Lay Servant 101  

February 7, 2022 | | Deepen Faith, GNJ News, NEWSpirit

Have you ever wondered what a Lay Servant is? In the United Methodist Church, a lay servant is an active member of a local church who desires to serve the Church and has received specific training to develop skills and utilize their spiritual gifts. The Lay Servant Ministries program offers learning opportunities and experiences to equip disciples of Jesus Christ to realize and respond to their personal call to ministry. 

One who wishes to serve in this way starts by taking the Basic/Local Lay Servant class offered by the GNJ conference twice each year. This is the first step to becoming a lay servant.  

This class focuses on Leading, Caring, and Communicating and offers the opportunity to explore your gifts and how to use them to better serve your church and community. The class also includes a basic understanding of the structure of the UMC and an overview of Lay Servant Ministries. The ten-hour class, taught by clergy or Certified Lay Servants, may be held in two-hour sessions over five weeks or longer sessions over a weekend. Attendance at all classes is required. Classes are currently on Zoom, allowing you to choose the class schedule that works best for your personal schedule.  

If you are interested in taking the Basic class, I encourage you to speak with your pastor or your District Director for Lay Servant Ministries. The list of directors is found on the GNJ website (, Laity Leadership page. Click on Lay Servant Ministries for more information. 

After completing the Basic class, you may wish to take the next step – Certified/Advanced classes, which are offered twice a year in the GNJ Conference. Classes focus on diverse topics such as Storytelling, Leading in Prayer, Leading Bible Study, Caregiving, Stewardship, Planning and Leading Worship, Spiritual Gifts, History & Polity of the UMC, Preaching, and more. One topic per season (spring/fall) is chosen by the Lay Servant Ministries Committee. The Certified/Advanced is also ten hours of contact time and is taught by clergy. 

The Lay Servant Ministries program is an excellent way for people to be better servants of Jesus Christ, to become stronger church leaders, and to assist their pastors more capably. Will you consider taking the first step and taking the Basic class this spring? Registration information for both the Basic and Certified/Advanced is posted in The Digest and on the conference website.