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Last updated 15th March 2024

Licensed Lay Ministry

Licensed Lay Ministers (LLM) assist in the church's teaching and preaching ministry under the direction of their Rector or Vicar. 


What is a licensed lay minister?

Licensed Lay Ministers are local people who are key members of their congregations, exercising leadership in teaching the faith, enabling mission, and exemplifying faith in their personal lives.  They are often active members of the PCC, leaders of homegroups, missionally focussed, preachers and teachers, discipleship coordinators and trainers, and they can encourage, train and mentor other lay ministries.   Their distinctive role is to be a focus, beacon, and enabler for all forms of lay ministry.

At the heart of licensed lay ministry is the call of God to teach the faith, enable mission, and lead in church and society – reflecting the light and love of Christ wherever they are.  Licensed Lay Ministers are licensed by the Bishop of Blackburn to exercise their ministry in their parish, and this license is renewable every three years. 

Could this be me?

I have been licensed as an LLM for 9 years, and I am passionate about lay ministry!  Over these years, God has opened doors that I would never have imagined, and I have had the opportunity to serve Jesus Christ in many different ways.  Responding to God’s call to Licensed Lay Ministry has been an amazing journey for me.
Ruth Haldane, Licensed Lay Minister (St James Church, Clitheroe)

God calls and equips all sorts of people for this ministry – and the focus is on the following personal qualities:

  • A love for God – relies on God, lives out faith on a daily basis, rooted in study of scripture, engages with God’s world, personally prayerful.
  • A call to ministry – responding to the call of Christ to be a disciple, understands and excited by LLM ministry, committed to ministry rooted in God’s world and senses a call to licensed lay ministry.
  • A love for people – listens to, values and respects others, builds healthy relationships in church which enable others in ministry, seeks to serve the community, personally has empathy and is self-aware.
  • Wisdom – open to life-long learning, reflection and growth, works collaboratively and embraces difference, connects gathered worship with being sent out to the world, has integrity and emotional stability, open to feedback.
  • Fruitfulness – shares God’s story in a way that communicates, can share faith imaginatively, relevantly and well, shares God’s love for the world, recognises their own strengths and weaknesses and has good self-care.
  • Potential – has potential to grow in faith, lead collaboratively as part of a team, spot opportunities and respond to them, and be adaptable, imaginative and creative. 

My recent licensing was the end of a long journey and the start of a new and exciting life in ministry.  It has been and remains my deep sense that, having built much of my clinical life on care for those who would not achieve a lasting cure for their cancer, my skills and vocation lay in end-of-life support and funeral ministry. 
Dr Sheila Fisher, Licensed Lay Minister (St Wilfrid Church, Standish)

What training will I need?

LLMs are trained at Emmanuel College – two years part-time training with weekly term time evening sessions at Blackburn Cathedral. 

Training was a stimulating experience with interesting and lively classes taught by several tutors with good resources available.  
Annie Riley, Licensed Lay Minister (All Hallows Church, Bispham)

What do I do first?

Talk to your incumbent and/or contact the Director of Ministry at Blackburn Diocese (  There is then a process of discernment before being accepted for LLM training.

Why did I decide to train as a Licensed Lay Minister? Well, simply because I believed that God was nudging me to do so.  Simple in one way, but I came out of it with a profoundly different perspective on ministry in general when we zoomed out of our studies and into our parishes last November.
Diane Otto, Licensed Lay Minister (St John the Evangelist Church, Ellel)

Our focus is on recognising the call of God for this lay ministry, and the personal qualities of candidates. We encourage people from a wide range of educational and ethnic backgrounds to consider whether this is God’s calling for them.

Could this be your calling?

For more information about LLM ministry and whether it is right for you, please contact The Warden of Lay Ministry, Ruth Haldane - or 07896 490832

Licensed Lay Ministers