The United Methodist Church is a 12.8-million-strong global church (the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States) that opens hearts, opens minds, and opens doors through active engagement with our world.
The United Methodist Church was formed when the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged in 1968. But we trace our heritage back to the movement begun in 1729 in England by John and Charles Wesley.
John Wesley 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.
Below, you will find a brief list of some of the distinctive characteristics of our denomination.
- Global: Today we speak many languages and live in many countries—with different cultures, ethnic traditions, national histories, and understandings of Christian faith and practice.
- Connectional: Every United Methodist congregation is interconnected throughout the denomination via a unique, interlocking chain of conferences. The United Methodist Church practices representative democracy in its governance. Conferences elect delegates who are authorized to act and vote.
Learn more about our structure.
- Inclusive: All persons are welcome to attend our churches and receive Holy Communion, and are eligible to be baptized and become members.
- Grounded in Scripture: United Methodist trust free inquiry in matters of Christian doctrine. Our faith is guided by Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason. Of paramount importance, however, is Scripture as the witness of God’s creating, redeeming, and sustaining relationship with God’s people.
Learn more about our basic beliefs.
- Wesleyan: The United Methodist Church has a Wesleyan heritage, and as such, places an emphasis on mind and heart (knowledge and vital piety) and putting faith and love into practice (life).
Find out more about our Wesleyan heritage.
- Concerned about social justice: For more than 200 years, The United Methodist Church and its predecessor bodies have expressed concern for God’s children everywhere — the poor, the orphaned, the aging, the sick, the oppressed, and the imprisoned.
Learn more about our mission and ministry.
- Mission-oriented: Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. In uncomplicated terms, this means we strive to nurture followers of Christ who then reach out and teach others about the love of Jesus.
Find out about our mission around the world.
- Ecumenical: United Methodists consider dialogue and missional cooperation between United Methodists and other Christians as a valid witness to the unity of the body of Christ.
Learn about our ecumenical and inter-religious relationships.