Theology shapes who we are and how we organize to transform the world. Especially written for required United Methodist classes, this accessible book uses a Wesleyan theological frame—connection—to help readers understand United Methodism’s polity and organization as the interrelationship of our beliefs, mission, and practice. The book is organized into four parts—United Methodist beliefs, mission, practice, and organization. Polity and organization are primary embodiments of The United Methodist Church. Functional in nature, these aspects of the denomination facilitate our mission to make disciples for the transformation of the world. This book connects denominational governance and organization to our beliefs as well as our mission. A clear understanding of our identity—as Methodists with Wesleyan roots in connection—and our purpose—to make disciples for the transformation of the world—can help students of United Methodism navigate this treacherous landscape as present and future leaders. Warner also addresses the estrangement between theology and institutional structures and practice by framing governance practices and organizational structure within a Wesleyan theology of connection. This approach will assist current and future denominational leaders in understanding their practices of administration and participation in polity as a theological endeavor and key component of their ministries.
This textbook has been updated with changes from the 2016 General Conference.
"Dr. Warner's book is a timely and helpful map for the territory of United Methodist life. She shares a deep understanding of the braided relationship between our mission, doctrine and polity. I appreciate how she links our Methodist history and mission with our current practice in ways that help the reader exclaim, 'I see how this makes sense.' And equally important, Dr. Warner shows us how our past decisions have shaped the questions we face now and in the future.This book is a gift to The United Methodist Church."
--Kim Cape, General Secretary of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, The United Methodist Church
"Laceye Warner brings together the fruits of decades of Wesleyan scholarship to show the ways in which organization and administration are part of a theological endeavor. She describes the many deep connections between United Methodist polity, doctrine, and mission. This coherent narrative helpfully weaves together the various strands of United Methodist organization."
--Scott J. Jones, Bishop, Great Plains Area, The United Methodist Church
"With wisdom and clarity, Laceye Warner helps us understand and embrace United Methodist doctrine, policy and discipline as embodiment of our uniquely Wesleyan faith and theology. Our methods have meaning, and this is a concise, accessible and indispensable guide for all who seek to lead The United Methodist Church in Christ's mission in the world."
-- Hope Morgan Ward, Bishop, North Carolina Conference, The United Methodist Church