The laity are integral to the work of the Church. There are a large number of ways to get involved in lay ministry. Find details below of some of the pathways available within the Diocese of Leeds.
Should you be interested in pursuing one of the pathways, find further details about the steps you would be required to take here on the Digital Learning Platform.
Licensed Lay Ministry (Reader Ministry)
Licensed Lay Ministers (formerly known as Readers) hold a national licence which is transferable between Dioceses. This lay leadership role is focussed on a threefold ministry: Teachers of the Faith; Enablers of Mission; Leaders in Church and Society. Licensed Lay Ministers work collaboratively with their clergy in leading their parish church, often taking responsibility for lay discipleship courses, catechism or outreach, for example, under the supervision and authority of their incumbent and PCC.
Parish Disability Representative
Whether you are disabled, have an impairment, or health condition, or if you are able bodied but want to make sure that your church includes everyone, regardless of ability, have you thought about becoming a disability rep?
There are many things that you and your church could do to make your buildings and services more inclusive and to enable people of all abilities to serve and minister.
Eco Discipleship, Enabling and Mission
There are three levels of training for those seeking to engage in environmental mission and ministry, as part of the diocese's Saving Creation strategy. The training will usually be available across all five episcopal areas with the majority of the delivery being online.
Preaching is an influential part of the Church’s ministry, a privilege that should not be undertaken lightly. For this reason, the Canons of the Church require a lay person to have the permission of the bishop to preach, as well as the permission of their incumbent. Occassional Preacher are authorised to preach less frequently than Licensed Lay Ministers (Readers), within diocesan directions approved by the bishop.
Lay Pastoral Worker
The Diocese of Leeds provides a programme of Pastoral Ministry training across three levels. This envisages three categories of Lay Pastoral Worker are: Pastoral Visitors, Pastoral Assistants and Pastoral Ministers.
Depending on previous training and experience, students may choose to enter training at different levels. Those with little training or experience would begin at the Pastoral Visitor level. Have a chat with your incumbent to help you figure out which is best for you.
The term ‘youth work’ tends to refer to work with anyone between the ages of 11 and 17, although in some contexts this might go down to 8 and up to 25. Young people are often challenging the world around them, trying to understand why things are the way they are and how they relate to them. A youth worker can accompany young people on this journey, acting as a mirror to help the young person reflect on their actions and serving as a constant presence during a period of change.
The term ‘children’s work’ tends to refer to work with anyone up to the age of 11, although in some contexts this might go up to 13. Children are exploring the world around them, daily learning more about things they have encountered and encountering new things. A children’s worker can support this learning and development, acting as a source of information as well as helping the child think about the experiences they have and objects they encounter, and play is often used as a way of exploring this.
Being a spiritual director is a ministry with a focus on listening in order to help people attend to and respond to God. It is not directive nor for everyone. Discernment of a calling to this ministry is part of the process.
Lay Worship Leader
The Lay Worship Leader’s course develops the skills and gifts of the participants as well as providing the resources and experience needed to equip them to lead worship in their own churches.
Lay Worship Leaders serve under the authority and supervision of their incumbent, with the agreement and permission of the PCC. After completing all training, LWLs discuss the nature and scope of their role with their incumbent, guidelines stipulate that a simple working agreement is then drawn up.
So what does ordained ministry look like? Well it can be as the parish priest (vicar, rector or other such title) who enables a team of clergy and lay together to lead their parish in worship, witness and wider ministry in their community. It could be as a minister in secular employment - an ordained person who works in a non-church setting as a visible Christian minister in their workplace. It could be as an assistant minister. However it is expressed, there are three orders of ordained ministry in the Church of England: deacons, priests and bishops.