The organization of each unit in the church is carefully spelled out in the Book of Discipline. All members are at least acquainted with the local church. It includes those who have professed their belief in Christ, have been baptized, and have taken the vows of membership. The local church is the context for hearing the Word of God and for receiving the Sacraments. It reaches out in the name of Christ to bring persons into its fellowship, to nurture the members in their faith, and to witness to and serve the community, both local and global. Groups of local churches work together as a district and are supervised by a clergy superintendent. These districts are part of an annual conference, the basic unit of the denomination. Central conferences are those regional units outside the United States. Conferences in the United States are grouped into five geographic jurisdictions.
Checks and balances are built into all aspects of church life. The organization of the denomination resembles that of the U.S. government. The General Conference is the top legislative body; the nine-member Judicial Council is the "supreme court"; and the Council of Bishops is similar to the executive branch.
Churchwide agencies are primarily accountable to the General Conference. Their staff are governed by boards of directors who are lay and clergy persons.
Preamble | General | Organization | Episcopal Supervision | The Judiciary | Amendments
Preamble | Español
The church is a community of all true believers under the Lordship of Christ. It is the redeemed and redeeming fellowship in which the Word of God is preached by persons divinely called, and the sacraments are duly administered according to Christ’s own appointment.
General | Español
The Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church shall be united in one Church. The united Church, as thus constituted, is, and shall be, the successor of the two uniting churches.
Organization | Español
There shall be a General Conference for the entire Church with such powers, duties, and privileges as are hereinafter set forth. There shall be jurisdictional conferences for the Church in the United States of America, with such powers, duties, and privileges as are hereinafter set forth.
Episcopal Supervision | Español
There shall be a continuance of an episcopacy in The United Methodist Church of like plan, powers, privileges, and duties as now exist in The Methodist Church and in The Evangelical United Brethren Church in all those matters in which they agree and may be considered identical.
The Judiciary| Español
There shall be a Judicial Council. The General Conference shall determine the number and qualifications of its members, their terms of office, and the method of election and the filling of vacancies.
Amendments | Español
Amendments to the Constitution shall be made upon a two-thirds majority of the General Conference present and voting and a two-thirds affirmative vote of the aggregate number of members of the several annual conferences present and voting.
From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church - 2004. Copyright 2004 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.