Certified Lay Ministers

Certified Lay Minister reports are to be submitted online this year. If you have not received a login, please email Leah Zuckerman at lzuckerman@epaumc.church and provide your full name, email address and phone number.

To access the Arena website http://member.gnjumc.org
Be sure to read the FAQ for helpful tips and information regarding completing the reports.

What is a Certified Lay Minister (CLM)?

A Certified Lay Minister (CLM) is a qualified United Methodist layperson called to congregational leadership as part of a ministry team under the supervision of a clergy person, but who often serves the church in many different ways.

A Certified Lay Minister shall:

  • Conduct public worship
  • Care for the congregation
  • Assist in program leadership
  • Develop new and existing faith communities
  • Preach the Word
  • Lead small groups
  • Establish community outreach ministries

Requirements to Become a Certified Lay Minister:

  1. Be an active Certified Lay Servant or a Certified Lay Speaker.
  2. Be recommended by the pastor of the local church where membership is held and by vote of the church council or charge conference.
  3. Complete courses including preaching and exegesis, the care of the congregation, and other courses as recommended by the General Board of Discipleship and General Board of Higher Education and Ministry in consultation with leaders in the annual conference, and other appropriate agencies and organizations.
  4. Demonstrate appreciation of the history, polity, doctrine, worship and liturgy of The United Methodist Church through service in the local church.
  5. Be recommended by the district superintendent after completion of appropriate screening.
  6. Apply in writing to the District Committee on Ordained Ministry.
  7. Appear before the District Committee on Ordained Ministry for review and approval

A certified lay minister is to apply in writing for re-certification biannually to the District Committee on Ordained Ministry.

If you’d like to explore Certified Lay Ministry, talk with your pastor about the process.

Our Book of Discipline tell us that a CLM:

  • Is an extension of the historic role of laity in the Methodist environment.
  • Is trained, supported, supervised and accountable for leadership in his/her context.
  • Can be assigned by the bishop and cabinet as an appropriate leader in a smaller church or faith community.
  • Has the support and supervision of a clergyperson.
  • Can make a real difference in the vitality of a congregation that otherwise may be discontinued for lack of a pastor.

Who Can Apply?

A Certified Lay Servant or a Certified Lay Speaker may become a certified lay minister.

If you are interested in becoming a CLM, pray to discern God’s will in your life. Reflect on questions like these: Could God be calling you as a layperson to be a part of a ministry team using pastoral gifts given to you? Could you serve God faithfully in a team under the leadership of your pastor as a CLM in the congregation in which you are currently a member, or serve a small congregation as its leader? Are you willing to explore this form of leadership in The United Methodist Church?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, consider becoming a Certified Lay Minister and experience what it is like to be faithfully alive to the possibilities of leading the mission and ministry of a church today as part of a ministry team. Talk with your pastor to explore the process. Complete the training.

Steps to Certification

  1. Local Church Recommendation. Written recommendation of the Pastor and supporting vote of the Church Council or Church Conference where he/she holds membership.
  2. Complete Coursework for CLM
  3. Complete the following: Safe Sanctuaries Training, Sexual Ethics Training, Background Check for Laity, Psychological Assessment
  4. Recommendation of District Superintendent
  5. Meet with and approval from District Committee on Ordained Ministry.
  6. Approval by Committee on Lay Ministries.


The CLM must be re-certified by the District Committee on Ordained Ministry every 2 years after:

  • A successful ministry program
  • Recommendation from Charge Conference
  • Completion of Continuing Education
  • Recommendation of District Superintendent/Pastor