A Questionnaire about Lay Speaking

There is a discussion going on in our district/conference about lay speaking and the changes in the curriculum for lay speakers. I have some idea about the lay speakers in our district and will be getting answers as to the courses that they have taken in the past. But I want to get some idea of the nature of lay speaking on a broader scale. So I have come up with these questions:

  1. Are you now or have you ever been a local lay speaker? Are you now or have you ever been a certified lay speaker?
  2. When did you take your first course to become a local lay speaker?
  3. Describe the course or courses that you took when you became a local lay speaker?
  4. When did you take your first course to become a certified lay speaker?
  5. Describe the course or courses that you took when you became a certified lay speaker?
  6. How much of your being a lay speaker (local or certified) is more leadership than speaking? (an approximate percentage of the total time)
  7. How much of your being a lay speaking (local or certified) is leading worship rather than speaking? (an approximate percentage of the total time)
  8. If you are a certified lay speaker, how many Sundays in a given calendar year are you at other churches?
  9. Are you aware of the category of lay speaker known as “Certified Lay Minister”?
  10. Is your conference aware of the category? Is your district aware?
  11. Are there any individuals in your conference qualified as Certified Lay Minister?
  12. If so, how are they utilized in this position?

Thought provoking question – “In your opinion, should a person be a lay speaker before they consider full-time ministry?”


If you are not a lay speaker, can I be as bold as to ask why not? And would you mind sharing these questions with your friends who happen to be lay speakers? Thank you!

Answers may be posted to my blog or you may mail them to me at TonyMitchellPhD@verizon.net. I will try to have a summary of the answers up by the 1st of March.

7 thoughts on “A Questionnaire about Lay Speaking

  1. 1. Certified
    2. 2003
    3. Lay Speaking Ministries Basic Course
    4. 2006
    5. Lay Speakers Lead Bible Studies
    6. 50%
    7. 25%
    8. 5
    9. No
    10.I do not know
    11.I do not know
    12.I do not know

  2. 1. I am a certified lay speaker.
    2. I took both the local and the certified courses for the first time in 2007.
    3. My local lay speaker course was a preaching course, rather than a more general course. Ironically, there is a course being offered this evening in my district which will match the local lay speaker curriculum, so that has changed in our district.
    4. 2007
    5.Describe the course or courses that you took when you became a certified lay speaker?6. approximate percentage of the total time)
    6. My first advanced course was a combination of worship planning and spirituality. My second one (2009) was an Advanced preaching course.
    7. That’s a very difficult question. I’m a lay leader, too, plus I am an associate director of a UM chruch foundation, so I lead worship for both of those “jobs,” too. I would guess that most of my CLS time is devoted to teaching more than leading worship, although I lead worship because I am lay leader, and an associate director.
    8. Several, but that is because of the work I do. I’m not sure I’ve ever been asked to lead worship in another church solely because I am on the CLS list.
    9. Yes.
    10. Yes, and Yes.
    11. I am currently approved and am working toward this certification. I know of one other person who has done it, and he is appointed to his lcoal church. I’m not sure what work he does in that church. There may be others in our annual conference, but I’m not sure.
    12. See above.

  3. Pingback: Thoughts on Lay Speaking and Lay Leading « Thoughts From The Heart On The Left

  4. I have tried to maintain my credentials, this time without much success. One of the problems I see is that the rules keep changing and you have to try to follow through without much cooperation. I turned in the forms and the minister won’t sign. When that happened, S/P wouldn’t. I could not get help from DS. At one time this was a recognition of ministry on the part of the laity. Now it seems to have been taken over by the clergy.

    • I am sorry to hear that you are having problems. Without knowing all the details, I would suggest that you first ask the minister why he or she wouldn’t sign off on your forms. Your next contact would be the District Lay Speaking committee.

      Not entirely sure what you mean by your last sentences – I do know that there are ministers who do not utilize lay speakers but I wouldn’t say that lay speaking itself has been taken over by the clergy.

      I hope that you don’t give up – those who have the calling are still needed and the time will come when you will receive the calling.

  5. Took your suggestion today and contacted both conference and district, both leaders are looking into the situation. However, I also have talked to ministers who know mine and they say that the best thing is to move out of that church. As for my comment, just look at the form. A minister has to sign off on the form before it is even accepted. Next is the S/P and then it goes on to the district. Let one not like you and bad things happen.

    • Unfortunately, in the work I do for my own district I see too many situations that are perhaps similar to yours. If you trust those with whom you have spoken, then perhaps a new church is in order. But don’t go “shopping” for a church because you will never find the right one. Let the spirit guide you in your search for the place where you can do what you have been called to do.

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