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Vision for The Connectional Table: A Vital Connection


Our Core Values: Essential Functions Boiled Down

  • Build Relationships: That strengthen The UMC as part of the Body of Christ
  • Crossing Bridges: Across the UM Connection
  • Connect Strategies: For greater impact on the mission
  • Connect the Story: For inspiring transformation in Christ throughout the world

What’s in a Name: The Connectional Table
Barriers to ‘Defining’ the Connectional Table:

  • Language: No word or phrase for “Connectional Table” in some languages.
  • Conceptual: Try explaining the CT to a clergy or lay person in a local church.

Book of Discipline

  • “...where ministry and money are brought to the same table to coordinate the mission, ministries, and resources of The United Methodist Church.” (¶901)
  • “To provide a forum for the understanding and implementation of the vision, mission, and ministries of the global church as determined in consultation with the Council of Bishops and/or the actions of the General Conference.” (¶905.1, Essential Function #1)

Current Membership
59 Members, consisting of:

  • 7 Central Conference Members (Non-U.S.)
  • 21 Jurisdictional Members (U.S.)
  • 2 Episcopal Leaders appointed by COB (U.S.)
  • 2 Division on Ministries with Young People (Often U.S.)
  • 5 Ethnic Caucuses (U.S.)
  • 10 Presidents of General Agencies (U.S.)
  • 11 General Secretaries (Predominantly U.S.)
  • 1 Executive Secretary (U.S.)

Approximately 91% of CT Membership is from the U.S.

  • Inherited from the “Program Council” (1972 from EUB) and “The General Council on Ministries”
  • Reflect a primarily U.S.-centric context
    • Aimed at programmatic areas: Holding General Agencies accountable, not concerned about the worldwide connection

Vision for the Connectional Table by GC 2020: 
“A General Church Council”

Global Membership
Geographically representative, intergenerational body exemplifying the diversity of our worldwide connection


  1. Build trust in three primary relationships:
  • General Conference: Partnership with Commission on General Conference
  • Annual Conferences: Active bishops and directors of connectional ministries
  • General Agencies
    • Program-related agencies through World Service stewardship
    • Administrative agencies through stewardship of mission and vision alignment
  1. Guide: A uniquely Wesleyan/spiritual connection
  2. Create: An open-handed/permission-giving culture
  • Enable “new things” by fostering creativity and enhancing ministry at all levels of the church
  • Giving up the need to control or micromanage, set people free to create mission and ministry
  • Provide a forum for conversations with key constituents within our primary partnerships
  • Develop legislation for a General Church Council to accompany the General Book of Discipline in 2020
    • Membership/makeup of the General Church Council
    • Name essential functions
    • Set a timeline for implementation

This proposal offers a process that helps our denomination achieve its mission in an increasingly interconnected, diverse, worldwide context. The CT’s work this quadrennium has begun to raise these issues.  The church, however, continues to struggle in knowing what we are aiming for. It is therefore difficult to know how best to organize this work.

We recommend maintaining our current structure and spending the next quadrennium (2016-2020) focused on developing a structure that will model our worldwide connection more faithfully.

Approved by the Connectional Table on May 18, 2015.

Download General Church Council Proposal (PDF)»