All laity are invited to participate in Lay Servant Ministries courses, not just persons seeking to become a Certified Lay Servant.

Advanced courses equip the laity for service in many facets of lay ministry and congregational leadership. Completion of one Advanced Course after the Basic Course is required to become a Certified Lay Servant. Specified Advanced Courses are required to achieve the designation of Lay Speaker.

# Core Advanced Courses are recommended as your first advanced LSM courses after the Basic Course is completed.
 * Meets a requirement for Lay Speaker designation
♦  Meets a requirement for course instructor accreditation

The North Texas Lay Servant Ministries Committee and District Directors arrange to make advanced courses available based partially on need. Please submit this for to notify the LSM Directors of which Advanced Course(s) you are interested in.

Yes, I am Interested


Upcoming Classes

What When Details

Texts can be ordered through or (use ISBN order #) or Upper Room Bookstore (use DR item #)


Accountable Discipleship #

About: This course focuses on the concept of the household of God, the importance of scripture as divine revelation, Wesleyan understandings of grace, and the importance of the office of class leader in the development of the Methodist movement.
Participant's text: Becoming Accountable Disciples, revised
by Steven W. Manskar
Leader's text: Accountable Discipleship
by Steven W. Manskar
DR339 • 978-0-88177-339-2 


Afire with God

About: This course helps participants develop a holistic understanding of stewardship.
Participant's text: Afire with God 
by Betsy Schwarzentraub
DR520 • 978-0-88177-520-4 
Leader's text: Lead in Stewardship
(Available only as a PDF download at Upper Room Bookstore.)


Aging and Ministry in the 21st Century

About: This course provides thought-provoking questions about aging and promotes an understanding of the processes that we all will experience if we live long enough. Recommended for all who live within an aging community or congregation.

Participant's text: Aging and Ministry in the 21st Century
by Richard H. Gentzler, Jr.
DR540 • 978-0-887177-540-2 

Leader's text: In Ministry with Boomers and Beyond
by Richard H. Gentzler, Jr.
(Available only as a PDF download at Upper Room Bookstore.)


Biblical Storytelling

I: This is a two-week online course which introduces the ancient-future art and spiritual discipline of telling the sacred stories of Scripture. Participants will learn to prepare, learn, and tell a Biblical text by heart (not “memory”) using the methods of the Network of Biblical Storytellers International, as well as understand how this completely non-technological art fits into a digital-communications world. There is a daily assignment (except Sundays), usually involving a short document to read and online discussion. There is also online exploration and creative work.

II: This three-week online workshop explores a number of storytelling genres as well as telling the Biblical text, including midrash, chancel drama, first-person storytelling, puppetry, and more. The workshop also offers specific ideas for learning tough passages, using and not abusing voice and body, and enhancing tellings with props, digital media and more, with children and adults. It also suggests ways to deepen your practice of this art as a personal spiritual discipline. Anyone who is already practicing the art of storytelling, Biblical or secular, is welcome; Biblical Storytelling I is an excellent starting place for those new to the art but is not required. In this three-week workshop you will dive deeper into developing your unique storytelling “voice,” expand your technique and polish your art.

Text: Provided by online instructor


Called to Preach 

About: Called to Preach and You Can Preach! are courses designed for those who have not completed formal preaching training, for pastors seeking a basic refresher course, and for others who are called upon to preach in a pastor’s absence.
Participant's text: From Pew to Pulpit
by Clifton F. Guthrie
ISBN 978-0-88177-375-0 (Cokesbury) 
Leader's text: Called to Preach! 
by Dawn Chesser


Campus Ministry 

About: Empowering congregations to support students at colleges and universities This course helps lay servants understand and communicate the key role played by local churches in nourishing the spiritual lives of college students through campus ministries.

