Certified Lay Minister Courses

Register for classes online by clicking on the links in the course descriptions below. Questions? Contact Shane Warta at swarta@greatplainsumc.org or 785-414-4238. 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 Lay Academy for Rural Church Ministries courses can be found at larcm.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 $75. 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.


Here up the upcoming 2020 online courses:


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: March 2020
  • “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 here


Evangelism: Designed for United Methodist Certified Lay Ministers, this course serves as an introductory overview of the major themes of evangelism and church growth for small membership congregations.

  • Course dates: April 2020
  • Evangelism textbooks
  • Facilitator: Jeff Slater
  • Register here


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: May 2020
  • Old Testament course textbooks
  • Facilitator: Jeff Slater
  • Register here


Missions and Social Concerns: This course offers an understanding of United Methodist mission theology as well as some mission education program ideas and methods to pastors, lay and ordained, through a partnership with annual conference board/committee/teams on Global Ministries, with an organized opportunity for reflection on mission and mission theology from the United Methodist perspective.

  • Course dates: June 2020 Intensive weekend session followed by online work
  • Missions and Social Concerns course textbooks
  • Facilitator: Kalaba Chali
  • Register here


Worship: The Worship course is intended to help Certified Lay Ministry (CLM) students accomplish the following:

  • Understand that designing and leading corporate worship is to be guided by the Holy Spirit.
  • Gain knowledge of the elements and order of worship outlined in The United Methodist Book of Worship.
  • Understand the importance of spiritual disciplines used in designing Spirit-led worship through Scripture, prayer, contemplation, other texts, singing.
  • Develop practical applications for designing and leading thematic worship.
    • Course dates: July 2020
    • Online meetings: Class meets online each Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. Central time. A high-speed internet connection and a webcam are highly recommended.
    • Worship course textbooks
    • Facilitator: Abby Caseman
    • Register here


United Methodist History: United Methodist History for Certified Lay Ministers will introduce participants to major themes in United Methodist history.

  • The objectives of this course are to:
    • understand and appreciate United Methodist history and heritage.
    • describe and discuss the ways in which United Methodist history influenced – and continues to influence – the life and work of the denomination.
      • Course Dates: August 2020
      • United Methodist History course textbooks
      • Facilitator: Marian Adell
      • Register here


United Methodist Theology and Doctrine: Participants will know and become conversant with the basic principles of United Methodist doctrine and theology. The objectives of this course are to:

  • Help students assess their own faith journey in the context of United Methodist doctrine and theology.
  • Provide a basic understanding of the elements of United Methodist doctrine and theology.
  • Provide the opportunity for students to be in online conversation with the instructor and other students about their understandings of United Methodist doctrine and theology.
  • Assess and evaluate their growth in understanding United Methodist doctrine and theology.
    • Course dates: September 2020
    • UM Theology and Doctrine Books and Resources
    • Facilitator: Marian Adell
    • Register here


Preaching: 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 2020 (5 weeks) with a one-day face-to-face meeting; location TBA
  • Preaching course textbooks
  • Facilitator: Richard Fitzgerald
  • Register here


Leadership in a Changing Culture – Fresh Expressions: The course will cover roles for laity which can be pioneer, supporter or permission-giver within a team launching a Fresh Expression. A participant will develop and explore gifts and graces that can meet the unchurched in their territory and begin the discipleship journey. Learn how to foster the conference initiative of Fresh Expressions in our communities while also obtaining further coursework.

  • Course Dates: November 2020
  • Fresh Expressions textbooks
  • Facilitator: Shane Warta
  • Register here


***No course offerings in December