Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

We Are The People of the United Methodist Church

What We Believe

The Mission of The United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Wesleyan Grace

As United Methodists, we share our theological roots from John Wesley, an 18th century Anglican clergyman who had a comprehensive understanding of God’s grace at work in our lives. Wesley expressed his understanding of God’s grace in three distinct yet overlapping ways.

Prevenient or Preceding Grace is the concept that God’s love precedes our awareness of God. God is reaching out to us prior to our moving toward God. It is Prevenient Grace that moves us to recognize that there may be something deeper than what is on the surface. This is what leads us to spiritual awakening. Prevenient Grace gives the starting point of God’s love reaching out to all of creation.

Justifying Grace is the concept of spiritual awakening or salvation whereby we are made right with God in Christ. In this grace, we are forgiven our sins. In this grace, we claim Jesus Christ as our Savior and commit to follow him as our Lord.

Sanctifying Grace is the concept that we are moving on to becoming more Christ-like in our lives as we seek to follow Jesus as our Lord. Wesley spoke about this as going on to perfection in love for God and our neighbors. When we find forgiveness as an option we are more willing to engage and loving as our primary action, we are operating with the Holy Spirit in Sanctifying Grace. In each of these concepts, we are never alone but partner with God as we journey together in life.

These understandings of grace flow through United Methodist belief and witness. They are reflected in our polity or shared governance and even in the way we offer the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.

Three General Rules

One of the ways United Methodists practice Sanctifying Grace is in the three General Rules of Methodism.

The first rule is “Do No Harm” which is sometimes harder than we would think. This rule is reflected in much of the 10 Commandments such as “do not murder” or “do not steal”. But it is also a commitment to seeking the least amount of harm in a situation where there may be no good options.

The second rule is “Do Good” which is more active in how we engage the world. We seek to leave a place or relationship better than we found it. When we have an opportunity to make a positive difference, we encourage each other to take it!

The third rule is “Strengthen Your Relationship with God” which Wesley called “Attend all the Ordinances of God” and Bishop Job shortened to “Stay in Love with God.” What Wesley meant by this is that we should regularly engage in prayer, study of the scriptures, worship and other spiritual disciplines that help us stay attuned to how God is working in our lives. Attending to this rule actually helps us to be more willing to engage in the first two rules!

Our Doctrine

Get to know more about what makes us different.

The United Methodist Church is a worldwide denomination and we share a covenant in how we govern ourselves known as The Book of Discipline. This document contains our doctrine but also our polity or rules for living as a church. We also have an ongoing document called The Book of Resolutions which provides statements of how our Wesleyan faith speaks to the issues of the day.

The church sends representatives or delegates to gather at General Conference every four years to prayerfully consider how we might improve our witness through these documents. While it is expected that we would adjust our governance according to how the world might better hear it, our doctrine has remained fairly constant since our beginning.

John Wesley introduced a truncated version of the Articles of Religion developed by the Church of England to the fledgling Methodist Episcopal Church (a predecessor denomination of The UMC) in the newly formed United States.

Similarly, we also hold up the Confession of Faith that were the doctrinal statements in the Evangelical United Brethren denomination which was also a predecessor to us.
Both are similar in nature and we continue to interpret these doctrines for the people today to hear and incorporate them into their lives.

Our Polity (How We Are Governed)

The United Methodist Church is connected throughout the world
and organized around neighboring geography.
As mentioned above, its mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ
for the transformation of the world.

The Local Church

The local church is the most significant arena through which this disciple-making occurs. It is organized through the Book of Discipline around the charge conference which is normally the annual meeting held in the fall.
The appointed pastor is the interpreter of our polity for the congregation. Laity serve the church through various committees on a rotating basis.

The District

Groups of local churches that are often closest in proximity are gathered into districts. There is a district superintendent that oversees the ministries in this area and is the interpreter of our polity for the churches in the district.  Our church is in the Crossroads District.

The Annual Conference

Districts are gathered together into annual conferences. Our conference is the Oklahoma Conference. Annual Conferences are overseen by a bishop who is the interpreter of the Book of Discipline for the conference.
Annual Conferences are the “fundamental bodies of the Church” according to our polity. It is through the Annual Conference that we credential our clergy that have been lifted up from our local churches. The Bishop and the district superintendents appoint these clergy to the various churches that make up the Annual Conference.
An equal number of laity offsetting the number of clergy make up the annual conference. Clergy are members due to their status while laity are elected from their local church at the charge conference.

The Jurisdictional Conference

In the United States, Annual Conferences are grouped together to form Jurisdictions (outside the USA, they are called Central Conferences). We have five Jurisdictions in the United States and ours is the South Central Jurisdiction and contains all of the United Methodist churches in the following states: Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Jurisdictions elect bishops to serve from eligible clergy in these areas. A bishop usually serves four years which we commonly call a quadrenium. They may serve an Annual Conference up to 12 years and may also serve more than one Annual Conference simultaneously. All the bishops (active and retired) make up the College of Bishops within the Jurisdiction. Bishops are held accountable to the polity through the College of Bishops as well as the Judicial Council which is similar to the Supreme Court in the United

The General Conference

The world-wide body of United Methodists gather every quadrennium (four years) for General Conference. This is made up of an equal number of clergy and laity that are elected from every Annual
Conference across the world. The General Conference determines polity changes and elects the Judicial Council. Bishops have no vote at General Conference but preside over the total gathered body. The General Conference sets the budget for the upcoming quadrennium.

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