Participant's text: Campus Ministry: Empowering Congregations to Support Students at Colleges and Universities
by Colleen Hallagan Preuninger

DR935 • 978-0-88177-935-6 


Leader's text: Campus Ministry: Empowering Congregations to Support Students at Colleges and Universities

 by Colleen Hallagan Preuninger

DRPDF938 • 978-0-88177-938-7 


Caring for the End of Life

About: This course equips laity to minister in end-of-life situations, including hospice. (Offered in cooperation with the American Hospice Association; Course developed by North Texas Conference Lay Servant Ministries)
Text: Provided by online instructor


Caring for Those Who Grieve

About: This course extends the Lay Pastoral Care course to focus on caring for those who experience grief from various losses, including death of loved ones, employment loss, family changes, and relocation. (Course developed by North Texas Conference Lay Servant Ministries)
Text: Provided by online instructor


Children of Abraham 

About: This online class is a beginning, an opportunity to explore the mutual roots in story of the three “Abrahamic religions.” It will focus on what we have in common, how each faith’s wisdom can enrich our own, and how to begin having interfaith conversations. This 5-week pre-Advent spiritual journey finishes before Thanksgiving (instead of taking up Advent time).
Text: The Faith Club
by Ranya Idilby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner 
ISBN 978-07432-9048-7 


Class Leaders

About: This study explains what the recovery of this tradition can mean for congregations, and offers some guidelines for the revitalized office of class leader. Adapting the later Methodist class meeting as a pastoral subdivision of the congregation, Watson shows how class leaders, under the supervision of the pastor, can nurture the discipline of other church members in light of a “General Rule of Discipline” derived from the early Methodist societies: “To witness to Jesus Christ in the world, and to follow his teachings through acts of compassion, justice, worship, and devotion, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”xxx
Participant's text: Class Leaders: Recovering a Tradition
by David Lowes Watson
ISBN 978-15791-0954-7
Leader's text: Class Leaders 
by Steven W. Manskar
(Available only as a PDF download at Upper Room Bookstore.)


Come to the Table

About: “Come to the Table” is a course that can deepen your experience of Holy Communion through this wide-ranging study of This Holy Mystery, Scripture, Church history and United Methodist theology and practice of the sacrament. This course will reference, but go beyond, the official U.M. documents to include art, music, film and video resources to enrich our understanding and participation in the holy meal. 
Text: This Holy Mystery by Gayle Carlton Fenton
DR457 • 978-0-88177-457-3 


Come to the Waters

About: This course will reference, but go beyond, the official United Methodist teaching document on baptism. The class considers preparation of adults for baptism and the unique challenges of the digital age.
Text: By Water and the Spirit by Gayle Carlton Fenton
DR201 • 978-0-88177-201-2 


Connectional Living and Connectional Giving

About: This course helps lay servants understand and share the world-transforming power of connectional giving rooted in the biblical/Wesleyan tradition. 
Text: Wesley's Simple Rules for Money by James A. Harnish
978-1-630-88392-8 Available at 
Leader's text: Connectional Living and Connectional Giving 
by Rogers Curless and Ken Sloane
DRPDF933 • 978-0-88177-933-2 


Dancing with Words

About: You will learn what constitutes a good story, discover your storytelling styles, learn the techniques of effective storytelling and practice creating stories from your own experiences.

Participant's text: Tell Stories 
by Ray Buckley
DR408 • 978-0-88177-408-5 

Leader's text: Dancing with Words 
by Ray Buckley
DR407 • 978-0-88177-407-8 


Devotional Life in the Wesleyan Tradition #

About: This course delves into major features in John Wesley’s devotional life, and how you can apply his ministry to your own life. Structured around Wesley’s “Means of Grace,” this study covers, among other topics, prayer, scripture, the Lord’s Supper, and fasting.

Participant 's text: Devotional Life in the Wesleyan Tradition
by Steve Harper
English: DR740 • 978-0-8358-0740-1
Spanish: DR876 • 978-0-8358-0876-7 

Leader's text: Grow Spiritually Through Daily Disciplines*
by Anita Owens Fenstermacher
English: DRPDF198 
Spanish: DRPDF431 
(Available only as a PDF download at


Discipleship Begins with Relationship

About: This course helps lay servant leaders understand and adapt an intentional discipleship plan for their church context using resources from the See All The People movement. 

Participant's text: Discipleship Begins with Relationships: Creating A Spiritual Growth Plan to see All The People by David C. Teel 
DR375 • 978-0-88177-375-0 • $14

Leader's texts: 


Discover Your Spiritual Gifts #*

About: This course helps participants understand spiritual gifts and how the church can use them to fulfill its mission and ministry. Participants will identify their own spiritual gifts and also learn what it means to be a spiritual leader who is equipped to lead others in exploring and using their own spiritual gifts.

