Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Lay Counseling Institute?

The Lay Counselor Institute (LCI) is a ministry devoted to furthering the idea that gifted believers may be trained to offer effective biblical lay counseling services within a Church context and with proper supervision. LCI uses our own model of comprehensive lay counselor training. We also provide supplemental, topic-specific seminars and workshops to enhance our training.

What is the difference between a Lay counselor and a Licensed counselor?

Lay counselors perform many activities that are similar to licensed counselors, but lay counselors aren’t required to be licensed by the state. They render their counseling services under the auspices of a church pastor or leader. They do not (cannot) charge a fee. Most often they do not have a counseling degree.

Lay counselors typically volunteer their time and provide their services under the auspices of their local church body and as such are subject to the rules, policies, mission and doctrine of their church or denomination. Like professionals, they typically meet for an hour in a counseling office on a regular basis, they maintain strict confidentiality with their clients, they keep notes and files on their cases, and they regularly receive supervision.

What trainings do you offer for Lay counselors?

LCI offers a series of various training to equip lay leaders. The trainings are split into 3 levels:

View calendar for upcoming training opportunities

What would I need to do to become a lay counselor?

If you are interested in becoming a lay counselor, the first step is to sign up for our Glorious Mess/Level 1 training as an introduction to LCI.

If your church already has a lay counseling ministry, you may wish to speak with them about becoming involved. If your church does not currently provide lay counseling, you may wish to speak with your pastor or care minister and share your interest. We are happy to work with churches as they establish their own lay counseling program.

Do I have to take the trainings in sequential order?

Yes, LCI offers subsequent trainings that build on one another. While it’s recommended to take the trainings back-to-back, you can take the next level at any time as your schedule permits.

What is the content for the trainings & seminars?

Our training integrates biblical theology with a practical counseling model that helps equips leaders with the grace and truth to facilitate healing within their circle of influence. All content is proprietary to the Lay Counselor Institute.

Who wrote the curriculum for the trainings?

All the curriculum for LCI trainings is the creative and proprietary content written by the LCI founders.

Will I receive a certification or academic credit for completing the trainings?

While you will receive a certificate of completion, there is no academic credit/certification for LCI training.

Do you have to be from a certain denomination to be a lay counselor?

LCI-trained lay counselors work with churches representing many different denominations. You may view the list of our partner churches to see the denominations represented.

Who can attend the trainings/seminars?

Anyone is welcome to attend an LCI event. The content is perfect for those who are looking to strengthen their ability to biblically counsel, mentor, and/or disciple others whether in a formal setting, leading a small group, or just meeting one-on-one with others.

When are the upcoming trainings and seminars?

Any scheduled trainings and workshops will be posted on our website as soon as possible. You can view all dates for upcoming trainings and seminars at our Calendar of Events.

What is the difference between trainings and seminars?

LCI trainings are a series of teachings/classes with a set curriculum that are use to prepare believers for the care of others.

Workshops/Seminars are one-time classes based on various topics, that can be taken ad-hoc to supplement, strengthen, or encourage your ministry.

What churches in the area have lay counseling programs?

There are many churches in the DC/MD/VA area with lay counseling ministries. You may view the list of churches with participating LCI-trained lay counselors.

What if my church doesn’t have a lay counseling ministry or lay counselors?

You may speak with your church’s governing body and discuss LCI’s ministry and training. We are continually building relationships with new churches in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. You are welcome to attend our Glorious Mess & Lab and Level 2 training even if your church does not have a lay counseling ministry. Also, some of our seminars and workshops are open to the general public.

Will LCI pair me up with a lay counselor?

LCI does not match lay counselors with individuals. If you desire to receive lay counseling, you may locate a convenient church from our list of churches and contact them directly*. Also, if your church does not have a lay counseling program, you may work with your church to establish a relationship with LCI.

*Note: Not all churches will provide lay counseling to non-members.

How can I support/give to LCI?

  • Prayer– LCI is always looking for faithful prayer warriors to support our ministry. Pray that our work is lead by God, effective in providing hope & healing, and ultimately brings honor to His name.
  • Financially– As a 501C3 organization, LCI is funded primarily through donations.
  • Host an Event– By offering to host a training/seminar at your church, you can help spread the word about what LCI offers the local church and potentially establish a Lay counseling ministry at your church.
  • Join Our Mailing List– We will often send email alerts when we have upcoming trainings and events. If you want to serve as an LCI ambassador and spread the word, you can join our mailing list and “be in the know” of everything Lay Counseling.

Give to LCI

How do I register for an event?

You can register for any upcoming LCI event via our Calendar of Events.

Is registration required to attend a training?

Registering in advance is preferred to ensure there is enough food, coffee and materials for all attendees. However, walkins are also welcome to some events. Note: registration is required to join Level 1b labs.

How is LCI governed?

LCI is governed by a Board of Directors which oversees all aspects of the ministry. The Board has established several committees which take specific responsibility for various elements of the work. The committees are made up of Board members and other volunteers.

What are the Board Committees and what do they do?

The Committees of the Board of Directors include:

  • The Ministry/Continuing Education Committee – develops and manages all training programs and oversees the current lay counseling ministries in partnership with local churches.
  • The Church Relations Committee – manages our relationships with local churches and helps develop or consult new churches.
  • The Administration/Ethics Committee – handles details and records relating to the ministry.
  • The Finance Committee – manages the economics of LCI (accounts, donations, salaries, taxes, corporate fees, etc.).
  • The Communications Committee – oversees the web site, newsletters and other promotional materials.
  • The Executive Committee (comprised of the President and representatives from each committee) – provides vision and direction for the Board.

How is LCI supported?

As a nonprofit organization, LCI is financially supported by revenue generated at the trainings, seminars and workshops (fees), and donations from individuals, churches and organizations.

Have an additional question? Please contact us.


Crofton, MD

I learned much of the LCI model back in the early 90’s in a Sunday school class taught by Bill Clark before the Lay Counselor Institute even existed. The model that I learned transformed the way I looked at my own life as well as the way I saw God. In time, it propelled me to graduate school and a career in counseling. Even armed with a degree in counseling, the truths I learned through LCI are really the bedrock of how I counsel and how I aspire to live.

But, it does not stop here. My pastor and his wife have been trained through LCI and this training colors the way they shepherd at Mid-Atlantic Community Church. Through the church, I lead a LCI consultation group made up of lay counselors from inside and outside my church. Our pastor routinely refers individuals to these lay counselors. It has truly been a ‘gift that keeps on giving.’ I can think of no more worthy organization to support!

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