Our core beliefs, practices, and understanding of Christian discipleship are outlined in The Book of Discipline (see especially paragraphs 101-199). John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, and the early Methodists placed primary emphasis on Christian living, on 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.

Sanctification, social holiness, and itineracy are three unique and distinctive features rooted in our Wesleyan heritage.

  • Sanctification means lifelong growth in faith. God's grace and our human activity work together in a relationship of faith and good works.
  • Social holiness means equipping and mobilizing people for mission and service -- local and beyond. In the 2st century social holiness binds us together in connectional ties for worldwide mission work and to address social concerns.
  • Itineracy means that United Methodist pastors, who are members of the annual conference, are appointed and sent by the bishop and cabinet to serve in a place of ministry.  Aligned with this approach is a built-in expectation that appointed Pastors will change. That said, the Appointment process takes a number of factors into consideration, with the intended goal of doing what is ultimately best for the church in support of our UMC Mission. Factors includes recommendation and desire communicated by the S/PPR (Staff-Pastor Parish Relationship) committee, the Pastor, and other input channels. Change can also occur outside the context of the Appointment process based on the needs/circumstances of the Pastor and the church. Because Pastors come and go, accountability for church fuel and sustained vitality lies with non-clergy leadership and the people of the church: Laity Ministry.

    Background: This practice of change that started with John Wesley is based on the fundamental belief that offering pastoral variety to a congregation is more effective and covers a broader base of discipleship formation and maturity with inspired leadership. Wesley believed that one designated individual would not remain equipped with the skills and enthusiasm needed to equip, sustain, and grow vital congregations. Change allows the opportunity for recalibration of both the Pastor and the Church, and in the big picture, factors into long term church vitality and survivability. Learn more. 

The Book of Discipline describes the structure and organization of our church. Leaders will find guidance for ministry as well as administrative functions of the church. Learn more about the Book of Discipline and Leadership Guidelines.

These three practical rules are the fundamentals of Wesleyan ministry:

  • Do good.
  • Do no harm.
  • Love God.

Learn more about the Basics of Our Faith.

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