Our Church & Denomination

STRUCTURE

First United Methodist Church, Georgetown is a member of the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Church does not have a central headquarters or a single executive leader. Duties are divided among bodies that include the General Conference, the Council of Bishops and the Judicial Council. 

In the United States of America, The United Methodist Church is divided into five areas known as jurisdictions: Northeastern, Southeastern, North Central, South Central and Western.  Each jurisdiction is composed of several "conferences" which include multiple "districts".  These jurisdictions provide program and leadership training events to support the annual conferences and the conferences elect bishops to provide oversight to the ministry and missions of the church and conference.  

The South Central Jurisdiction includes Texas and seven other south, central states.  Within the South Central Jurisdiction, there are several conferences across these 8 states. Multiple districts make up each conference. Our church is a member of the Central Texas Conference in the South District.

The structure and organization of the United Methodist Church is connectional in nature.   This reflects our intention of inclusion - that all voices are represented around the table and are heard in the conversation about the mission and ministry of our church.

 

Our Bishop

Our bishop, Bishop Mike Lowry leads the Central Texas Conference and recently conducted a laity event in nearby Salado, attended by clergy and laity from across the conference.  His presentation focused on "The New Church the Holy Spirit is Calling Us Into Being."   

It is keenly observed we are on the cusp of something new.  The bishop recalled Bishop Dyer's famous observation "that the only way to understand what is happening to us as twenty-first century Christians in North America is first to understand that every five hundred years the Church feels compelled to hold a giant rummage sale." (from The Great Emergence by Phyllis Tickle, p. 16)

He further calls out from Tickle's book, three changes or transformations that start to happen:

  1. A new, more vital form of Christianity emerges
  2. The organized expression of Christianity (form and culture) is reconstituted "into a pure and less ossified expression of its former self."
  3. The faith has spread into new "geographic and demographic areas"

And here is the evidence he sees:

  • Risk-taking is on the rise
  • Rising interest in spiritual formation and discernment
  • Hands-on mission engagement is the norm, in greater ways than ever before
  • The question has changed from "are you starting new faith communities?" to "when and how are you starting new faith communities?"
  • We are seeing bright spots in evangelistic engagement
  • We are beginning to grapple with discipleship over membership
  • Multiple Conferences are experimenting with a variety of ministries and innovative ways of structuring for ministry
  • Attempts at accountability are on the rise
  • Longer appointments
  • The Cabinet is partnering with Senior Pastors in the appointment of associate Pastors in new and experimental ways
  • The days of subsidy are over

The Holy Spirit's shaping is bringing about these characteristics of disciples:

  1. Deep Discipleship
  2. Diversity of Culture
  3. Evangelism/Witness/Faith-Sharing
  4. Missionally Engaged

Visit this link for the full presentation if you were not able to attend and would like to learn more of his thoughts on this important topic.  You can also learn more on his vision by visiting his blog

 

Other important resources

At the United Methodist Church you can learn more about the basics of our faith: Who We Are, What We Believe, How We Serve.

Central Texas Conference covers church growth and evangelism, leadership, mission support and administration.

Cokesbury is our key store of resources for the faith journey.

The Upper Room is our world-wide guide for devotions, published on an ongoing basis.  It includes a scripture, meditation, prayer and thought for each day of the year.

 

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