Lay Ministry

Lay ministry is at the core of every church. There is plenty of work to do. Every job is important and every job is a personal ministry. From teaching Sunday School, singing in the choir, helping in the nursery and preparing food for church receptions, to serving as liturgists, on committees, (doing) evangelism, leading Bible studies, ushering, caring for church property, handling the church’s money and the hundred other jobs that we do, the laity serve God in big and small ways. Lay Servant ministries (or Christ Servant Ministries in the Eastern PA Conference) revolve around three broad categories that combine words with deeds to serve the church and the community: Caring, Leading and Communicating. We must have laity who show compassion to all, who are trained to lead and eager to learn, and who can express their faith in Christ in meaningful ways through words and deeds.

Partially adapted from a description by Bill Knobles, Certified Lay Minister, Florida Conference, UMC (

Lay Ministry Contacts

Dave Koch, Conference Lay Leader

David Koch
Conference Lay Leader

Suzette James
Associate Conference Lay Leader

District Lay Leaders
  • Patricia Wilson (North)
  • Deb Forney (North)
  • Susan Grimm Mattox (West)
  • William P. Thompson (South)
  • Jennifer Lafferty (South)
  • Mrs. Karen Fisher (East)

Certified Lay Minister Program, Class of 2021, Certification 2022 – Click to Download Schedule of Orientation Sessions

UM Lay Leaders urge laity to engage in social action

The UMC’s Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders (AACLL) executive team has sent a letter to laity across of the U.S. church calling for their commitment to “love one another” and to work together to foster meaningful social change at a time when the nation and its churches are facing social dislocation and other existential challenges.

Eastern PA Conference Lay Leader David Koch, association treasurer and a member of the executive team, forwarded the letter, which he helped compose, to conference leaders and urged them to respond and share it with others.
“We gathered in February optimistically anticipating a future guided by vision and filled with action,” says the letter. “We returned home to face a modern pandemic that has cancelled local, conference and denomination-wide activities.”  
Association leaders cite the separation of congregations from their church buildings and church functions and from one another, thus posing a challenge to “how we meaningfully carry on our ministry and mission.” They also point to the recent spate of violence against unarmed Black citizens, especially by police, as evidence of “the sin of deeply rooted racism.” 
“Pain, anger, denial and new realizations have further ripped the already frayed fabric of communities across the world,” the letter laments. “We have been called through our baptism to steadfast leadership in this time.”
“As laity we are 99.2% of the church, and our voices matter,” the letter continues, calling on laity to “take action and cause change….We cannot sit as observers…. We will not go back to normal. We cannot be silent. We are vital to the unfolding of God’s hope for us, to be people who hold one another and the communities around us, in love. 
The association leaders call on their constituents to pray, to advocate for justice and mercy, to learn and also to “lead courageous conversations about this dual pandemic” of the virus and the violence. 
“The season for change and transformation is NOW!” it closes. “In all our own places, let us follow God’s call.” Read the entire letter

Christ Servant Ministries

Christ Servant Ministries programs are available to United Methodists in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and provide opportunities that promote serving, training, and recognition of laity who lead, speak, and care about others.

Certified Lay Ministry

Certified Lay Ministers (CLMs) serve in local churches providing assistance to pastors. Sometimes, they are assigned by a district superintendent to provide pastoral leadership in small congregations. The idea of laity serving as lay preachers, exhorters, and class leaders goes back to the early day of Methodism. CLMs preach the Word, provide care for the congregation, assist in program leadership, and serve as witnesses in the community to further the growth and mission. They are usually a part of a ministry team with the supervision and support of a clergy person.

For further information, contact: Judy Ehninger, Coordinator CLM Program, Eastern Pennsylvania Conference  or 610-965-2209

Learn more about Christ Servant Minstry and Certified Lay Ministry in our Conference at the Eastern PA Christ Servant Ministries Website.

Lay Ministry News & Information