Lay Speaker Training Courses

Lay Speaking Courses are divided into two categories:  The Basic Courses provide the initial required training to become a local church lay speaker and Advanced Courses for certified lay speakers.  However, one does not have to be a lay speaker to participate in an Advanced Course.  Rev. Tom Albin, Dean of the Upper Room Chapel and Team Leader for the Program Unit of The Upper Room Ministries, stated that lay speaking ministries training is the best adult Christian education available in the United Methodist Church.

Advanced Courses with an * were developed in the Dallas-Denton District.  The other Advanced Courses were nationally developed with materials available at Cokesbury.  You can express interest in the courses by clicking on the course name on the course description page.

To become a Local Lay Church Speaker, you must take the Basic Lay Speaking Class.  A refresher course is required every three years to remain a Local Church Lay Speaker. To become a Certified Lay Speaker and serve outside your local congregation, you must take one advanced class, and continue by taking at least one advanced class every three years.  All Local Church and Certified Lay Speakers must submit an annual report of activities to their respective charge conferences.

If you see a course you are interested in, or have an idea for a course which is not listed, please email us at info@layspeakers.org.  We have developed some unique courses for use in our own district or in some cases modified existing courses to meet specific needs.  Together we might develop your idea into a new course.

The following courses have been developed locally and can be offered on request:  


Lay Speaking Ministries:  Basic Course

The Basic Course is required for the Local Church Lay Speaking certificate.  The Basic Course for Lay Speakers is the first course one takes to become a Local Church Lay Speaker to prepare you for Lay Speaking activities in your local church.  The course introduces the stated purposes of Lay Speaking Ministries as caring, leading, and communication.  Completion of the Basic Course is also required for Lay Speaker certification.  This course will use the Lay Speaking Ministries: Basic Course text.


 Lay Speaking Ministries:  Youth Basic Course

The Youth Basic Course is formatted to equip youth to serve in the church.  This course may be used as a replacement for the Basic Course to obtain the Local Church Lay Speaker certificate.  The course introduces the stated purposes of Lay Speaking Ministries as caring, leading, and communication.  Completion of the Basic Course is also required for Lay Speaker certification.  This course will use the Lay Speaking Ministries: Youth Basic Course text.


 Lay Speaking Ministries:  Local Church Lay Speaker Refresher Course

The Local Church Lay Speaker Refresher Course is under development to provide compliance with the 2004 Discipline requirement for a refresher course every three years for all Local Church Lay Speakers.  The refresher course will be based on the “What Every Leader Needs to Know” booklet series and will be available in mid- to late 2006. 

 


Lay Speakers Are Accountable Disciples

Lay Speakers are Accountable Disciples  focuses on the concept of the household of God, the importance of Scripture as divine revelation, Wesleyan understandings of grace, and the importance of the office of class leader in the development of the Methodist movement.  Participants are encouraged to look at their own faith community and see how it is (or is not) a reflection of genuine Christian community.  (Excerpted from Lay Speaking Ministries Training Resources)


Lay Speakers Lead Bible Study

The Bible is a foundation for Lay Speaking Ministries.  One of the best things we can do is to share the Word with others.  Everyone has a Bible, but how many have a thorough understanding of its message?  This new course by Dr. Evelyn Laycock uses Barclay's classic "Introducing the Bible" as the text.

(Following excerpted from page 3 of the Advanced Course Guide by Evelyn Laycock)

This advanced course focuses on the ministry of the lay speaker who either occasionally or regularly leads congregations, organizations, classes, or groups in Bible study.

The ministry of leading others in Bible study is crucially important to the faith development of any Christian community.  

The purposes of this course are:


Lay Speakers Practice Christian Community

Lay Speakers will discover what it means to live as Christian disciples in the groups they lead and to work with others to help them grow and nurture caring connections and relationships that reflect the love of Christ.  (Excerpted from Lay Speaking Ministries Training Resources)  This course uses the text Cultivating Christian Community by Thomas R. Hawkins.


