What is a Licensed Lay Minister?
A Licensed Lay Minister (or Reader) is a lay leader who has been identified, trained, and licensed by the Bishop in order to: teach the faith; enable mission; and lead in church and society.
Licensed Lay Ministers come from a wide diversity of occupations and backgrounds and provide a vital link to the world of work, witnessing to the unchanging love of God in their communities and in their everyday lives. How an individual’s ministry develops is dependent upon his or her individual strengths, the balance of skills within the ministry team and the particular needs of the benefice. Some may have a focus on leading worship; others may be more involved in pastoral work or outreach.
Licensed Lay Ministers are enablers and encouragers of other lay Christians helping them to make use of their gifts in the service of God. Some Licensed Lay Ministers are involved in pioneer ministries and fresh expressions of church, and a new training package is available for those who feel particularly called to that kind of work.
Licensed lay ministry is nationally recognised and those admitted to the office of Licensed Lay Minister in one diocese are welcomed upon relocation to another. Nationally, the ministry of Licensed Lay Ministers is overseen by the Central Readers’ Council.
Licensed lay ministry in our diocese
In our diocese we have over 200 Licensed Lay Ministers actively ministering in their benefices each week. Licensed Lay Ministers conduct around two and a half thousand services each year and deliver almost four thousand sermons, but that is by no means the full extent of licensed lay ministry.
Licensed Lay Ministers lead home groups and confirmation classes; they are involved in baptism preparation and follow-up; they visit and take the sacraments to the sick, elderly and house-bound; they share in the church’s outreach; they lead school assemblies and work with youth groups and music groups; and a number, authorised by the bishop to do so, conduct funerals – there is almost no end to the ways in which Licensed Lay Ministers put their theological training to good, practical use.
Is licensed lay ministry for you?
Do you think you might be called to licensed lay ministry? The diocese has a team of Vocation Advisors whose members are available to anyone wishing to explore his or her vocation, whatever that might turn out to be.
If you think licensed lay ministry might be for you, take a closer look at Becoming a Licensed Lay Minister.