Participant's text: Each One a Minister
by William J. Carter
DR375 • 978-0-88177-375-0 

Leader's texts: Discover Your Spiritual Gifts, rev. 
by Charles V. Bryant
DRPDF441• $8 (Available only as a PDF download at

and Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts 
by Charles V. Bryant
DR633 • 978-0-8358-0633-6 


Embracing Personal Pray

About: At the end of this course, you will be able to establish a daily practice for communicating with God and listening for God's answers. You will find ways to come to the Lord in prayer (singing, fasting, praying the Scriptures, praying for others, and using intercessory prayer). You will explore the many names of Jesus and God you can use for adoration in your prayer. You will identify your need to overcome the barriers you may now be experiencing in your prayer life. Finally, you will be provided useful tools for structuring your prayer life and focusing on the Lord. 

Participant's text: Lord, Teach Us to Pray 
by Margie Burger
DR570 978-0-88177-570-9 

Leader's text: Enhancing Personal Prayer 
by Pat Hogan
DRPDF898 • 978-0-88177-898-4 


From Your Heart to Theirs: Delivering an Effective Sermon *

About: This course moves beyond the basics of public speaking to address the foundations necessary for preparing an engaging sermon. The 5 parts of this helpful experiential guide include: types of sermons – from exegetical to topical to children’s sermons; finding the story and using the hymnal; reading the Bible aloud; communication on paper and moving beyond the paper; and presentation and practice.

Participant's text: From Your Heart to Theirs: Delivering an Effective Sermon 
by Tony Franks and David Carroll
DR536 • 978-0-88177-536-5 

Leader's text: From Your Heart to Theirs: Delivering an Effective Sermon 
by Tony Franks and David Carroll
DR535 • 978-0-88177-535-8 


God’s Mission … Our Journey

About: This course will provide participants with a better understanding of a holistic approach to participation in God’s mission to the world and equip lay servants for more effective missional engagement in their communities and beyond.
Participant's text: A Mission Journey: A Handbook for Volunteers
DR669 • 978-08817-7669-0 (Available as an EPub)
Leader's text: God’s Mission … Our Journey
by Jody Cataldo


Half Truths, God Helps Those Who Help Themselves and Other Things the Bible Doesn’t Say

About: This study, based on the book Half Truths by Adam Hamilton, allows participants to search for the whole truth by comparing common Christian clichés such as “everything happens for a reason” with the wisdom found in Scripture.
Participant's text: Half Truths, God Helps Those Who Help Themselves and Other Things the Bible Doesn’t Say
by Adam Hamilton
ISBN 978-1-5018-1387-0
Leader's text: Half Truths: Leader Guide
ISBN 978-1-5018-1390-0


Holy Spirit Here and Now

About: This course focuses on understanding how the Holy Spirit works in our everyday lives, and on recognizing that the Holy Spirit is continually with us — 24/7. An understanding of the Holy Spirit’s work is foundational for many other advanced Lay Servant Ministries courses, including Leading and Planning Worship, Communion, Baptism, Theology, Prayer, Organization of the United Methodist Church (polity), and Storytelling. 
Text: Holy Spirit Here and Now by Trevor Hudson
ISBN 978-0-83581-220-7 • $10.88


Justice in Everyday Life

About: This course takes an in-depth look at the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church— the church’s attempt to speak on contemporary issues with which it is confronted today.
Participant's text: Social Principles of The United Methodist Church 2017-2020
ISBN 9781501835773 • Cokesbury
Leader's text: Justice in Everyday Life: A Look at the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church
by Rev. Neal Christie
ISBN 9780881776522 • $6.80
Item #: DR652 


Lay Pastoral Care Giving 

About: How do you learn to care for others in the community — whether the community of faith or the extended community? Some people seem to have natural gifts, but most of you can learn to improve your caring skills. This course offers insights into the life span and the dynamics of contemporary life to help your church leaders reach out with God’s love and care to others.
Participant's text: Lay Pastoral Care Giving 
by Tim Farabaugh
DR554 • 978-0-88177-554-9 
Leader's text: Leading in Lay Pastoral Care 
by Brian Jackson
(Available only as a PDF download at Upper Room Bookstore).


