Certified Lay Ministers Enhance Ministry at Local Churches

Certified Lay Ministers (CLM’s) are used to enhance local ministry at the Rio Texas Conference. Since 2004, these trained lay members may be serving as “supply” pastors in their local churches while their pastor is taking on multiple responsibilities at numerous churches. 

“These ministers help as bi-vocational ministry associates,” said Outreach Vitality Director Abel Vega, who has sat on the Las Misiones District Committee. “They’re serving in the role of associate pastors. The church community is changing over time. You may have clergy shepherding several churches. These CLM’s are becoming the day-to-day person carrying out the ministry of the church.” 

Tom Kinkead is a Certified Lay Minister at Alamo United Methodist Church in San Antonio. They have a part-time pastor, Rev. George Chambers. Kinkead fills the role as the “daily face” at the church.

“As an assistant to the pastor, I assist in the planning of worship services,” said Kinkead. “I conduct our sunrise service. I also serve as the administrative officer of the church. I have the spiritual gifts of preaching and administration.” 

Kinkead also oversees the day-to-day operation of their local radio station. The radio station is a low-powered FM station with less than 100 watts. They play bluegrass, gospel, contemporary Christian, and old-school Rock ‘n Roll. Their audience is people aged 50-70 who do not attend church. At the top of the hour, they provide brief moments of faith and inspiration. 

“We are not trying to look for new members for Alamo UMC,” said Kinkead. “We are trying to bring people to Christ.” 

In many cases, the CLM conducts the role of the associate pastor. CLM’s are allowed to provide pastoral care, plan worship services, assist with funerals and preach. The CLM is not allowed to consecrate the sacraments, such as communion. Robert Buck, a CLM at Universal City UMC, was lucky enough to perform the sacrament of marriage. 

“I was requested to do a wedding during the Sunday of Annual Conference 2015,” said Buck. “We were at the time of transition, our new pastor wasn’t here yet and our old pastor already left. I sent a letter to the Bishop. He said that I can do it on a case-by-case basis, but I have to request permission every time.” 

Each CLM received a calling into ministry, much like an ordained minister. After speaking with their local pastor, praying and discernment, the lay person receives approval from the District Superintendent and the district Board of Ordained Ministry. They enroll in a five-module course. Then they are certified by the Board to be a CLM. Click Here to learn more. 

Those who may be interested in becoming a CLM should spend much time in prayer, according to Universal City CLM Lenny Dagg. 

“I’ve talked to people about becoming a CLM,” said Dagg. “Look at the Book of Discipline and see what the requirements are. Talk to your pastor. Pray. The most important thing to do is pray and make sure it is your call from God. This is not just another position to fill.