By Keith Boyette
Since the Global Methodist Church launched on May 1, 2022, we have received member congregations in Eurasia, the Philippines, and the United States. Other congregations in Africa, Latin America, and Asia are in the process of becoming members. Hundreds of clergy have been received into membership, some of whom were previously licensed local pastors but who are now ordained as deacons or elders. Provisional annual conferences have formed and are operating in Bulgaria and South Georgia in the United States. Others are on the verge of beginning operations before the end of the year. We are registering the denomination in a number of countries around the world.
The new denomination is tax-exempt in the U.S. and has clergy enrolled in its retirement plan and able to participate in a life and disability insurance program immediately and a health insurance program as of January 1, 2023. The GM Church has appointed clergy to serve local churches, including deploying clergy to churches that needed a pastor. It has also planted local churches.
The list of accomplishments, all for the glory of God, grows by the day. Yet some persist in saying the GM Church is only a website or that it is not yet formed. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When the denomination began operations on May 1, we knew the process of clergy and churches aligning with the GM Church would take time. In fact, we anticipated clergy and churches would align in waves with the first wave being relatively small. The complex, cumbersome, and expensive process navigated by churches withdrawing from The United Methodist Church meant many churches would not be free to align until their annual conferences held regular or special sessions to approve their withdrawals. Now, some of those special UM annual conferences are being convened late this summer and later this fall.
In the coming months, thousands of local churches will be approved for withdrawal from the UM Church. And we are confident a significant percentage of them will align with the GM Church, adding a wave of new members.
Our staff, led by the Rev. Angela Pleasants, Clergy and Church Relations Director, is currently processing hundreds of applications from clergy and churches to be approved as members of the GM Church. The process of applying is simple and straight-forward. There are no costs associated with becoming a member congregation of the new denomination. And when a local church does join, it is not subject to any trust clause and no denominational liens are placed on the church’s property (see ¶ 902 of the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline).
Current UM churches and clergy do not have to wait until completion of the UM withdrawal process to apply for membership in the GM Church. The Transitional Leadership Council (TLC) of the GM Church will approve your membership application as a church or clergy in advance of your withdrawal from the UM Church with an effective date that coincides with the date of withdrawal. By being approved in advance, you will be certain that your membership has been approved and immediately benefit from your new alignment.
Local churches can adopt a motion to become a member of the GM Church at the same congregational meeting where a vote is taken to disaffiliate from the UM Church. In order to request alignment with the denomination, the persons present and voting at the congregational meeting must adopt the following motion:
“I move that _____________ Church become a member congregation of the Global Methodist Church, that it affirms and endorses the doctrinal standards (Part One), Social Witness (Part Two), and church governance of the Global Methodist Church as set forth in its Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline, and agrees to be accountable to such standards, witness, and governance. Our leadership and trustees are authorized to take all actions necessary to implement this motion.”
The presiding officer and secretary of the congregational meeting then forwards the signed minutes of the meeting to firstname.lastname@example.org. Usually, the TLC votes to approve the membership of a congregation within two weeks of submission of its minutes.
Importantly, these minutes can be submitted as soon as the vote to align occurs and the TLC will approve the local church’s membership to be effective as of the local church’s withdrawal from the UM Church.
Likewise, persons desiring to be clergy members of the GM Church may file their application well in advance of the date on which they desire such membership to be effective. The TLC, upon completion of the review process, will approve the application and recognize the person as an ordained pastor in the GM Church. A subsequent effective date can be specified by the clergy person to ensure that a transition occurs consistent with the local church they are serving and that is also aligning with the GM Church.
We strongly encourage both local churches and pastors to take advantage of applying for advance approval of both the church and clergy membership to facilitate a smooth transition into the GM Church.
The process of leaving the UM Church is governed by secular law and the procedures adopted by the UM Church. However, those procedures, including the decisions of the Judicial Council of the UM Church, have nothing to do with the process of clergy and local churches joining the GM Church.
We are excited about the many local churches around the world that are on their way to the GM Church. We rejoice with those that are already members of the GM Church, and who are joyfully making disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly.
The Rev. Keith Boyette is the Transitional Connectional Officer of the Global Methodist Church, its chief executive and administrative officer.