Lay Servant Ministries

What are my strengths, values, and passions? What brings meaning and purpose to my life? How can I continue to grow spiritually? How can I make a difference? What are the ways I can connect to ministry across the Minnesota Annual Conference? If you are asking yourself these questions, consider joining us for Connexion: Finding Purpose and Connection in Ministry. This retreat is about listening deeply to God, to yourself, to each other, and to the needs of the world. It's about connecting your passions and call to others in the Minnesota Conference. It's about finding your spot to contribute. This retreat is replacing the Ministry Discernment Retreat (MDR) and qualifies you as a Certified Lay Servant. 

 Connexion Retreat coming this fall, Sept 7-8, 2018 at Christ UMC, Rochester.

Training Events 2018

For Renewal of Lay Certification

  • June 26, SPRC Training with Susan Nienaber @ Main Street Church in North Branch. RSVP to Laurie Huston
  • July 13-15, Mission U. United Methodist Women, Embracing Wholeness: an earth perspective for covenantal living; What about our Money: a faith response; and the Missionary Conferences of the United Methodist Church in the US are the topics for this year @Kelly Inn, St. Cloud.
  • July 19, Discipleship Toolkit Series: Living your Strengths & Building a Strengths Based Church. Conference Office, Minneapolis.
  • July 26-29, Creation Care Summit @Hamline University.
  • July 28, Mission U Too: Embracing Wholeness: An earth perspective for covenantal living. A children and youth study on Money matters will be held in conjunction with the adult program. Detroit Lakes UMC.
  • July 31, Giving and Financial Best Practices MN Foundation Event, Centennial, Roseville.
  • Aug 2, Giving & Financial Best Practices MN Foundation Event, Alexandria, MN.
  • Aug 4, Mission U Too: What about our Money. A Children and youth study on Money Matters will be held in conjunction with the adult program. The Well, Rosemount.
  • Aug 7, Giving & Financial Best Practices MN Foundation Event, Redwood Falls, MN.
  • Sept 7-8, ConneXion Retreat: Finding Purpose & Connection in Ministry, Christ UMC Rochester.
  • Oct 5-6, REACH Conference, Sioux Falls, SD.
  • Oct 27, River Valley Lay Leadership Day, "Gold Rush".
  • Oct 25-28, Walk to Emmaus Men's weekend. Camp Koronis.
  • Nov 1-4 Walk to Emmaus Women's weekend. Camp Koronis.

Certification Types and Requirements

1. Attend Connexion Retreat.

2. Choose a path that matches your gifts from the list below.

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 Connexion Retreat.
2. Encouraged to attend a United Methodist Training event either in person or online every year.
3. Submission of Certified Lay Servant Form annually.

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 Connexion 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 Certified Lay Speaker Form annually.
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

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

Certification Requirements

1. Completion of Connexion 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. Meet with CLM coordinator to finalize a training completion plan.
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 letters of recommendation from Clergy, DS and CLM coordinator.
10. Submit application/ministry covenant and letters of recommendation to dCOM.
11. Interview with dCOM and obtain recommendation for certification. 
12. Recertify with dCOM every two years. 


"I'm 65 years old. I have an English, speech, and theater major. I taught English (including Advanced Placement Lit and Comp) for 36 years; I coached speech for 34 years; I directed theater for 30 years. Although it would seem that I wouldn't 'learn' anything new at my age and with my experience, I personally found the Lay Speaker Retreat to be one of the most positive and valuable training experiences I ever had. I learned so much--about our faith and about how various people approach the ministry/pulpit supply, about other people and their faith journeys, and various means of approaching the pulpit. I also was pleased that many of the techniques I had been using were exactly what I should have been doing (one does like 'validation,' I guess). I met and connected with other people across the conference. I've been through probably hundreds of trainings in my now 40-year career. I still consider that weekend one of the best, if not the best, training experience that I've had."  –Carol Ottoson

"I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated the Lay Speaker training. I have been to many different meetings in my lifetime, some good, some terrible. This one was simply excellent. I heard this from other participants as well. Thank you for putting in the time to make this an exceptional retreat."  –Lloyd Peterson


Jody Thone, Director of Leadership Development / (612) 230-6134

Jane Stone, Lay Servant Ministries Registrar / (651) 214-6470

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058