Exploring the ministry of Lay Reader

The Ministry of Lay Reader

We affirm the many expressions of lay ministry in the Diocese.

One significant ministry that has existed since Anglicans came to the region is the ministry of Lay Reader.

Lay Readers exercise what is sometimes called “a teaching and preaching ministry within a pastoral

context”. They are authorised to conduct or assist in conducting worship, and to assist in the pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work of the Church in the parish or area where they are licensed. Many Lay Readers are also authorised to preach.

Readers are lay men and women, from a wide diversity of occupations and backgrounds, who recognize a call to serve God and his world through the Anglican Church of Australia.

Lay Readers express their vocation as lay people helping to connect the worship and ministerial life of the church alongside their everyday life and work.

Discerning a call to be a Lay Reader

The call to become a Reader may be felt by an individual or may come from outside; from their incumbent, a fellow worshipper, or from someone who does not even attend church but recognises certain qualities. There is no single profile for a Reader; they can be men or women, almost any age and come from all walks of life.

If you think God is calling you to Reader ministry you should consider questions such as:

  • Is God calling you to serve him more fully in ministry
  • Do you have a sense of call as a lay person to help shape the spiritual and pastoral life of your parish?
  • Do people affirm you as having the gifts for leading and encouraging people in a Godly way?/li>
  • What is the pattern of your present discipleship?/li>
  • Have you talked over the possibility of Reader ministry with your partner and family? Are they ready to support you?
  • Is your Incumbent willing to ask the Parish Council to agree to your nomination as a candidate?

The next step is to talk it over with your incumbent.

All candidates for Reader ministry will need the support of their local parish church, must be, or become, confirmed and regular communicant members of the Anglican Church, and will be asked to complete the Safe Ministry requirements of the Diocese.


Your incumbent will nominate you to the Bishop for this ministry. You may be asked to meet with one of the Assistant Bishops or Archdeacons for an interview.

We seek to understand your current capabilities and your capacity for further development. We are looking to see that you are demonstrating spiritual leadership which is well received by your peers.

People may be licensed for a general ministry of being a lay reader. Before a person can be licensed to a preaching ministry they must have completed an approved course of study.

  • Vocation

Candidates should be able to speak of their own sense of vocation to ministry and mission, referring both to personal conviction and to the extent to which others have confirmed it. Their sense of vocation should be faithful, realistic and informed.

  • Faith

Candidates should show an understanding of the Christian faith and a desire to deepen that understanding. They should demonstrate personal commitment to Christ and a capacity to communicate the Gospel.

  • Spirituality and worship

Candidates should show evidence of commitment to a spiritual discipline which involves individual and corporate prayer and worship. Their spiritual practice should he such as to sustain and energise them in their daily lives.

  • Personality and character

Candidates should be sufficiently mature and stable to show that they can sustain the demanding role of a minister and to face change and pressure in a flexible and balanced way. They should be seen to be people of integrity.

  • Relationships

Candidates should demonstrate self-awareness and self-acceptance as a basis for developing open and healthy personal and pastoral relationships as ministers.

  • Potential for training

Candidates should have completed a recognised course of study or be capable of undertaking satisfactorily completing the Australis certificate. They should bring an open and enquiring mind.

  • Leadership and collaboration

Candidates should show the potential to offer wise leadership in the Church community and to some extent beyond it. They should also show ability and willingness to co-operate with other ministers and to work as team members as well as leaders. They must be able to accept the leadership of their incumbent and others set over them in the Lord.

  • Diocesan Ethos

They must be willing to work collaboratively within the ethos of the Diocese.

Next steps

Talk to your incumbent and/or the assistant bishop or archdeacon for your region.

The ministry application form can be found here

Updated and approved December 2019.