Certified Lay Minister Courses

Register for classes online by clicking on the links in the course descriptions below. Questions? Contact Jeff Clinger at jclinger@greatplainsumc.org or 785-272-9111. Your course registration confirmation email will list required and recommended texts for your class. You will be responsible for obtaining the books you need. 

The coursework for the 4 Modules can be found through the BeADisciple website. The three additional classes (Old Testament, New Testament, and Preaching), as well as others, may be found on the course schedule page. The Academy for Small Membership Church Ministries courses can be found at www.tasmcm.org.lay-training.

Online access for courses will be sent by email at least one day prior to the start of the course.

Each course costs $50. Payment can be made online during registration, or by check.

To ensure the best possible course experience, please review the Online Learning System Requirements page.

Not sure what a certified lay minister is? Read this brochure.


2023 Online Courses

Courses are $50 each.

New Testament

Designed for United Methodist Certified Lay Ministers (CLM). This course is designed to help CLM students learn how to engage in a critical reading of the biblical text. The course by its nature will focus on readings from the New Testament. It is impossible to cover in detail every aspect of the New Testament. Hopefully, this course will be one step on a lifetime of learning.

This course also assumes a basic working knowledge of the New Testament (what are the four gospels, what are the epistles, who Jesus is and why he is important, who Paul is and why he is important, etc.). This course will also teach the students to ask the deeper questions not only of their own biblical understanding, but to also to lend a richer and more informed voice to their biblical teaching and preaching.

  • Course dates: July 3-30, 2023
  • Required books: “The New Testament in its World: An Introduction to the history, literature, and Theology of the First Christians,” by N. T. Wright and Michael F. Bird as well as preferred commentaries.
  • Facilitator: Richard Fitzgerald
  • Register online

Life Together in the United Methodist Connection (United Methodist Polity)

This course gives participants an overview of the structure and organization of The United Methodist Church. It includes reading assignments, as well as written discussion assignments, for each of the 10 weekdays, allowing weekends for catch-up and Sabbath rest. This course is open to all laity. It is an approved required course for Certified Lay Speakers. It is also approved as an advanced renewal course for Certified Lay Servants and Certified Lay Ministers.

  • Course dates: August 7-25 (Last day to accept late assignments  – Aug 27 11:59 PM CT)
  • Required materials:
    • “The Method of Our Mission,” by Laceye Warner 2014 ISBN 978-1-4267-6717-3
    • Recent copy of the Book of Discipline. A digital copy is available here.
    • Participants will also receive other suggested supporting texts and documents from the instructor.
  • Facilitator: Paul Saas
  • Register online

Old Testament

This course helps United Methodist Certified Lay Ministers (CLM) students learn how to research an Old Testament Bible Passage (exegesis) using research tools (hermeneutics) that helps them write a sermon that is grounded in the Bible passage they are using to preach a sermon.

  • Course dates: September 5-30, 2023
  • Required texts:
    • Gaventa, Beverly and David Peterson, eds. New Interpreter's Bible: One Volume Commentary. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2010. ISBN: 978-0687334117
    • New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (NRSV is by far the most scholarly modern translation and is closest to the original Hebrew, and therefore essential to use during study. Other translations may be well-suited for worship and personal meditation).
  • Facilitator: Jeff Slater
  • Register online


Designed for United Methodist Certified Lay Ministers (CLM). This course is designed to help CLM students learn how to prepare a sermon that delivers the good news. This course also assumes a basic biblical knowledge and ability to exegete the biblical text. It would be helpful to have had at least the Old Testament or the New Testament class. At the culmination of the class the student will deliver a sermon to the class, the instructor, and some well-established preachers. The student will then receive helpful feedback for their preaching. The class is limited to a maximum of 10 students to allow plenty of time for student presentations. The goal of this class is to have preachers who can proclaim the Good News to a congregation.

  • Course dates: October 2-November 5, 2023 (Note: face-to-face class meeting all day November 4.)
  • Preaching course textbooks: "Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible
        Communication," by Stanley and Jones; a New Revised Standard Version study Bible; access to good commentaries
  • Facilitator: Richard Fitzgerald
  • Register online