This site makes mention of a "Methodist lay pastor." What does this person do? How is this role different from the "pastor" in the Methodist Church? What type of religious training or education does this person have?
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In the United Methodist Church, a lay pastor is a church member who has received training and can assist with preaching and care ministries, but does not have a formal seminary education.
The lay pastor can perform most of the duties of ordained ministers:
However, lay pastors cannot lead Holy Communion unless they receive special ordination to do so.
I expect in the context of your reference, the point is simply being made that the the mother of the author, Sandra Sue, has pastoral duties (perhaps leading a small group, Sunday school, etc), but is unpaid in this position, and has a professional career outside of the church.
The concept of a Lay pastor is not new, but is recently (in the last 10-20 years?) seeing a resurgence in popularity as a concept, at least in the U.S. The basic idea is that lay people (those without formal pastoral or religious training) should be heavily involved in ministry.
A brief explanation, from the forward of a book co-authored by my father, The Lay Ministry Revolution: How You Can Join:
Another related concept is that of Tentmaking:
Lay pastor is actually an official designation in the Methodist church. There is some formal training that goes along with it --but nothing that comes close to the training required of a fully ordained pastor.
I'm basing this answer on attending a Methodist church that has two fully ordained pastors and a lay pastor on staff.