All Christians should consider themselves ministers of Christ and seek to know the will of God concerning their appropriate avenues of service. (500)


Any member of the Church of the Nazarene who feels called to serve as a church planter, bivocational pastor, teacher, lay evangelist, lay song evangelist, stewardship minister, church staff minister, and/or other specialized ministry on behalf of the church, but who does not at the present time feel a special call to become an ordained minister, may pursue a validated course of study leading to a certificate of lay ministry.


The local church board, upon the recommendation of the pastor, shall initially examine and approve the lay minister as to personal experience of salvation, effective involvement in church ministries, and knowledge of the work of the church.


The local church board may issue to each lay minister candidate a certificate signed by the pastor and the secretary of the church board.


The certificate of the lay minister may be renewed annually by the church board upon the recommendation of the pastor, if the lay minister has completed at least two subjects in the lay ministry educational program as outlined by the Continuing Lay Training. The lay minister shall report annually to the church board.


For a lay minister serving under district assignment as church planter, supply pastor, bivocational pastor, and/or other specialized ministry, upon completion of a validated course of study, a certificate of lay ministry may be issued by the District Advisory Board, signed by the district superintendent and the secretary of the District Advisory Board. The certificate of lay ministry may be renewed annually by the District Advisory Board upon the recommendation of the district superintendent.


The lay minister serving outside the local church where he or she is a member shall be subject to the appointment and supervision of the district superintendent and the District Advisory Board, and shall report annually to them. When district assignment shall cease, reference shall be made back to the local church in which the lay minister holds membership for renewal and reporting.


After completion of a lay ministry validated course of study, a lay minister shall proceed in a specialized concentration of study according to his or her chosen ministry through the Continuing Lay Training office.


A lay minister shall not be eligible to administer the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and shall not officiate at marriages.


The Church of the Nazarene recognizes only one order of the preaching ministry, that of elder. It also recognizes that the member of the clergy may serve the church in various capacities. (Ephesians 4:11–12) The church recognizes the following categories of service in which a district assembly may place an elder, deacon, or, as circumstances warrant, a licensed minister: pastor, evangelist, missionary, teacher, administrator, chaplain, and special service. Ministerial training and ordination are normally required, or greatly desired, to fulfill these categories as an “assigned minister.” The Sourcebook on Ordination shall provide guidelines for each category of ministry that will aid district boards in identifying the qualifications necessary for consideration to be an assigned minister. Only assigned ministers shall be voting members of the district assembly.