Living God's Love Values - Generosity, Joy, Imagination and Courage
Living God's Love Values - Generosity, Joy, Imagination and Courage
Lay Leaders of Worship

Lay Leaders of Worship (LLWs)

Worship is at the heart of our Christian discipleship and witness, yet some churches across the Diocese do not hold a service every Sunday because they do not have licensed ministers to lead. In some churches circumstances require that services are held at different times each week. In other churches worship is led by lay people who feel ill-equipped or have little training.

This diocesan Scheme, which was piloted in Autumn 2014, is designed to address these concerns and to help make it possible for public worship to take place in every church every Sunday. It enables parishes across the Diocese to discern the gifts of lay people as local Lay Leaders of Worship (LLWs) and provides agreed training for them, on completion of which they receive a letter of permission from the Bishop recognising them as Lay Leaders of Worship in their parish church. The commissioning is formally marked by the incumbent in one of the regular services in the benefice.

The liturgy for commissioning Lay Leaders of Worship is available here.


It is a requirement for all LLWs to complete the online Safeguarding courses – Basic Awareness Module, and Foundations Module.  In order for LLWs in Training to receive the letter of permission from the bishop, enabling commissioning these safeguarding requirements must be met.

The Basic Awareness and Foundations certificates need to be renewed every three years.  The parish is responsible for ensuring that LLWs keep up to date with safeguarding requirements.

We also recommend that parishes consider a basic disclosure for those on the LLW course/commissioned as LLWs. Information on basic disclosures can be found here: Safeguarding Newsletter Dec 2018

Outline of the Sessions of the Course

Session 1 – The Nature of Worship
This session explores the nature of worship by looking at some definitions and biblical passages, and considering the role of the worship leader as the one who facilitates others in worship.

Session 2 – Book of Common Prayer and Common Worship
This session looks at the structure of both Book of Common Prayer and Common Worship resources, and principles for how to use them.

Session 3 – Using Other Resources: Music and Intercessions
This session covers some criteria for choosing and using music in services, and the use of intercessions in services.

Session 4 – Leading worship
This session considers practicalities in preparing for leading worship, communication skills involved in leading worship, and follow up after services.

Session 5 –  Making worship accessible for children, young people and families

But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. (Luke 18:16, see also Matt 19:14; Mark 10:14)

We are called to enable youth, children and families to be able to come to Jesus.  It is therefore important that our worship can be welcoming and accessible to any youth, children and families in our churches and to any who may attend.  This session looks at practicalities in leading and enabling worship that is accessible to youth, children and families – both in explicitly All Age Worship and acts of worship more generally.

Session 6 – Leading Worship in Pioneering Contexts

The church is called to reach new people with God’s love.  As well as doing this through our existing church communities, this also involves developing new worshipping communities.  This can be through adapting a form of church like Messy Church, Youth Church, Café Church, Forest Church etc.; or it can be by engaging with the people and needs of the local community and shaping a worshipping community around them.  This session considers important principles and practicalities involved in leading worship in any such pioneering context.


There is no course fee to take part in this training but your time and willingness to be involved in the mission of God.


If you would like to train as a Lay Leader of Worship, please discuss this with your incumbent. Please also note that an application must be received by both the participant and their incumbent.

Bookings for the Spring 2023 course are now closed.

Bookings for the Summer 2023 course are open until 14 Aprilbook online here

Course Dates

Spring term 2023 – please note bookings for this course are now closed.

Six Wednesday evenings online from 7.30pm to 9.30pm

    • Wednesday 1 February
    • Wednesday 8 February
    • Wednesday 1 March
    • Wednesday 8 March
    • Wednesday 15 March
    • Wednesday 22 March

Summer term 2023 – book online here

Three Saturday mornings from 9am to 1pm – these will be onsite at the Diocesan Office in St Albans.

    • Saturday 29 April
    • Saturday 20 May
    • Saturday 24 June

Further information

The Lay Leader of Worship handbook

Lay Leader of Worship Statement of Arrangements

Lay Leader of Worship Review Form


Please contact the Ministry Development Administrator.

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