- The United Methodist Church
- The North Carolina Conference
- Conference Mission Statement
- Connectional Table
- Core Values
- The Seven Pathways
According to the 2008 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, at eight million members, The United Methodist Church ranks third in the United States in church membership, behind the Roman Catholic Church and The Southern Baptist Convention. The United Methodist Church recognizes as its founder, John Wesley, a Church of England missionary who, in 1738, experienced a transforming moment, when he sensed God’s presence and felt his heart “strangely warmed.”
In the years following, Wesley, along with his brother, Charles, succeeded in leading a lively renewal movement in the Church of England. The Wesleys and the early Methodists were particularly concerned about inviting people to experience God’s grace and to grow in their knowledge and love of God through disciplined Christian living. They placed primary emphasis on Christian living and putting faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesley referred to as “practical divinity” has continued to be a hallmark of United Methodism today. We invite you to learn more about our rich theological heritage at The United Methodist Church website.
The North Carolina Conference is one of 63 conferences of The United Methodist Church in the United States. Conferences are geographical areas organized under the leadership of a bishop who is responsible for appointing pastors to serve local churches, performing ordinations, and safeguarding the doctrine and discipline of the Church as developed by the General UMC Conference. Bishop Hope Morgan Ward was appointed bishop of the North Carolina Conference in 2012.
The North Carolina Conference encompasses 56 counties in eastern North Carolina from Elon to the coast and from the South Carolina border to the Virginia border. Each conference is divided into districts, each under the leadership of a district superintendent. The district superintendent’s primary responsibilities relate to overseeing the work of the local churches and supervising the work of the pastors, including helping the bishop appoint pastors to local churches. appointments.
Membership in the North Carolina Conference in 2007 was approximately 237,000 persons worshiping in 836 churches within twelve districts in eastern North Carolina.
Healthy Congregations and Effective Leaders in Every Place Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.
Under the structure of the North Carolina Conference, the Connectional Table provides a forum for the understanding, casting forth, and implementation for the vision of the conference. It is the place where ministry and money come to the same table to coordinate the mission, ministries, and resources of the conference. The Conference Teams (Christian Formation, Leadership, Outreach Ministry, and Stewardship) work together with various conference boards, committees and agencies for visioning, strategic planning, budget, and evaluations presented to the Connectional Table for consideration. For more information, download the Conference structure handout.
- Prayerful discernment and worshipful work centered on Christ.
- Clarity of purpose in meetings.
- Covenant to be prepared, present, and to participate fully.
- Value diversity.
- Build trust to embrace differences of opinion and move toward consensus.
- Ongoing evaluation of measurable outcomes.
Our Council of Bishops has identified Seven Pathways that we will focus on as we center on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world:
- Transforming existing congregations. Once again, this at the heart of our vision here in this conference and I will speak more about this pathway later in this address. Acts 10: 28
- Developing new congregations in churches that are more than 10 years old it takes 72 members to win one disciple. In churches that are between 5 to 10 years old it takes 17 members to win one disciple. In churches that are less than 3 years old it takes 2 members to win 1 disciple for Jesus. That alone should show us what powerful tools of evangelism new church launches are. Further, it is important to remember that we now have 20% of our churches where 80% of the American population lives. Revelation 1-3
- Strengthening clergy and lay leadership. This is at the heart of our vision here this conference and I will speak more about this pathway later in this address. Philippians 3:13-14; 2nd Timothy 2:14
- Teaching the Wesleyan model of forming disciples of Jesus Christ. I am so pleased that our 2005 statistics show that we have 3,735 more accountability groups here in the North Carolina Conference than we had last year. We are moving in the right direction! Acts 1:8; Acts 16:9 -10
- Reaching and transforming the lives of the new generations of children . Did you know that there are 75 million children and youth in the Millennial generation? That’s a larger generation than the Baby Boomer generation! It’s the largest generation we’ve ever had in America . And yet, the 2005 statistics of our North Carolina Conference show that we had 3,144 fewer children and youth in our Sunday school classes every Sunday than we did in 2004! We experienced a 342 loss in average weekly attendance at our UMYF meetings! The number of children and youth in society has been rising sharply but the number we are reaching is significantly declining. Matthew 28: 19-20
- Eliminating poverty in community with the poor. That means we eliminate poverty not with a handout but a hand up. Matthew 19:14; Acts 2:39; Proverbs 22:6
- Expanding racial / ethnic ministries. Racial / ethnic communities, and especially the growing Hispanic/Latino areas in North Carolina, clearly are fields where God calls on us to “Go and Make Disciples.” Deuteronomy 15:7; Luke 10
Taken from the Bishop Al Gwinn’s “2006 State of the Church Address” at 2006 Annual Conference, including a later modification from the Council of Bishops in the Pathways.