Home  |  Calendar  |  Safeguarding  |  News  |  Documents  |  Find a Church

Have you thought of Licensed Lay Ministry?

Are you considering a call to ministry?

There are lots of ways you can serve God, the Church and the world. But not every calling leads to ordination, and increasingly the Church recognises and celebrates the vital role and ministry of lay people. And don’t worry if you’re not exactly like the ministers you know – the Church needs people from every background to help build the Church of tomorrow.

What do licensed lay ministers do?

Licensed lay Ministers (LLMs) are people who, after training, are licensed by the Bishop to a role that allows them to minister both in Church as well as beyond the traditional boundaries of Church. They teach the faith, enable mission and lead in church and society.

The role of LLMs varies a lot from church to church, but can include things like:

  • Sunday ministry, through leading worship and preaching, as well as helping others to grow in their own gifts and calling.
  • Being a bridge between the world and Church and helping God’s people every day to be faithful disciples in the places God has placed them.
  • Serving the local community through funerals and other aspects of pastoral ministry, visiting and ministering to the most vulnerable.
  • Developing community partnerships to serve the needs of the whole parish. For example, working with local schools to reach children and families with God’s love.
  • Being leaders in mission in the broadest sense, including racial justice and care of creation.
  • Helping the whole church confidently to proclaim the good news of Jesus in Word and deed. That means both faithful witness in the everyday and through seeker courses (e.g. Alpha, Pilgrim).
  • Supporting clergy in building, training and inspiring the teams that lead the church’s work.
  • Ensuring there is a healthy safeguarding culture in every part of the church’s life.

Trevor Lewis, an LLM in Addlestone, says, “For a Sunday I will source material and usually lead one of the three age-related Kids Church groups. I also still get the opportunity to lead and preach at the main service which is a different discipline and keeps me engaged on a different level.”

Although most LLMs are church-based, their ministry may lead them to serve in a variety of contexts, such as: 

  • Workplaces
  • Chaplaincies
  • Street angels
  • Children’s work
  • Care homes
  • Schools
  • Food banks

“A typical week for me,” mentions Trevor, “is preparing a 20-minute faith-themed assembly which I deliver on Monday mornings to our local Church of England Primary School and, depending on the week, up to three other state schools in the parish. Taking an expression of God’s love and message to between 400 and 1000 children who may otherwise have no contact with a church.”

Pathway to Licensed Lay Ministry

“It’s amazing where God leads you if you let Him. I felt God had given me a gift, developed while working as a Police Recruit Instructor, part of a much wider 35-year policing career.” Trevor shares his experience. “How this gift was to be utilised was so much larger than I could imagine, and so much more inspiring.”

If this description of Licensed Lay Ministry excites you, it may well be this is what God is calling you to. To support you in exploring your calling, there are various steps to take. 

First, read and pray! There’s lots of information online about licensed lay ministry. We’d recommend the Readers Council website and our own website.

The next step is to have a conversation with the priest in charge of your church. They can give you prayerful support and help you reflect on, and respond to, what God may be saying to you.

If it seems right to move on to the next step, you will be asked to complete an application form with your details and a short statement about why you feel it is right to offer yourself for this training.

Part of the process is an LLM Discernment Day, a morning of conversations and interviews to help discern this call. Our next one is coming up on Saturday 18 May and the deadline for applications is Friday 3 May. You can find out more details here.

You will need to complete the Diocesan Basic Awareness and Foundation Safeguarding Training before applying and have a current DBS check for your parish.

But you don’t need to wait to start gaining experience. The process will look at what areas of ministry you’re already involved in as evidence of your suitability for licensed ministry. So whether you’re just starting out or an active member of a church team, talk to your minister about how you can gain experience of ministry and leadership.


You will be invited to a selection meeting. It involves a group conversation and interview, all of which explore the six qualities which underpin discernment:

  • Fruitfulness
  • Wisdom
  • Love for God
  • Call to ministry
  • Potential
  • Love for people

After the selection meeting your application, references, and interview will be assessed, and those then recommended for training will be able to do so through our Local Ministry Programme.

Powered by Church Edit