Church (Lay) Employees

Listen to the keynote speeches from the Connecting Disciples Conference 2014

More and more lay people are employed to work in the Methodist Church. The work they do is varied and can range from looking after the church premises to working with children and families. For many years some were known by the name 'Lay Workers'. Some lay employees may be part of the ministry team of a district, circuit or church working alongside presbyters, deacons and other lay people. In 1970 there were less than 35 posts, but today there are around 2000 lay people throughout the Connexion.

See examples of different appointments and stories.


The employing body, as part of the review of its mission policy and staffing needs, will identify a piece of work that they will employ someone to undertake. It will work with the district lay employment secretary to ensure that employment law is followed and that appropriate job descriptions, person specifications and contracts are prepared for the employee. Posts will be advertised, either locally or nationally in the religious press and interviews held.


A report on Lay Workers' Terms and Conditions was adopted by the 2007 Methodist Conference.

The hours employees work vary according to the exact post, but the majority work between 15 and 40 hours a week.

For further help see:


Many different people are employed to work within a church setting. Some have taken early retirement, some may be testing a call to ordained ministry with the Church, some want to work for the Church before they move onto other things, whilst others see their discipleship in terms of lay ministry with the Church. There are others who would support the ethos of the Church, but who themselves would not be a church member.


Some posts are very demanding and require specific skills and aptitudes. There are some common themes underlying these posts:

  • Collaborating with others, drawing on their skills and enthusiasms
  • Working on one's own, organising timetable and priorities
  • Working with people in the church and neighbourhood
  • Developing good personal relationships with others with ease
  • Possessing the necessary qualifications and skills in order to undertake the work
  • Willingness to undertake training for skills and personal development


The Methodist Church strongly encourages initial training and continuing development for its employees. The employer will be able to give details of local, regional and connexional training events. It organises:

  • Orientation Programme
    This short course can be delivered on a district or regional basis. It focuses on the induction of employees as they move posts or begin work within a church context for the first time. The programme aims to good practice through sharing together and through the learning and training opportunities which the different topics provide.
    Download the Orientation Programme for Lay Employees within the Methodist Church (Word doc).
  • Connecting Disciples is an annual conference for Lay Employees and Children and Youth Workers coordinated by members of the Connexional Team. It  is held in March and information can be found here

Lay Employees' Appraisal Scheme  (Word doc 164k) 
A guide through the appraisal process, including possible questions which can frame the appraisal.

Methodist Conference Reports

Lay Workers' Terms and Conditions (Word doc)
A report to the 2007 Methodist Conference looking at the name 'Lay Worker', salary, housing/housing allowance and the structure of lay employment.

Lay Workers in the Church (Word doc 61k)
Report adopted by the 1995 Methodist Conference, which affirms the role of lay people employed in Methodist churches.

Further information

For more information about any aspect of Church lay employment by a district, circuit or church contact your district lay employment secretary or the Methodist Church Development and Personnel Office.

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