The New Discipline: Local Church and Connectional Church

January 17, 2020 | GNJ News

Dear GNJ Leaders,

Today we are releasing the local church and annual conference section of The Connection, The Life and Polity of The United Methodist Church. 

These sections of the new Discipline are the most robust because they focus on the areas of the church that are most critical to mission and ministry.  The Connection refocuses local congregations as the primary unit of the church to carry out the mission. The annual conference, or what is called the connectional church in The Connection, is the primary unit that links congregations with each other and the global mission of the church.

The following are key modifications in these sections:

  • The priority of mission and ministry is carried out through local congregations
  • The doctrine, teachings, Wesleyan Path and mission of the church is elevated for guiding the church and making decisions
  • A board of stewards is created at each level of the church to organize, oversee, implement and evaluate ministry
  • Laity are given more engagement and authority in the leading of the church
  • Clear outcomes are identified for each aspect of the organizational life of the church
  • Two clear paths are outlined for congregations that seek to leave the denomination – affiliation for those who want to affiliate with another Wesleyan denomination and disaffiliation for those who want to leave the denomination and be independent.

The feedback we have been receiving has been very helpful, and we invite you to engage in the process by joining us at one of the regional sessions scheduled for January 16, 17 and 25.  You can find out more and register for one here.  Everything we are sharing with you is a draft. It will be further shaped by your input.

After we receive input from United Methodists in Greater New Jersey, we intend to workshop the document with United Methodists around the world. Our goal is to present a new Book of Discipline to the 2020 General Conference that helps to renew the denomination from the inside out.

You may find the next section with the sections that have already been released by selecting the following link.

The Connection: The Life and Order of the United Methodist Church

In Christ’s Love,

Bethany Amey-Sutton, Chairperson, GNJ Delegation; Drew Dyson, Co-Chairperson, GNJ Delegation; Myrna Bethke, Dean of the Cabinet; Kay Dubuisson, Chairperson, Connectional Table