Lay Speaking Ministries

Leading, Caring, Communicating: these words characterize what lay speakers do in ministry as The United Methodist Church engages the world of the twenty-first century!

Leading: Lay speakers combine words and actions in leadership roles within their churches and communities.

Caring: As lay speakers combine words with deeds, they find ways to care for others. Some are involved in crisis ministries, such as visiting grieving families. Lay speakers share a ministry of caring one-on-one with people in times of need and in times of joy, and show their faith by responding to others with care--giving love and service.

Communicating: Both the Bible and Christian experience point to the importance of proclaiming God's transforming love for a broken world.  Lay speakers often fill pulpits, lead Bible studies, or speak in youth and children's groups, healthcare centers, retirement centers, prison ministries, and more.

Lay Speaking Ministries is a program to provide training opportunities and experiences to equip disciples of Jesus Christ to realize and respond to their personal call to ministry. Since each disciple is 'gifted' with one or more spiritual gifts (skills given by the Holy Spirit for the express purpose of serving the body of believers and thereby God), Lay Speaking Ministries strives to help disciples become aware of their particular gift or gifts by offering educational events to enhance and develop the skill level necessary for the full fruition of these gifts. It is an excellent vehicle for servant ministry skill development and has aided thousands of church members to be better servants of Jesus Christ, to become stronger church family leaders, and to more capably assist their pastors.

What is a Lay Speaker?

A United Methodist Lay Speaker is a member of a local church or charge who is ready and desirous to serve the Church and who is well informed on and committed to the Scriptures and the doctrine, heritage, organization, and life of The United Methodist Church and who has received specific training to develop skills in witnessing to the Christian faith through spoken communications, church and community leadership, and care-giving ministries.  This person must be active in the support of the local church or charge.

A Lay Speaker is:

  • An active supportive member of the United Methodist Church;
  • Eager to serve through the church;
  • Well-informed on the Scripture and the doctrine, heritage, organization and the life of The United Methodist Church;
  • Committed to witnessing through church and community leadership, care-giving ministries, and spoken communication;
  • and Willing to improve his or her skills for service.

Lay Speaking Ministries offers training opportunities for laity who would like to use their witness, leadership, and service to inspire others to a deeper commitment to Christ and more effective discipleship.  This may include the interpretation of the Scriptures, doctrine, organization, and ministries of the church.

What is expected of a Lay Speaker?

Local Church Lay Speakers

  • Support and minister to the local church
  • Look for leadership opportunities in the local church
  • Must file a report with their Charge Conference every year
  • Take a refresher course every three years

Certified Lay Speakers

  • Support and minister to the local church and beyond
  • Can be utilized by other congregations
  • Look for leadership opportunities in the local church and beyond
  • Must file a report with their Charge Conference every year
  • Must take at least one Advanced Course every three years to maintain certification.

Conference Director of Lay Speaking Ministries

Barbara Smith

PO Box 15

Morris NY 13808


[email protected]

District Directors


Dottie Brownlow  
270 Dilly Road  
Port Crane, NY 13833  
[email protected]


George Gallandorm 
PO Box 556 
Sherburne NY 13460 
607-674-4119 (O) 
607-674-2552 (H) 
[email protected]


Diana L. Sawyer
20 Lakeview Drive
Clarks Summit PA 18411
[email protected]


Barbara Saxe 
24 Jay St  Wilkes-Barre PA 18705-3606
[email protected]