Developing lay ministries

Readers Procession

We want to encourage the church to release the gifts of ministry among all its members, especially those who serve and lead in different contexts.

Lay and ordained ministers have an equally valued role in the Body of Christ, serving together to build up the church and participate in mission.

We want to see lay ministries thriving in a church that has confidence in lay ministries and celebrates the abundance of those in lay ministries. You can read more about the Church of England's vision for lay ministries here.

Ministry is a response to the needs of the Church and the world and is part of every Christian’s calling to love and to serve. Lay ministries are diverse, with a wide variety of contexts and roles, ranging from short-term tasks to life-long vocations.

The Church at all levels has a role to play in encouraging and training people in the skills needed for service.

Types of lay ministry

There are a range of lay ministry roles available in different dioceses, with most selection, training and authorisation taking place in dioceses or parishes. When that service takes on the character of public ministry then particular forms of training and authorisation may be required.

Lay ministry falls broadly into three categories: Recognised, Authorised and Licensed. These categories naturally overlap, and not every form of ministry will fit into just one. These descriptions are intended as a guide to help dioceses release the gifts of all God’s people in the way they plan their lay ministry work. They are intentionally broad and may not always reflect they way you choose to do things.

Recognised ministries
Authorised ministries
Licensed ministries