Lay Speakers Lead Christian Education *

This locally developed course is designed to assist church leaders in leading adult Sunday School and other education opportunities. This course uses the text The Ministry of Christian Education and Formation: A Practical Guide for Your Congregation.


Christian Responses to a Violent World *

This is a locally developed course. 

Sometimes we are nearly overwhelmed with news of war, violence in the schools, upheaval in our personal lives and unrest in our spirit. Come and join us as we explore the possibility of peace in the world, the promotion of peace in our schools, the development of peace in our personal relationships and discovery of the gift of peace in our lives.

This course is available for delivery wherever local interest might exist.  Please click on the course name to email your interest.

 


Ministry of Caring

The objectives of the course are to affirm God's call to all Christians to care for hurting persons; to recognize that the experience of feeling cared for helps persons experience hope and grow toward wholeness; to help participants become more sensitive to caring opportunities; to develop skills that can be used for more effective caring; and to recognize their own need for care and receive that care and support from others. (Excerpted from Lay Speaking Ministries Training Resources) 

This course is an overview of the opportunities for caring. The following several courses have been locally developed to focus on other caring opportunities.


Lay Speakers Care for Those Who Grieve *

 

This locally developed course extends the Ministry of Caring to focus on caring for those who experience grief from a number of sources of loss: death of loved ones, employment loss, family changes, and relocation.  The text A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss by Gerald L. Sittser is used.

 


Lay Speakers Care for End of Life  *

 

This locally developed course is offered in cooperation with the American Hospice Association to equip lay speakers to minister in end-of-life situations, including hospice.  The course is based on hospice volunteer training with additional content on end-of-life issues. Participants may but are not expected to become hospice volunteers after completing the course.  Anyone interested in hospice ministries or anticipating or experiencing hospice care with loved ones will gain valuable insights from this course.

 


Lay Speakers Grow Spiritually Through Daily Discipline

(Following excerpted from page 3 of the Advanced Course Guide by Anita Owens Fenstermacher)

The purposes of this course are:


Lay Speakers Create Disciple-Making Faith Communities

The goal of this course is to provide church leaders with key tools and principles that can be used to create disciple-making faith communities.  Lay speakers will learn about discipleship systems, the term faith community, and how the theory of displacement affects their congregations, as well as considering the realities of call and leadership, 21st-century structures for ministry, and new opportunities for ministry. (Excerpted from Lay Speaking Ministries Training Resources)

 

The text used is NextChurch.Now by Craig Kennet Miller.

 

 


Lay Speakers Discover Spiritual Gifts

Lay Speakers Discover Spiritual Gifts focuses on acquiring a better understanding of the church and its ministry needs; learning what it means to be a minister; doing the work of Christ in the church and in the world; and being more fully equipped to lead others in exploring and using their spiritual gifts. (Excerpted from Lay Speaking Ministries Training Resources) 

 

The text used is Each One a Minister by William J. Carter.


Lay Speakers Lead in Evangelism

(Following excerpted from page 3 of the Advanced Course Guide by Shirley F. Clement and Roger K. Swanson)

The purposes of this course are:


Lay Speakers Lead in Mission Outreach

This advanced course helps lay speakers understand the role of mission outreach in relationship to the vision and ministry of the church.

 

The text for this course is Revolutionizing Christian Stewardship for the 21st Century: Lessons from Copernicus by Dan R. Dick.  This text presents a persuasive case for a whole new way of thinking about Christian stewardship.  The central message is that Christian stewardship begins with God at the center. (Excerpted from Lay Speaking Ministries Training Resources)

 


Lay Speakers Lead Prayer

Prayer is an important means of communicating with God.  But many of us would like to be able to pray more often and more clearly.  This course is designed to teach lay speakers how to pray with and for others.  The text is Dimensions of Prayer by Douglas Van Steere.  This course focuses on the ministry of the lay speaker who either occasionally or regularly leads congregations, organizations, classes, or groups in prayer.

