It is primarily at the level of the charge consisting of one or more local churches that the church encounters the world. The local church is a strategic base from which Christians move out to the structures of society…Therefore, the local church is to minister to persons in the community where the church is located…to cooperate in ministry with other local churches…and to participate in the worldwide mission of the church... (2016 Book of Discipline)
Most individuals have their initial contact with the denomination in the local church. Local church members are also part of a larger connection that includes their annual conference, jurisdiction, the General Church, and churches and annual conferences around the world.
The Book of Discipline outlines rules and organization that local churches must follow providing ample room for a local church to adapt its distinctive ministries and mission to the needs, circumstances, and culture of its congregation and the local community.