CLM training is invaluable preparation for ministry


By Kara Witherow, Editor

Joy Ware wears a lot of hats.

A member of Pinkney Chapel United Methodist Church in Folkston, she preaches regularly, is active in her Sunday school class, and can often be found helping in the church’s kitchen.

Wanting to further her leadership skills and learn how to better plan, prepare, and deliver a sermon, Ware enrolled in the Conference’s most recent Certified Lay Minister training session.

An intense, five-day immersion course, the CLM training offers a holistic overview of ministry in several key areas.

David Farrior, who was recently appointed as lay pastor of Nahunta United Methodist Church, said that what he learned at the CLM training will be a tremendous asset to his ministry.

“I have spoken more than 50 times at local churches, but none of that really prepared me to pastor a church,” he said. “I thought I was prepared, but I wasn’t. CLM has definitely given me confidence. I wish I had taken the class before I had taken a church. It’s invaluable!”

During the week-long intensive class, the 15-person group studied topics including worship and worship planning, preaching and teaching, congregational care, discipleship, communication, organizational and personal leadership, and the United Methodist connection.

The highest level of lay certification one can obtain in The United Methodist Church, Certified Lay Ministry training is typically taken after completing the basic and advanced lay servant courses.

A broad array of people – from those just graduating college and starting their careers to life-long servants who want to deepen their understanding of ministry – are taking the training, said Anne Bosarge, assistant director of Congregational Development.

“We have really seen people with lots of different experiences come through the training,” she said. “What they get out of it is a wide variety of things.”

Neco Trimmings is always looking for opportunities to grow and learn, and he didn’t let a pandemic dampen that desire.

A recent College of Coastal Georgia graduate, Trimmings is now the director of Armstrong Wesley and is responsible for all of Wesley’s ministry to the Savannah Armstrong campus. He also assists in leading and discipling students on the Statesboro campus.

During the most recent CLM training, held in July at The Chapel in Brunswick, Trimmings said he made great friends, had deep conversations, and learned a lot.

“I can use the tools I learned from the class about church growth and strategy to figure out where we are and how to best minister to and serve the students,” he said. “It felt like God was speaking so clearly. It was such a grace-filled way of hearing the Lord’s voice and actually responding to what he was saying to me.”

All believers are leaders, Bosarge said, and have been given an opportunity to influence others. The CLM training helps people develop and hone their skills to be the best leaders they can be.

“I don’t want to be an okay leader, I want to be the best leader I can because it’s for God’s glory,” she said. “As believers, when we’re leading, we’re leading for God’s glory, and anything we can do in order to shine the spotlight on Him even more fully is what we need to do. So any kind of leadership development people can take advantage of helps them lead for the glory of God in a stronger, more influential way.”