Lay Preachers and Worship Leaders

ministry of the whole people of God

Check out your Area Page for the latest courses, workshops, retreats, and celebrations near YOU!


a course for everyone wanting to play their part in the life of their local church

Elders Training

A course by the United Reformed Church to refresh Elders, old and new

Retreats and Prayer Days

Organised by your Mission Mentor throughout the year

Area Celebrations

for food and a chance to make friends and contacts accross your Area

Worship Workshops

be inspired and equipped to try new styles of worship in your local church

Local Recognition

In many churches lay people who do not have Assembly Accreditation lead worship to the great benefit of the churches. The Synod offers all those commended by their church oportunities to  undertake some introductory training, working alongside an accredited lay preacher or minister.

All those who lead public worship, whether only in their own church or in other churches as well, are encouraged to find opportunities to develop their skills and understanding, to meet with other lay preachers to share ideas and to gain and give mutual support.

Assembly Accreditation

Assembly Accreditation is given to those leading worship and preaching in URC churches who have undertaken an approved practical and theoretical training including experience of leading public worship. They will have been commended by their own church and by their Synod and approved by the United Reformed Church’s Accreditation sub-committee.

This accreditation will be affirmed at a Commissioning service, normally at the lay preacher’s own church, and acknowledged by the Synod. This accreditation is also recognised by other denominations.

Could this be you?

Lay Preachers are an integral part of the United Reformed Church. Along with the other recognised ministries in the United Reformed Church, Lay Preaching affirms that ministry is the work of the whole people of God.


Welcome to everyone who leads God’s people in worship!

You will find here information about becoming a Recognised or Accredited Lay Preacher,  courses for developing gifts and skills, as well as links to other relevant websites and resources.

A faithful sermon is ...

… difficult to define, but we all know one when we hear it! Here are several characteristics:

1. A faithful sermon is Biblical

Every sermon is rooted in a biblical passage. The Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, contain the stories of the People of God discovering what it means to be moulded and shaped as commiunities and individuals to live faithfully in response to God’s love and intentions for justice, peace and flourishing.

2. A faithful sermon is autobiographical

Preachers are always participants in the communal life of the church, never just observers and commentators. They are therefore always preaching to themslves, as well as the congregation. Sermons should  reflect the preacher’s experience of wrestling with the biblical texts, of being met and challenged by God, and of being called to deeper, more faithful discipleship of Jesus.

3. A faithful sermon is contextual

Karl Barth said that a preacher should always have the Bible in one hand the newspaper in the other hand. A faithful sermon is always a conversation between the stories of the Bible and the context of our world and communities. The world poses the questions and challenges in which faith and discipleship is to be lived out.

4. A faithful sermon is theological

A sermon always asks the God-question: who is God, and what is the Good News that God addresses to the world? Walter Brueggemann reminds us that the preacher’s task is to illuminate the world as a place in which God is actively involved to transform this world into the place of flourishing and abundant life that God intended it to be at creation.

5. A faithful sermon is intellectual

A sermon engages honestly with the complexity and depth of biblical interpretation, human life and human being, because that is what faith requires.

6. A faithful sermon is emotional

The greatest commandments are to love God with heart, soul mind and strength, and to love our neighbour as ourselves. Jesus teaches us that to be in God’s image is to share God’s compassion for the world. A faithful sermon engages our emtions as well as our intellect.  Its purpose is to help us to “see Jesus more clearly, love him more dearly and follow him more nearly, day by day”.

7. A faithful sermon is inspirational

A faithful sermon aims for transformation – it ought to make a difference. It needs to be inspirational – to provide the necessary insight, encouragement, energy, courage and determination to go out and live differently and more faithfully as disciples of Jesus.

Did you know, Synod Recognised and Assembly Accredited Lay Preachers and Worship Leaders can receive financial support to help cover the costs of continuing theological education?

Click the appropriate lectern to download a covering letter giving details of the scheme and an application form.

Synod Recognised

Assembly Accredited

We are

Jesus-shaped churches

full of

Jesus-shaped people

making a

Jesus-shaped difference

to the lives of our communities

Skip to content