Organization: The Church as Connection

United Methodist leaders often speak of the denomination as “the connection.”  This concept has been central to Methodism from its beginning.
The United Methodist structure and organization began as a means of  accomplishing the mission of spreading scriptural holiness. Methodism’s  founder, John Wesley, recognized the need for an organized system of  communication and accountability and developed what he called the  “connexion,” an interlocking system of classes, societies, and annual  conferences.

Today, our denomination continues to be organized in a “connectional” system, which “enables us to carry out our mission in  unity and strength” (Book of Discipline, ΒΆ 701). Every local church is  linked to an interconnected network of organizations that join together  in mission and ministry, allowing us to accomplish far more than any one church or person could alone.

Within the connectional structure  of The United Methodist Church, conferences provide the primary  groupings of people and churches for discernment and decision-making.  Wesley described Christian conferencing as a spiritual discipline  through which God’s grace may be revealed. At every level of the  connection, church leaders and members come together in conversation, or conferencing, to discuss important issues and discover God’s will for  the church. The word, conference, thus refers to both the assembly and  organization of people as well as the process of discerning God’s call together.    


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General Conference

Jurisdictional Conferences

As the primary legislative  body, General Conference is the only entity with the authority to speak  on behalf of the entire United Methodist Church. The General Conference  meets every four years to consider the business and mission of the  church. An equal number of lay and clergy delegates are elected from  United Methodist bodies around the world to decide matters of policy and procedure for the denomination.

There are five geographic jurisdictions, or regions, in the United States,  which are comprised of eight to 15 annual conferences each.

Central Conferences

Annual Conferences

In Africa, Europe and the Philippines, there are seven geographical regions, called  "central conferences."

The annual conference is a geographical region (comprising districts), an  organizational body (made up of elected lay and clergy members), and a  yearly meeting.


Charge Conferences and Local Churches

Each congregation in the United States is part of a district, which is an  administrative grouping of approximately 40 to 80 churches in a  geographic area.

As the visible presence or body of Christ, the local church is the place  where members grow in faith and discipleship, putting their faith into  action through ministry in the world.

Pahrump Valley United Methodist Church     1300 East Highway 372     Pahrump Nevada 89048     775.727.6767