic Course in Lay Servant Ministries, all CLMs need to have taken Living Our United Methodist Beliefs (UM History) and Life Together in the UMC (UM Polity). These courses are offered regularly through Lay Servant Ministries (see upcoming course offerings). Courses offered through the districts are usually $15-$25, plus the cost of the book. These prerequisites can also be taken through BeADisciple.com.
- Safe Sanctuaries: A Safe Sanctuaries course designed specifically for CLM candidates is offered every September for those about to begin the CLM Candidate Training Program. The course fee is $25.
- OPTICS Training for Bias: Offered through the conference. (Register here – it’s free!)
- Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI): A short inventory, with a debrief on Zoom (Register here – we will provide a code to all CLM candidates to cover the cost).
- Background Check and Psychological Assessment: During the course of the program, CLM candidates will also complete a background check ($10) and psychological assessment ($150 contribution from CLM candidate – the conference will cover the remaining $250).
- Coursework: Complete the four modules of the CLM Candidate Training Program (usually October through April). Each module is $30, plus the cost of the module workbook. Note that the BeADisciple versions of these modules are not accepted as an alternative to the NC Conference Candidate Training Program.
- Demonstration Project: Complete a demonstration project, to be presented at the end of the fourth module of the CLM Candidate Training Program. All projects will be presented at the final cohort gathering (April).
Review and Certification:
- DS Recommendation: Receive a letter of recommendation from your district superintendent.
- DCOM Interview: The CLM candidate ensures that all requirements for certification have been met prior to scheduling an interview with the district committee on ordained ministry. The district committee on ordained ministry interviews the candidate and makes a recommendation to the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries about whether to certify the candidate.
- Final Certification: The conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries votes for final certification.
Once certified, the CLM is assigned by the district superintendent to provide lay servant leadership in a ministry or in a church as part of a ministry team. The CLM is accountable to the district superintendent or another ordained or licensed minister appointed to oversee the charge, who will make provision for sacramental ministry and provide guidance and mentoring (see role of clergy mentor).