The Future of Methodism – Realigning Methodists

June 2, 2022

A recent article by the Associated Press had the headline United Methodist bishops acknowledge breakup is imminent. It’s true that hundreds of churches in the United Methodist Church (UMC) will be leaving over the next year. The question is what will they be leaving to?

I wanted to have a page I could keep straight in my mind all the options out there. Here is a list of my predicted most likely landed spots.

#1 The Global Methodist Church

The majority of churches that leave the UMC and join another denomination will join the Global Methodist Church (GMC). The Global Methodist Church was started on May 1st. It is similar in theology to the United Methodist Church. The largest difference will be in the accountability of clergy and bishops. There are other significant differences however.

You can view this video where I interview Jay Hanson. Jay in on the Transitional Leadership Team of the Global Methodist Church

#2 Become an Independent Church

Many churches will become an independent church with a Wesleyan Theology. They may join another group later on. There could be more churches that become independent that actually join an official denomination. Large churches like The Porch Community Church in Valdosta, GA and Christ Church in Fairview Heights, IL have decided to independent.

Christ Church has a great video on what it means to be an independent church.

#3 The Free Methodist Church

One of the largest UMCs in Alabama, Frazier Memorial announced they were leaving the UMC and joining the Free Methodist Church.

Here is what Encyclopedia Britannica has to say about the Free Methodist:

Free Methodist Church of North America, also known as Free Methodist Church USA, Holiness church in the Arminian-Wesleyan tradition that emphasizes the doctrine of sanctification, a post-conversion process of spiritual and moral growth through prayer, Bible study, interaction with fellow believers, and simplicity of worship and lifestyle. The church was organized in 1860 by the Rev. B.T. Roberts and several associates after they were expelled from the Methodist Episcopal Church, which they had criticized for not maintaining the original standards of Methodism. 

#4 Wesleyan Church

From their website:

The Wesleyan Church is the result of an 18th-century revival, two 19th-century movements, and a 20th-century merger . . . strong roots which sustain a 21st-century vision for spiritual transformation across North America and around the world.

In 1843, when the silence of America’s churches on the issue of slavery was deafening, a new denomination arose – an abolitionist denomination. Led by Orange Scott, the Wesleyan Methodists called for an immediate end to slavery. Wesleyans even planted anti-slavery churches in the South before the Civil War and were active in the Underground Railroad as well.”

12 Stone Church is a large Wesleyan Church in Lawrenceville, GA

#5 Anglican Church of North America

The Anglican Church of North America was formed out of the Episcopal Church in the USA in 2009. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was an Anglican Priest in England.

Popular authors like Winfield Bevins have added value to many Wesleyan pastors across denominational lines. I am sure some will look at what it means to align with Anglican Church in North America.

Honorable Mentions

There are a few dozen other denominations someone could pick from. I imagine it may come down to having prior relationships to individuals in these denominations that may make them attractive. These may not be likely but I would not be shocked to hear of a church aligning with these denominations.

  1. The Church of the Nazarene
  2. African Methodist Episcopal
  3. International Fellowship of Bible Churches
  4. The Church of God (Anderson, IN)

So if your church is changing, what will your new church’s name be? I actually wrote about that. You can read it here.

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