Lay Servant Ministries


12 After [Jesus] washed the disciples’ feet, he put on his robes and returned to his place at the table. He said to them, “Do you know what I’ve done for you? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you speak correctly, because I am. 14 If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example: Just as I have done, you also must do. 16 I assure you, servants aren’t greater than their master, nor are those who are sent greater than the one who sent them. 17 Since you know these things, you will be happy if you do them.   (John 13:12-17, CEB)


In 2012, the General Conference of The United Methodist Church changed the name of Lay Speaking Ministries to Lay Servant Ministries.  The term servant was chosen to expand the reach of this leadership development program.  No longer should participants view this as a training for only those who feel called to “fill the pulpit” when the pastor is away.

There is no change in the process of becoming a local church or certified lay servant.

Local Church Lay Speaker is now a Local Church Lay Servant – One receives this designation once he/she take the basic lay servant class.  A lay servant will receive training to be a more effective Sunday School Class teacher, coordinator of Vacation Bible School, outreach ministry leader, etc.

Certified Lay Speaker is now a Certified Lay Servant – One receives this designation after having taken the basic class and then an advanced class.  Certified Lay Servants will leadership development training in order to serve their local church, district, and/or the conference in a multitude of ways.  For example, this program would be appropriate for those called to be an UMW or UMM district officer; those desiring to lead a mission project for a missional network; or someone who feels called to volunteer with Hospice, etc.   Certified Lay Servants who feel called to speak or preach at other churches in the district will be asked to meet with and be approved by the District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries.  This team will review a sermon preached by the certified lay servant and give constructive feedback on content and delivery.

A new servant ministry role has also been added to this program:

Certified Lay Speaker – The purpose of this new designation is for persons who feel called to provide “pulpit supply” to a church.  As such, a Certified Lay Speaker might fill in for 1-2 months at a church while the pastor is out on a formational and spiritual growth leave.  Alternatively, this person might also preach once a month on a multi-point charge.  Requirement for this new role include Lay Servant certification followed by 60 hours of classes (mostly online).  Once the required classwork is completed, the servant leader will meet with the District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries for approval.


Scheduled Training for 2017

Blue Ridge District-
ADVANCED- Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts
September 16th and 30th- Black Mountain UMC, 10 am- 4 pm

Catawba Valley District-
BASIC & ADVANCED- Sundays, September 10, 17, 24, October 1 (3:00-5:30 pm)
Bradley Memorial UMC, Gastonia

Smoky Mountain District-
BASIC-  Friday, September 8 & Saturday, September 9 (Lake Junaluska)
ADVANCED- Saturday, September 23 & Saturday, September 30 (Maggie Valley)

Uwharrie District-
Saturday, October 7 | Wingate UMC, Wingate, NC
Saturday, November 4 |Central UMC, Albemarle, NC
Spring 2018 dates- March 3 & April 7



Appalachian District-
Basic and Advanced Courses- May 13 (10:00 am- 4:00 pm) and May 20 (9:00 am – 3:00 pm)

Blue Ridge District-
Basic  and Advanced Courses – April 8 & 22, 10:00 am – 3:30 pm at Black Mountain UMC

Catawba Valley District-
Sundays February 5, 12, 19 & 26,- 3:00-5:30 pm
DOWNLOAD FLYER AND REGISTRATION (Download to your computer and enable editing to fill out form)

Smoky Mountain District-
BASIC- Friday, February 17 & Saturday, February 18 (Franklin)
ADVANCED- Saturday, May 6 & Saturday, May 13 (Franklin)



Name of Conference Chairperson Email 
Wade Loftin
Name of District Chairperson Email 


District Superintendent
Roger Eich Appalachian Carl Arrington
Mary Cash Blue Ridge Beth Crissman
April Abernethy Catawba Valley Angela Pleasants
Irma Ellwanger  Metro  Mark Andrews
Margaret Cox Metro  Mark Andrews
Bobbie Denny Metro  Mark Andrews
Bonnie Burkett Northern Piedmont Nancy Rankin
Erma Bond Smoky Mountain Randy Harry
Dale McCoy Uwharrie Laura Auten
Amy Johnson Yadkin Valley Jeff Patterson