(Following excerpted from page 3 of the Advanced Course Guide by Jim Roy)

The purposes of this course are:


Lay Speakers Preach 

This course is designed for lay speakers, lay leaders, pastors and student pastors who have not completed formal preaching training, pastors seeking a basic refresher course, others who are called upon to preach in their pastor’s absence.  The basic text for this course is Go Preach! A Primer for Beginning Preachers by Jack Gilbert.  This course provides practical tips for those who are called on to preach occasionally but who are not formally trained as pastors. (Excerpted from Lay Speaking Ministries Training Resources)

(Following excerpted from page 3 of the Advanced Course Guide by Barbara Bate)

SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES

After you have completed this course, you will have chances to preach in your own congregation, in other congregations, in Sunday worship services, and at special worship events in your community.  Other opportunities may include:

Keep alert for these and other opportunities.  Each time you tell God's story, you will learn something new and increase your joy in witnessing.  Remember:  It is not perfect words that help God's Word to go forth and be fruitful.  It is your honesty, care, and energy as one of hundreds of thousands of individuals whose faith helps to build the faith of others and to strengthen the witness of the church.


Lay Speakers Are Servant Leaders

(Following excerpted from page 3 of the Advanced Course Guide by Thomas R. Hawkins)

The purposes of this course are:


Lay Speakers Lead Small Groups

This advanced course helps lay speakers identify the roles they play as leaders of small groups and helps them understand the power their leadership can have in transforming Christian lives.  The text for this course is The Christian Small-Group Leader by Thomas R. Hawkins.  This text blends knowledge about the dynamics of small groups with our call to form disciples.  Leaders of small groups will find both inspiration and practical help to carry out their ministry. (Excerpted from Lay Speaking Ministries Training Resources)

 


Lay Speakers Lead in Stewardship

This advanced course helps participants develop a holistic understanding of stewardship. Lay speakers examine their own gifts and learn ways to assist others in identifying theirs. 

The ministries of the church go by different names.  Evangelism is when we spread the word of God.  Education is teaching about the Bible and the way we should live.  And so on.

Stewardship has generally been associated with financial giving to the church.  That is appropriate, but not thorough.  In the broader sense, we are stewards in many areas.  The dictionary says that stewardship is when one manages another's property, finances, or other affairs.  We are caretakers of all of the various ministries of the church.  As members of The United Methodist Church, we pledge to support it with not only our gifts, but also our prayers, presence, and service.

The text for this course is Don’t Shoot the Horse(‘Til You Know How to Drive the Tractor) Moving from Annual Fund Raising to a Life of Giving by Herb Mather.


Lay Speakers Tell Stories

Lay speakers will learn what makes a good story, discover their own style as a storyteller, learn the techniques of effective storytelling, and practice creating stories from their own experience. 

The text for this course, Dancing with Words by Ray Buckley provides help for all church leaders – both clergy and lay – to explore the history and importance of storytelling in faith development and to acquire basic storytelling skills.  They will soon discover ways that storytelling enhances ministry. (Excerpted from Lay Speaking Ministries Training Resources)

 

 


Lay Speakers Interpret to Others Our United Methodist Heritage

This course helps participants gain an understanding of the distinctive traditions and emphases of The United Methodist Church, beginning with John Wesley and extending to the present day.  As United Methodists, we are people of God.  We are part of God's universal church that encircles the globe and spans the centuries.

The purposes of this course are:


Lay Speakers Lead in Worship

This course is for lay speakers who occasionally or regularly lead congregations, organizations, classes, or groups in worship.  They will better understand corporate worship, learn how to plan worship, and develop practical skills.  Two texts are available for this course: Worshiping with United Methodists by Hoyt L. Hickman and Contemporary Worship for the 21st Century: Worship OR Evangelism? by Daniel T. Benedict Jr. and Craig Kennet Miller. (Excerpted from Lay Speaking Ministries Training Resources)

PURPOSES:

The purposes of this course are:


* Indicates course was developed in the Dallas-Denton District.