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How Do I Become a Lay Pastor?

You may feel called by God to serve your community, preach the Gospel and lead worship services but are not able to complete the extensive training and certification required to become a pastor. In that event, becoming a lay pastor may fulfill your calling. A lay pastor is a person who assists in leading worship services, and sometimes delivers sermons when a church's pastor is unavailable. The process of becoming a lay pastor differs according to denomination; however, it typically involves training and an oral commitment to furthering the objectives of the church.

Complete the membership requirements to become a member of your church. Most churches require membership as a condition of becoming a lay pastor. There is no other requirement that is universal across all churches and denominations.

Meet with your pastor to discuss becoming a lay pastor. Your pastor will outline the education and other requirements imposes by the church, or by the governing body that oversees the activities of your church.

Complete the education requirements of your church or denomination. Education requirements vary widely by denomination -- some denominations require only a weekend of training, while others may require one to six months of study.

Obtain a certificate as a lay pastor after you complete your education requirements. Some denominations require you to pass a written test. Others may consider completion of education requirements sufficient for certification.

Ask your pastor for tasks you can complete to begin serving your church. As you gain experience as a lay pastor, your pastor may allow you to lead prayer, provide mini-lessons for children or visit shut-ins who cannot physically attend church. After you demonstrate your commitment to your church, your pastor may allow you to give sermons in his absence.


Do not commit to becoming a lay pastor without extensive thought. The decision to become a lay pastor involves a significant time commitment that may interfere with work, school or social activities.