Online Advanced Courses

Lay Servant Ministries courses are open to ALL, whether or not an enrollee applies to serve as a Lay Servant.

Lay Servants--Please check with your District Director PRIOR TO REGISTERING to verify that you qualify to count this course as your Continuing Education credit.  Online Courses in your District may be counted as Continuing Education on the same basis as Alternative Courses are able to be counted.

Throughout the year, hosts online courses which have been approved by Discipleship Ministries (formerly GBOD) as an Advanced Course in Lay Servant Ministries.  These are designated by the logo "Learning and Leading" and are listed at 

Five of the six required Advanced Courses in the Certified Lay Speaker track of studies in the IGRC are also among those offered online through  Preaching (either option) must to be taken in person and are not offered online.  In the IGRC, individuals on the Certified Lay Speaker track may take up to four of the required courses online for credit.  Preaching and one other (your choice) must be attended in person.

The following are just some courses that are available from time to time.


Do you read Scripture or lead the people in prayers on Sunday morning?  Would you like to sharpen your skills for the way you communicate at the lectern?

Leading Worship 101 will focus on basic worship leadership skills for lay persons ("liturgists" or "lay readers") who assist the pastor in leading Christian worship.  If you currently help lead worship in your congregation or would like to prepare for such leadership, this course led by instructor Dan Benedict is for you.  Particular emphasis is given to basic skills: understanding your leadership role in relation to other leaders and the congregation, 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, particularly with an eye to doing local training and providing support to lay readers/assisting ministers in their local church settings.

Pamela Nelson-Munson, pastor of Trinity UMC, Eugene, Oregon, has taken two online workshops with IFD instructor, Rev. Daniel Benedict.  She says: " has probably been "the" most important continuing education experience I have had in the last decade.  With the on-line format, I had the flexibility to log on in my own time zone in line with my personal schedule.  The real-time class-discussions were fast, fun, and invigorating.  The content of the courses have been relevant and continue to inform my ministry.  Our instructor, the Rev. Dan Benedict, was prepared, challenging, pastoral, collegial, and supportive in the learning and discerning process.  I highly recommend courses to all church professionals, and anyone who is up for good academic/practical, ministry/faith, and information/praxis experience!"


Learning the sacred stories of Scripture by heart and sharing them with others is both an ancient-future art and a powerful spiritual practice.  This workshop's methods, developed by the Network of Biblical Storytellers International, are for everyone who wishes to learn, to tell and to connect with God and other people through sacred story - yes, you can do it too!  By the end of the two-week workshop you will be able to share at least one text with others by heart, and you will understand how this completely non-tecnological art fits into a digital-communications world.  Whether you work with children in Sunday School or dream of bringing Scripture to life in worship or elsewhere, your ministry and your spirit will be enriched by this art.

This is a two-week introduction to 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.  The workshop is taught by NBS member and United Methodist deacon Beth Galbreath.


This workshop, also led by Beth Galbreath, expands on the methods taught in Biblical Storytelling I.  It 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.  Biblical Storytelling I is not a prerequisite for Biblical Storytelling II, put previous storytelling experience is highly recommended.


Do you want to grow in your faith journey?  Do you want to help others grow in their faith journey?

This seven week course uses the texts Lay Servants Grow Spiritually Through Daily Discipline and Devotional Life in the Wesleyan Tradition.  Participants will be guided in discerning God's direction for their lives, practicing daily disciplines, and reaching out in love.  During this seven-week course led by Debra Dickerson, students will participate in weekly class discussions based on their readings and will also experience an online small accountability group.


The use of multi-media technology in worship is growing at an exponential rate.  Congregations of all sizes are acknowledging the gift of media technology; however very few have access to formal training.

Rev. John Zimmerman brings his 20+ years of pastoral ministry and his gift of implementing multi-media technology in worship to this seminar.  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 tecnology implementation.  This workshop is designed for the church volunteer or pastor who would classify themselves as "beginners" in multi-media experience.  (Please note that since the workshop utilizes some software that is windows-based MAC users may find some limitations.)

The course content will incude:

  • Intro to Worship Theory
  • Vision-casting, resources, structure
  • Budget
  • Projectors, computers, sound
  • Multi Media graphic resources
  • Worship presentation software


Based on the book by the same name, and taught by author Rebekah Simon-Peter, this two-week class guides you in exploring humankind's organic connection to the Creator and Creation. At the same time, you'll learn of the challenges currently facing Creation. Even in the face of pollution, soaring population, climate change, and habitat loss one of the most promising solutions is the gathering of like-minded people of faith. People just like you. In groups just like this.

In this empowering class you'll learn how you can take positive and inspiring actions that move your congregation toward a deeper shade of green.


Start worship planning this fall with a deeper understanding of Holy Communion, or begin a Eucharistic ministry, 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 sacrament.

Participants will need a Bible and U.M. Hymnal and, if possible, a Book of Worship; other materials will be downloaded. Class members should be prepared for daily reading, reflection and online discussion. This study is guaranteed to deepen your experience of Holy Communion, providing resources and ideas for all, both laypeople and clergy, who plan and lead worship and provide pastoral care. periodically announces its Online course offerings that meet the criteria for Advanced Courses in Lay Servant Ministries.  If you don't see the course you are looking for listed currentlu, it is suggested that you return check back periodically for updates.

The link to the main LSM page at is  Contact Lisa Buffum if you have questions.