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Leadership Development

Lay Servant Ministry

Paths to Lay Ministry


Richard Wahlstrom, co-district lay leader guides participants through a discernment retreat.


Certified Lay Servant

Be equipped and inspired to serve as a leader in various ministry areas inside and outside your congregation. Serve as staff or volunteer in areas like community advocacy, social justice issues, earth care, as well as children/youth ministry, congregational care, hospitality, prayer, mission, and more.

Certification Requirements

  1. Completion of Ministry Discernment Retreat.

  2. Attend a United Methodist training event either in person or online every year.

  3. Submission of a Lay Servant Ministry annual report every calendar year.

Certified Lay Speaker

Serve as a trained worship leader and share God’s word through preaching; you may choose to be placed on a published pulpit supply list available to conference pastors. View a list of certified lay speakers to find someone to come and speak at your church.

Certification Requirements

  1. Completion of Ministry Discernment Retreat.

  2. Clergy and church council or charge conference recommendation.

  3. Completion of required courses for lay speakers (weekend retreat and coursework).

  4. Interview with and approval from members of the Lay Ministry Team.

  5. Submission of Lay Servant Ministry annual report every calendar year.

  6. Encouraged to attend a United Methodist Training event either in person or online every year.

  7. Completion of one course related to preaching or worship leadership every three years.

Certified Lay Minister (CLM)

Serve as staff or a volunteer in a specialized ministry in roles such as communications director, music leader, children or youth ministries director, district parish nurse, care coordinator and spiritual leader of a congregation under oversight of an elder.

Certification Requirements 

Click here for a checklist of the process. 

  1. Completion of Ministry Discernment Retreat.

  2. Discern and choose ministry area for certification.

  3. Obtain written recommendation from home church clergy and council/charge conference.

  4. Research possible training opportunities related to ministry area.

  5. Check in on process as needed with your district's DCOM chair, DS and/or the Conference Leadership Development Office.

  6. Form a mutual ministry team.

  7. Attend lay speaker retreat anytime in the process.

  8. Submit a report documenting completion of training and a written application/ministry covenant to become a CLM in the chosen ministry area to: home clergy, district superintendent and CLM coordinator.

  9. Obtain recommendations from clergy, district superintendent and CLM coordinator. Click here for the recommendation form.

  10. Submit application/ministry covenant and letters of recommendation to District Committee of Ordained Ministry (dCOM).

  11. Interview with dCOM and obtain recommendation for certification.

  12. Recertify with dCOM every two years.


Dakotas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church 605.996.6552 1331 University Ave. Mitchell SD 57301-0460 US 43.69689310 -98.03291320 122 W. Franklin Avenue Ste 400 Minneapolis MN 55404 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 W University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000