Lay Ministries

Potomac Highlands Lay Academy


What is Lay Academy?

Content created to educate, inform, and train those who want to know more about Lay Servant Ministries.  In order to adapt to the current environment, we offer some online classes and in-person options too. This year, the Potomac Highlands District Board of Laity is pleased to offer satellite classes which are located throughout the district with the hope of making it convienient to attend classes and increasing enrollment opportunities.  We will continue to review and evaulated these courses with the hope of improving our class offerings. All courses are 10 hours of learning time and may include books or other resources.

Who Can Participate?

  • All Laity–Youth and Adult (It is not required to be on the “Certification” track to take a class.  Classes can be very helpful in understanding how our church structure works and how our history has evolved.  Taking a class “just for fun'” can be eyeopening, fun and informative!!
  • Clergy
  • Any District

Our District Director of Lay Servant Ministries is Betty Rizer.  You may contact her at (304) 788-3150 or email at

Fee: $20 per person, per class. In person class fee is payable on the first day class meets.  Online class fees can be sent to the District Office address of 97 Goldsborough Avenue, Romney, WV 26757

Registration?   You may register online or check for the registration form in the brochure. Registeration at the door for in person classes is always welcome.


We are currently accepting registration for the satellite classes the first half and second half of the year.     

To register online for the January thru December satellite classes offered in the 2024 Lay Academy Brochure, use this link. January – December Registration

Fall 2024 Lay Academy, held at First UMC, Keyser,  is in the planing stages.  Please check back later for information and registration for fall.

 LAY SERVANT MINISTRIES is a leadership development program in The United Methodist Church focused on equipping and empowering laypersons who have responded to the call of God to serve in mission and ministry.  These laypersons are called to live out their own discipleship as servants in leadership through the ministries of leading, caring, and communicating. Every layperso is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 18-20: every layperso is colled to be missional.  Being called to ministry is a serious endeavor. It takes a disciple to make a disciple. Thus we must do all we can to prepare ourselves and others to serve.

Certification Requirements

There are three categories of Lay Servant Ministries: (1) Certified Lay Servant (2) Certified Lay Speaker (3) Certified Lay Minister.  The requirements for lay persons to be certified as as lay servant, lay speaker, or lay minister are found in paragraphs 266, 267 and 268 of the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church.

Educational and Interview Requirements

In compliance with the Discipline, the following are some of the educational and interview requirements for certification and recertification. There are other recommendations and review requirements that apply in the paragraphs of The Discipline listed above. In addition, all laypersons seeking initial certification, working to maintain certification, or to apply for recertification must complete the appropriate Annual Report to Charge Conference form each year.

  1. Certified Lay Servant

  • Certification
    • Basic Course
    • One Advanced Course of the layperson’s choice.
    • Recertification
    • One Advanced Course of the Layperson’s choice every three years.

2.  Certified Lay Speaker

  • Certification
    • Certification as a Certified Lay Servant
    • Completion of the following six Advanced Courses:
      • Preaching
      • Leading Worship
      • Discovering Spiritual Gifts
      • Leading Prayer
      • United Methodist Heritage
      • United Methodist Polity
    • Interview and approval by the District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries (or equivalent).
  • Recertification
    • One Advanced Course of the layperson’s choice every three years.
    • Interview and approval by the District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries every three year.

3.  Certified Lay Minister

  • Certification
    • Certification as either a Certified Lay Servant or a Certified Lay Speaker.
    • Completion of CLM track of study.
    • Background Check through Annual Conference
    • Interview by District Committee on Ministry
  • Recertification
    • One advanced course of the layperson’s choice every two years.
    • Interview by District Committee on Ministry every two years.

Educational Course Standards

 Basic Course

The purpose of the Basic Course is to help laity explore and discover their call to serve God and their neighbors. Topic covered include an introduction to United Methodism, servant and spiritual leadership, caring ministries, basic communication skills, sharing faith, and leading meetings. It is not a course designed to equip lay people to preach.

The Basic Course needs to follow the Introduction to Lay Servant Ministries: The BASIC Course curriculum. Leader and student books are available through The Upper Room Bookstore. Completion of the class needs to involve at least 10 hours of participation.

Advanced Courses

Advanced courses offer laity the opportunity to focus in depth on a particular aspect of ministry. Completion of advanced courses involves at least 10 hours of participation, 2 hours of which can be done as homework prior to or after the class. Classes can be offered as in person, as digital such as Zoom. Teachers should be selected by the District Committees on Lay Servant Ministries, and equipped to offer the class

This course will help participants focus on the ministry of the church for leading a group or congregation in worship, helping with the principles and practices for worship planning.

Will help participants learn to pray. Teaching how to pray in public with confidence and skill. This course should enrich their own personal prayer life as well.

Class participants will learn about the spiritual gifts presented through the Bible. It also will help participants learn about their own spiritual gifts and how to help explore and teach others about their own.

This course is designed to help participants to dig deeper into the art of preaching. To understand the motivation for preaching. And to listen for God in the scripture. It also shows you how to avoid a BLOM? Outlines, Illustrations and Applications. Bring a Bible and a notebook. Note:” Three Main Points.” This class will take place on Saturday only. Please plan to be present all day. Before class all participants are asked to produce an Outline that includes the following: (1) Sermon Title (2) Scripture Used (3) Main Points. Please take time to prayerfully discern what you feel God is leading you to say and include this withing the three main points. You will be preaching this sermon before the class ends.

This course allows us to look at several key United Methodist theological and spiritual points that make us unique. Come prepared to talk about some of our history as Methodist, what has worked in the past, what now, and how we can live into the future full of God’s possibilities.

Why does the United Methodist Church do things the way it does? This overview of the structure and organization of he UMC will help newcomers get their bearings and longtime members consider the specific challenges the church faces in the Twenty-First Century. Require text includes the UMC Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions.

Lay Servant Ministries information and resources is also available at the following websites:

Additionally, courses that qualify for continuing education hours, are available to you through the Conference learning management system, PORTICO. Check it out at this link today and create an account to track your learning activities!

For a  list of the Potomac Highlands District Lay Servant and Lay Leadership Development and Ministries Team, click here.

For your convience we have attached two handouts which summarize information on Lay Ministries below:

Lay Servant and Lay Speaker Catagories and Requirements

Adopted Legislation at the 2016 General Conference