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As you begin talking about General Conference, some members will need a refresher on the structure of the church. This foundational knowledge equips them to better understand what General Conference is and how its work functions within the denomination. It's also important to explore why it is meeting in February and focusing on one topic outside of the normal quadrennial multi-issue session.
The best place to learn more about the structure of The United Methodist Church is the church's official website.
There have been, and will continue to be, many voices in conversation around General Conference. Engaging in that conversation is healthy, but it is also important to give members the tools they need to evaluate news sources and understand who has authority to speak for The United Methodist Church.
To be clear, General Conference is the primary legislative body of The United Methodist Church. It is the only body that officially speaks for the church. Everything else is commentary on the work of the General Conference.
In addition to clarifying who speaks for the church, Discipleship Ministries has a useful Courageous Conversations resource that provides structure for deep conversations and introduces a safe method for discussing difficult or divisive topics. Similarly, United Methodist Communications has aggregated conversation models from agencies and annual conferences that will help you through difficult conversations.
Once General Conference begins, you can use a host of tools to stay current on what has transpired without being there in person.
A livestream will be available and information about times and links will be shared closer to May.
Ask the UMC will continue to field questions during General Conference.
Whichever tools you use, we hope everyone will continue to pray for the work of the General Conference and the future of The United Methodist Church as we seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.