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Local Church Leadership Guidelines

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Please contact Laura Witkowski

UMC Categories of Lay Leadership

Local Lay Leader: The Book of Discipline, para. 251, states that each local church/charge will elect a lay leader who is the primary lay representative of the laity. Principal responsibilities include fostering an awareness of the role of the laity, meeting regularly with the pastor, assessing the opportunities for ministries within the church and serving on the church council and various committees (finance, lay leadership, staff-parish).

District Lay Leader: The Book of Discipline, para. 660, requires that each district elect a District Lay Leader who fosters an awareness of the role of the laity both within congregations and through ministries in the home, workplace, community and world. The district lay leader meets regularly with the district superintendent to discuss the state of the district, the Church and the needs for ministry. The district lay leader is a member of the conference board of laity.

Conference Lay Leader: The Book of Discipline, para. 607, requires that each conference elect a conference lay leader to represent the laity of the conference and foster an awareness of the role of the laity in the home, workplace, community and world. He/she will meet regularly with the bishop to discuss the state of the annual conference, the Church and the needs for ministry both locally and globally. The conference lay leader chairs the conference board of Laity.

Lay Member of Annual Conference: Each congregation elects at least one lay member of annual conference. Equal numbers of clergy and laity are members of annual conference, so each congregation elects a number of lay members equal to the number of clergy for that congregation. Additional at-large equalization lay members are selected by the board of laity to reach the required number of laity, since retired clergy also attend annual conference. An effective lay member attends annual conference sessions and reports the actions taken to the congregation.

UMC Leadership Booklets

Your role in the local church

Do you have a role in your local church leadership? The UMC's Discipleship Ministries offers descriptions of nearly all the jobs and volunteer roles in The United Methodist Church.

See the descriptions of all church leadership positions.

Purchase church leadership guides produced by Discipleship Ministries.

Types of local church leadership roles

  • Nominations and Leader Development Committee
  • Pastor/Staff-Parish Relations Committee
  • Trustees
  • Finance Committee Chairperson
  • Lay Leader
  • Lay Member of Annual Conference
  • Financial Secretary
  • Church Treasurer
  • Membership Secretary
  • Leadership Team Chairperson
  • Age-Level & Family Ministries Coordinator
  • Children's Ministries Coordinator
  • Youth Ministries Coordinator
  • Young Adult Ministries Coordinator
  • Adult Ministries Coordinator
  • Older Adult Ministries Coordinator
  • Family Ministries Coordinator
  • Small Group Coordinator
  • Nurture, Outreach & Witness Coordinator(s)
  • Class Leader (Covenant Discipleship groups)
  • Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns Ministry Team Leader
  • Church Historian
  • Church Communications Leader or Media Relations
  • Church and Society Ministry Team Leader
  • Church (Sunday) School Coordinator
  • Community Volunteers Coordinator
  • Earth Advocacy Team Leader
  • Educational Ministry Team Leader
  • Evangelism Ministry Team Leader
  • Health and Welfare Ministries Team Leader
  • Missions Ministry Team Leader
  • Prayer Advocate
  • Religion and Race Ministry Team Leader
  • Scouting Ministry Coordinator
  • Status and Role of Women Coordinator
  • Stewardship Team Leader
  • Worship Ministry Team Leader