Lay ministry pathway

Sunshine through the trees onto pathway

Releasing the gifts of all people in Bath and Wells is becoming a lot easier thanks to the introduction of the lay ministry pathway, a more flexibile and adaptable approach for those training in different lay ministries, such as Lay Worship Assistant (LWA) and Lay Pastoral Assistant (LPA). Further courses are under development.

While the new approach still values the traditional training course approach, the lay ministry pathway also offers apprenticeship-style learning and equipping. It also recognises that people start their journey to ministry with different life experiences and skills and therefore allows them to start their training at a level appropriate to them.

The lay ministries pathway resources include a foundation course for all ministries. Other courses cover the core gifts and skills for particular ministries.

Alongside the changes to lay ministry training, there will be ongoing training for clergy seeking to support those in lay ministry. In Bath and Wells the aim is for every benefice to have a flourishing shared local ministry, with lay and ordained working together to build up the body of Christ in the local church and to lead the church in mission.

Each recognised lay ministry, such as Lay Worship Assistant or Lay Pastoral Assistant, has a checklist which incumbents or another suitably qualified individual can use to ensure a candidate has reached an appropriate level of competency. Every minister undergoes safer recruitment process, is approved by the PCC, commended by the bishop and commissioned locally.

Want to find out more?

We are running a number of taster sessions when you can join us to hear more about lay ministry pathways. We are running both morning and afternoon sessions at Flourish House, or an evening session on Zoom on the following dates: 

Thursday, 8 February 2024 at Flourish House, Wells

10:00 to 12:00

or 14:00 to 16:00

Tuesday, 27 February over Zoom

19:00 to 21:00

Thursday, 7 March 2024 at Flourish House, Wells

10:00 to 12:00

or 14:00 to 16:00

If you would like to join us at one of the sessions please register using our online form.

Steps along the lay ministry pathway

Initial conversations

This may be initiated by an individual, incumbent, youth worker, friend or a member of the worshipping community.


Once a specific ministry is identified, the participant discusses an appropriate pathway with their incumbent using the ministry checklist. The incumbent may delegate this task to a local mentor.

Equipping pathways

A mentor will be identified by a parish, deanery or chaplaincy to work alongside the participant, offering support through training and in the first steps of ministry. Dedicated training is available to mentors.

  • The course pathway - The diocesan course may be delivered locally or facilitated by the diocesan training team, in person or online.

  • The sessions pathway - for participants with previous experience, particular sessions are identified from the relevant course. This pathway will require a mentor

  • The apprenticehip pathway - the participant works alongside an experienced person. Participants may also access sessions from the diocesan course. The emphasis is on the practical.

Discernment review

  • Using the Ministry Checklist Tool, the mentor or incumbent reflects with the participant to discern their development.

  • PCC agreement is obtained.

  • Appropriate safeguarding checks and training are completed.

  • Commendation application is processed.


Ministry is publicly recognised at a parish, deanery or diocesan event.

Living out your ministry

Continuing to develop and grow in your local context.


Lay ministry pathway leaflet

Who to contact

Email the Training team or Jill Perrett

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