Long before the Christmas Conference, the seeds of Methodism were planted in the American colonies by settlers who were part of Methodism in England. As the number of people with the Methodist tradition grew it was inevitable that Methodist Societies would be formed. The growth of such societies caused the Rev. John Wesley to see a need for preachers to be sent to America. So, on August 4, 1769 he sent Joseph Pilmore and Richard Boardman to the colony known as America.
The American Revolutionary War had a major effect on Methodism. The Church of England preachers were forced to leave; going either to Canada or back to England. This left a large gap in the spiritual life of the colonist, into which the Methodist stepped. Following the war, Wesley sent the Rev. Thomas Coke to Superintend the Methodist in America. He brought with him two other ministers who had been ordained by Wesley; Richard Whatcoat and Thomas Vasey.
In December of 1784, the Rev. Thomas Coke and the Rev. Francis Asbury would gather as many of the Methodist preachers as they were able to attend at Lovely Lane Chapel in Baltimore. And so, on December 24 and for 10 more days, the people called Methodist met and created a new church in America; The Methodist Episcopal Church. The Rev. Francis Asbury was ordained to Superintendent and the very next day was ordained to Bishop along with Rev. Thomas Coke. This new church in America now had leadership.
With these new beginnings came the first Discipline (1785) as well as a Book of Worship, adopted the idea of a General Conference to be held every 4 years and became a proponent of the Camp Meetings. Under the leadership of Bishops Asbury and Coke, Methodism flourished in America.