Lay Servants as Christian Transformational Leaders

About: This course will guide lay servants seeking to be more empowered to lead their congregations toward vitality. 
Participant's text: Lay Servants as Christian Transformational Leaders
by Marc Brown, Kathy Merry and John Briggs
Participant’s Book • DR881 • 978-0-88177-881-6 

Leader's text: Lay Servants as Christian Transformational Leaders

by Marc Brown, Kathy Merry and John Briggs
Leader’s Guide • DRPDF884 • 978-0-88177-884-7 (PDF Only)


Lay Servants Lead in Conflict Resolution

About: Every church deals with conflict, both healthy and unhealthy, and lay servants can be equipped and empowered to help lead through those times of conflict as a time of transformation.
Participant's text: The Spirit and Art of Conflict Transformation
by Thomas Porter
1026 • 978-0-8358-1026-1 
Leader's text: Lay Servants Lead in Conflict Resolution 
by Regina Allen


Leading Bible Study

About: This course opens a new world for many lay servants who have not had professional training in biblical interpretation. It reminds us as United Methodists that Bible study and biblical interpretation are a core part of our spiritual journey.
Participant's text: Biblical Interpretation: A Roadmap 
by Sharon Ringe and Frederick Tiffany
ISBN 9780687016082 
Leader's text: Leading Bible Study 
by Dana Bunn


Leading Missional Small Groups

About: This course teaches the Wesleyan way to form missional communities and congregations. It is based on the conviction that just as holiness of heart leads to holiness of life, it is communities of holy love that participate in God’s mission in the world.
Participant's text: Transforming Community
by Henry H. Knight, III and F. Douglas Powe, Jr.
DR754 • 978-0-8817-7754-3 
Leader's text: Leading Missional Small Groups
by by M. Scott Hughes and Jodi L. Cataldo


Leading Worship *

Leading Worship: (ON-SITE COURSE) focuses on the ministry of the Lay Servant who either regularly or occasionally leads (or assists in leading) a group or congregation in worship. Learning includes both content and practice in basic worship leadership roles and skills. Particular attention is paid to understanding the energy and flow of leading the Basic Pattern of Christian worship, understanding the Christian Year, the use of the Revised Common Lectionary and basic dos and don’ts of effective worship leadership.

Your Ministry of Leading Worship 101: (ONLINE COURSE) focuses on basic understandings of worship and on gaining insights into skills for lay persons (“liturgists” or “lay readers”) who assist the pastor in Christian worship. If you currently help with leading worship in your congregation or would like to prepare for such leadership, this course is designed for you. Particular emphasis will be given to your role in relation to other leaders and the congregation. We will explore reading Scripture, leading prayer, distribution of the elements at the Lord’s Supper, and basic do’s and don’ts of effective worship leadership. Deacons, elders/presbyters, and lay worship leader coordinators are also welcome to enroll, particularly with an eye to doing local training and providing support to lay readers/assisting ministers in their local church settings.

Scheduled: TBD Online – materials will be provided through the course instructor. On-site course – Worshiping with United Methodists, rev. ed.
by Hoyt L. Hickman
ISBN 978-0-687-33526-8 

Leader's text: Leading Worship
by Taylor Burton-Edwards
ISBN 978-0-88177-685-0 • DR685 


Life Together in the United Methodist Connection *

About: Why does The United Methodist Church do things the way it does? Why is our pastor being reassigned? Why don’t we get to vote on our new pastor? How do we get things done, like renovating our building or starting a new ministry? What are the rules – and why are they the rules? And what does any of this have to do with trying to be a place and a people that embody the Kingdom of God?

Participant texts:
Polity, Practice and the Mission of The United Methodist Church (2006 ed.)
by Thomas Edward Frank
ISBN: 978-0687335312 • $18.84
(Available from Cokesbury; also available for Kindle at AND

United Methodist Book of Discipline 2016
ISBN 13: 9781501833212 
ISBN 13: 9781501833229 
(Available from Cokesbury; also available for Kindle at

Leader's text: Life Together in the United Methodist Connection
by Beth Galbreath


Liturgies for Healing & Transformation

About: This course provides a basic understanding of the purpose and creative use of liturgies, and how they merge into our lives today. 
Participant's text: Gathered Together: Creating Personal Liturgies for Healing and Transformation 
by Tilda Norberg
ISBN 978-0835899161 
(Available from
Leader's text: Contact Susan Grant for curriculum information.


