The Mission of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples for Jesus Christ. Local churches provide the most significant arena through which disciple-making occurs. We make disciples as we:
- proclaim the gospel, seek, welcome, and gather persons into the body of Christ;
- lead persons to commit their lives to God through baptism by water and the spirit and profession of faith in Jesus Christ;
- nurture persons in Christian living through worship, the sacraments of holy communion and baptism, spiritual disciplines, and other means of grace, such as Wesley’s Christian conferencing (ensuring that group interactions, large or small, are conducted prayerfully, with Christian love, and guided by the Holy Spirit);
- send persons into the world to live lovingly and justly as servants of Christ by healing the sick; feeding the hungry; caring for the stranger; freeing the oppressed; being and becoming a compassionate, caring presence; and working to develop social structures that are consistent with the gospel; and
- continue the mission of seeking, welcoming, and gathering persons into the community of the body of Christ.
Learn more about the basics of the faith of United Methodists on umc.org, the website of the United Methodist Church. This website contains information about our Christian roots, our Wesleyan heritage, foundational documents, reflections on our faith, the sacraments, “Methodism 101,” the social principles and creed, and guidance on Christian living.
The Methodist church is a connectional organization, meaning that all Methodists are connected through a hierarchy of local churches, districts, and conferences. 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,” a network 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.” 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 local church or person could alone.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE WITHIN THE LOCAL CHURCH ORGANIZATION
Many activities are essential in order to ensure that the local church runs effectively:
- ensuring that the paid staff (including the pastor) are fairly remunerated and treated well
- making sure that income and expenditures balance
- maintaining the church buildings
- looking after the grounds
- and more
These activities are overseen by committees that offer opportunities for service to those who wish to put their talents at the disposal of the church. The United Methodist Church requires a minimum of five committees to oversee the work of the church:
- Parish administration (COPA)
- Lay leadership
- Staff/Pastor-Parish relations (SPRC)
Individual churches may also set up other committees if they so wish. For example, Fairhaven has a committee on worship that works to make the worship service a smoothly run event and a deeply spiritual experience. In addition, there are many other opportunities for service in nurture, outreach, and witness that you can read about on our Missions page.