What is a Certified Lay Minister?

The 2016 Book of Discipline, ¶268


“A certified lay minister is a certified lay servant, certified lay missioner, (or equivalent as defined by his or her central conference) who is called and equipped to conduct public worship, care for the congregation, assist in program leadership, develop new and existing faith communities, preach the Word, lead small groups, or establish community outreach ministries as part of a ministry team with the supervision and support of a clergy person.” (¶268)).

Certified lay ministers are laypersons, and as such may not consecrate the elements at communion, perform weddings, receive new members, or perform baptisms. The CLM, however, may perform all of the other duties of a pastoral leader within the ministry setting he or she is assigned. It is important that as a CLM, you consult with your CLM mentor or district superintendent to ensure that there are no state laws that would prohibit you from performing any civil ceremonies such as funerals. (Source: © 2016, Discipleship Resources, Nashville, Tennessee.)

Learn more about the Certified Lay Minister program or view the CLM Brochure from Discipleship Ministries.

About BeADisciple’s CLM program

Many United Methodist conferences accept BeADisciple’s four online modules for those wishing to become Certified Lay Ministers, including the East Ohio Annual Conference, the Florida Annual Conference, the Great Plains Conference, and more.

BeADisciple’s CLM program requires pre-approval from the participant’s pastor/mentoring pastor AND District or Conference LSM director. More information on the approval process is found on each module course page.

Each module also requires the initial formation and continuation of a Mutual Ministry Team consisting of the CLM learner, the CLM’s pastor mentor, the lay leader within the CLM’s church, the district superintendent or designee, and three to five others from the local church. We strongly recommend that this team be recruited prior to the start of the first CLM course module, CLM 101Call and Covenant for Ministry in order to meet the course objectives which include the completion of a ministry covenant assignment. One-on-one meetings with the CLM learner’s pastor mentor and together with the mutual ministry team members are required during all CLM training modules.

CLM Training Program Dates

Click the links for more information about each training, and scroll down to see all scheduled dates.  Learners in CLM Module 1 must already be Certified Lay Servants — that is, they must have completed the Basic Lay Servant Ministries course plus the Spiritual Gifts advanced LSM course (either Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts, For the Common Good: Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts or locally).

“…this class, along with others I have taken here, has greatly impacted my growth. I feel the power of the Holy Spirit leading me and while I am still in amazement and awe, I believe I am being led. This was an excellent class and I learned so much.” 

CLM Module 1: Call and Covenant for Ministry

  • June 17 – 30, 2024
  • August 5 – 18, 2024
  • September 23 – October 6, 2024
  • November 11 – 24, 2024

CLM Module 2: The Practice of Ministry

  • May 20 – June 9, 2024
  • July 8 – 28, 2024
  • August 26 – September 15, 2024
  • October 14 – November 3, 2024
  • December 2 – 22, 2024

CLM Module 3: Organization for Ministry

  • June 17 – June 30, 2024
  • August 5 – 18, 2024
  • September 23 – October 6, 2024
  • November 11 – 24, 2024

CLM Module 4: Connection for Ministry

  • May 20 – June 2, 2024
  • July 8 – 21, 2024
  • August 26 – September 8, 2024
  • October 14 – 27, 2024
  • December 2 – 15, 2024

Continuing Education for Current CLMs

Every two years, certified CLMs need to go through a process to have their recognition as a CLM renewed. Part of this process involves completing continuing education credits. BeADisciple is pleased to offer Lay Servant Ministries advanced courses as continuing education for CLMs. You should always check with your own district or conference Lay Servant Ministries Director first to make sure these are approved for credit in your conference.

If you have questions, please contact the BeADisciple registrar at beadisciple.com@sckans.edu.

Certified Lay Minister Renewal

The 2016 Book of Discipline, ¶268.4

“Recognition as a certified lay minister may be renewed […] after the certified lay minister has:

… (c) completed a Lay Servant Ministries advanced course or approved continuing education event, as defined by the conference committee on Lay Servant Ministries or equivalent structure, in the last two years; …”

Meet the Instructors

David B. Palmer

David B. Palmer is a Certified Lay Minister and Director of Lay Servant Ministries for the North Central District in the Florida Conference United Methodist Church. He is assigned to Belleview UMC’s ministry team in roles including preaching, teaching, and developing leaders, and in congregational care, missions, and community connections. David serves in district pulpit supply, as a conference lay delegate and on the Conference Board of Lay Servant Ministries. His career encompasses senior executive leadership in public safety services and as an adjunct college professor focused on leadership, strategic decisionmaking, and outstanding on-line learning. David brings his spiritual gifts, talents, and enthusiasm as a BeADisciple.com instructor to mentor future Certified Lay Ministers in exceptional service as Jesus’ disciples. 

De Keimach

De Keimach was confirmed as a Certified Lay Minister in the United Methodist Church in February 2022.  She first visited the United Methodist Church in January of 2017 and knew she had found her spiritual home. 

De serves her home church (Aldersgate UMC in North Reading, Massachusetts) as the worship chair, with a primary focus on using social media to extend the reach of the church.  From assisting with weekly worship broadcast to daily posting across platforms, she knows this ministry is essential to keeping people connected no matter where they are.  This focus supports the belief that the church is not the building but is the people.  De also enjoys writing and leading prayer. She has been a student in many BeADisciple courses and appreciates the opportunity to become an instructor/learner. 

Elaine Pratt

Elaine Pratt is a Certified Lay Minister serving Newmarket Community Church. In this role, she participates in strategic worship planning including sermon series theme development, writing the service liturgy and prayers, writing daily devotions on that week’s sermon theme and scripture, recruiting/training liturgists, and periodically leading worship/preaching. She also co-develops/co-leads the annual women’s retreat, provides pastoral care, facilitates small groups where needed, and serves on the Executive Council.

Professionally, she is a retired college professor who was program director of and taught in the graduate program in pharmaceutical manufacturing and engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Stevens, Elaine spent many years in the pharmaceutical industry as a corporate middle manager and an independent industry consultant.


Todd Seifert

Todd Seifert is a Certified Lay Minister in the Great Plains Conference (Kansas and Nebraska) of The United Methodist Church. He serves fulltime in ministry as communications director for the Great Plains as well as serving as pastor at Centenary UMC in Lawrence, Kansas. He is a regular contributor to an online daily devotion email within the Great Plains Conference and hosts an award-winning podcast titled “In Layman’s Terms” that tells stories about discipleship and shares reflections on scripture. He has more than 25 years of experience leading Bible studies for all ages, though his favorite is facilitating Disciple I Bible Study, a task he has enjoyed multiple times over the years. And he has led the class “Acts as a Lenten Journey” on BeADisciple.com.