Living Our United Methodist Beliefs *

About: Explore a basic explanation of the beliefs and practices of The United Methodist Church as defined in Part II of The Book of Discipline. Uncover a deeper understanding and experience of Christian faith as you embrace the United Methodist way.
Participant's texts: Living Our Beliefs: The United Methodist Way
by Kenneth L. Carder
DR571 • 978-0-88177-571-6 
AND A Brief History of The United Methodist Church 
available as a free PDF download
Leader's text: A Leader’s Guide for Living Our Beliefs and A Brief History of The United Methodist Church
by George Hovaness Donigan

Multimedia in Worship

About: In this online course, students will be introduced to the hardware and software in worship technology and discover their ability to plan, create and implement technology in a worship setting. The workshop will also help the student learn about worship itself and the role of technology in design, appropriateness and excellence. Special consideration will be given to budget and a low-cost approach to technology implementation. This workshop is designed for the church volunteer or pastor who would classify themselves as “beginners” in multi-media experience. (Please note: the workshop utilizes some software that is windows-based.)
Materials will be provided through the online course instructor.


Planning Worship

About: This course builds on the course Leading Worship (encouraged, but not a pre-requisite for enrollment in this course), and focuses on the principles and practices of designing, evaluating and strengthening vital United Methodist worship. Worship teams are encouraged to attend so that they can learn together about creating more meaningful and memorable worship for their congregations. 
Participant's texts: The Worship Workshop
by Marcia McFee
ISBN 978-0-687-04634-8  AND
The United Methodist Book of Worship
ISBN 978-0-687-03572-4 
Leader's text: Planning Worship
by Taylor Burton-Edwards
ISBN 978-0-88177-682-9  DR682


Prepare to Teach ♦

About: This is the second of two courses (other course: Teach Adults) for those who want to become an Accredited Lay Servant Ministries Course Instructor in the NTC, or for anyone who teaches adults in a church setting. Participants will improve their skills as facilitators of adult learning by recognizing traits of master teachers, adjusting for different levels of experience in learners, managing difficult classroom situations, exploring ways to ask questions, enhancing the physical environment, and coordinating with team members for training events.  (NOTE: This is a one-day-only class – NOT for “Advanced Course” credit)
Materials are provided in class by the instructors. Leader: Contact: Susan Anderson for curriculum materials.


Public Prayer #*

About: Prayer is something we learn; it is something that can be taught. For many, however, the only teaching about prayer they ever receive is modeled in Sunday worship. As a church leader, you may find yourself the one leading prayer in worship services, as well as in other settings. It is vital then that you are knowledgeable and lead well. 
Participant's text: Let the Whole Church Say Amen!
by Laurence Hull Stookey
ISBN 978-06870-9077-8 
(Order from Cokesbury or Amazon. Also available as an e-book.)
Leader's text: Leading in Prayer 
by Mary O. Benedict
DR492 •978-0-88177-492-4 


Teach Adults ♦

About: This course is designed to help provide you, as church leaders, with a basic understanding of the ways in which adults learn and grow. This is one of two courses needed to become an Accredited Lay Servant Ministries Course Instructor for the North Texas Conference.
Participant's text: Start Here
by Barbara Bruce
DR303 • 978-0-88177-303-3 
Leader's text: Teach Adults
by Diana L. Hynson
DRPDF10 (Available only by PDF download from Upper Room Bookstore.)



About: This course explores some of the basic ideas and vocabulary of Christian theology. This course also addresses The Apostle’s Creed, 2000 years of key debates that have influenced Christian thinking, who has shaped Christian theology through the centuries, and why Christian theology is important to church laity.
Participant's text: Theology: The Basics, 3rd ed. 
by Alister E. McGrath
ISBN 9780470656754 
Leader's text: Contact John Barham for curriculum information.


Transforming Evangelism

About: This course leads participants to learn from John Wesley how to practice relational evangelism. They will discover that evangelism involves not only sharing our faith with others but also welcoming people into a community where they can grow in faith.
Participant's text: Transforming Evangelism
by Henry H. Knight, III and F. Douglas Powe, Jr. 
DR485 • 978-0-88177-485-6 
Leader's text: Lead in Evangelism
DRPDF11 (Available only by PDF download from Upper Room Bookstore.)


You Can Preach! *

About: This course is designed for lay leaders, pastors, student pastors who have not completed formal preaching training, pastors seeking a basic refresher course and others who are called upon to preach in a pastor’s absence.
Participant's text: Go Preach! 
by John P. Gilbert
DR384 • 978-0-88177-384-2 
Leader's text: You Can Preach! 
by John P. Gilbert
DR387 • 978-0-88177-387-3