Lay preacher

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A lay preacher at a nineteenth-century Haugean conventicle.

A lay preacher is a preacher who is not ordained and who may not hold a formal university degree in theology. Lay preaching varies in importance between religions and their sects.


Some denominations specifically discourage or disallow lay ministers or lay preachers from assuming certain titles. For example, the Unitarian Universalist Association reserves the title of "the reverend" for ordained ministers.[1]

The United Methodist Church authorized the role of "certified lay minister" (CLM) at its 2004 General Conference as a non-clergy leadership role, stating that CLMs should not use the title of "pastor"; be addressed as "reverend"; or wear clerical garb (i.e., the robe, stole or collar).[2]

Lay ecclesial ministry is a similar practice in the Catholic Church. Lay ecclesial ministers serve the church in many ways, assisting priests, but are not ordained.

Examples of lay preachership[edit]

Specific groups of lay preachers, and other groups that encourage lay preachership, include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Best Practices for Guest for Preachers in Unitarian Universalist Pulpits (PDF). Unitarian Universalist Association. Summer 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2020. Be aware that the title "Reverend" applies to ministers who have been ordained. Some ministers are in candidate status, or otherwise have not earned the "Rev." title.
  2. ^ CLM FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions About Certified Lay Ministry, United Methodist Church (May 25, 2014).