Connectional Table: Our Work
A Call To Action
In the fall of 2009, the Council of Bishops issued a “call to action” seeking a focused, in-depth study of The UMC to understand what concrete changes are needed for a more fruitful future. The Connectional Table partnered with the COB in this process, and after months of research and analysis, the CT and the COB affirmed the Call to Action report. A steering team of leaders from across the denomination oversaw the research done by two outside organizations that provided the data for the team’s final recommendations.
The Call to Action report named a primary adaptive challenge for The United Methodist Church, which is: To redirect the flow of attention, energy, and resources to an intense concentration on fostering and sustaining an increase in the number of vital congregations effective in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This challenge was embraced by the CT and the COB. In 2011, the CT supported an initiative focused on Vital Congregations, a multi-agency effort that continues to support congregations and annual conferences with tools and methods to become more vital in their mission to make disciples. For more information, visit Vital Congregations»
The Connectional Table, together with the Council of Bishops and the United Methodist general agencies, has named four key initiatives to focus the Church’s mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The broad representation of The United Methodist Church at one table led the work summarized below.
These four areas of focus for churchwide ministry are:
- Developing principled Christian leaders for the church and the world. The church must recruit young people for ministry and provide them with the skills necessary to be effective in this new time of opportunity. That includes women and people of color the world over. Similarly, we must offer leadership training for lay people who are in ministry in countless ways.
- Creating new places for new people by starting new congregations and renewing existing ones. If we are to remain faithful to our commitment to transform the world, we will reach out with genuine hospitality to people wherever they are. We will make them feel welcome as we start new faith communities, seek to renew existing ones and inspire faithful discipleship.
- Engaging in ministry with the poor. As an expression of our discipleship, United Methodists seek to alleviate conditions that undermine quality of life and limit the opportunity to flourish as we believe God intends for all. As with John Wesley, we seek to change conditions that are unjust, alienating and disempowering. We engage in ministry with the poor, and in this, we especially want to reach out to and protect children.
- Combating the diseases of poverty by improving health globally. Conditions of poverty cause illness and death. The lack of access to doctors, nurses, medications and appropriate facilities is deadly, especially among those who live in conditions of poverty. But the diseases of poverty are not inevitable. We believe the people of The United Methodist Church can play a significant role in educating others about diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, and treating and preventing their devastating effects.
Focused work on these areas of churchwide ministry have already begun through such initiatives as the Nothing But Nets campaign, a grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, and Path 1, an initiative whose goal is to start new churches in the United States.
As disciples of Jesus Christ and people of The United Methodist Church, we are called both corporately and individually to work toward making this vision reality.
State of the Church Report
Bishop Hopkins planted the seed for a “State of the Church” report at the first Connectional Table meeting. In subsequent meetings, the Connectional Table affirmed that it needed to hear comprehensively from clergy and laity across the worldwide church. Thus, the idea of an ongoing conversation was born. The Martec Group was commissioned by the Connectional Table to conduct a major research project.
Learn more about the State of the Church research
Revisioning the Body of Christ as a Worldwide Church
During the 2004-2008 quadrennium, the Council of Bishops and the Connectional Table initiated a joint task group to study the nature of our United Methodist relationships throughout the world and determine how we might live more justly as a worldwide church. They found that General Conferences have struggled for forty years with the relationship between the church in the United States and the church in other parts of the world.
The 2008 General Conference supported the changes proposed by the CT and Council of Bishops. A 20-person design team will be recruited to begin working during the 2009-2012 quadrennium to propose a reorganization of The United Methodist Church toward a more equitable worldwide structure.
A key role of the Connectional Table is partnering with the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) and the general agencies to reach agreement on budgeted apportionments. Members of the CT and GCFA work together to hear budget reports, proposals and recommendations.
The Connectional Table serves as the administrator of the World Service Contingency Funds earmarked to resource new, unplanned programs decided by the General Conference or other emerging ministries during the quadrennium. In addition, the CT reviews and evaluates the missional effectiveness of general program-related agencies and commissions as they seek to aid annual conferences and local churches in fulfilling the mission of The United Methodist Church. Lastly, as a learning community, the CT has agreed to engage in self-evaluation throughout the quadrennium in order to provide effective, quality service within and for the United Methodist Church.