Conservative alternative to the United Methodist Church surpasses 4,200 member congregations

By The Christian Post |
Methodist Church
Karl Fredrickson / Unsplash

A theologically conservative denomination that was launched in 2022 to serve as an alternative to the United Methodist Church has already garnered over 4,200 member congregations.

The Global Methodist Church, which was officially launched on May 1, 2022, ended 2023 with 4,281 member churches, according to GMC Transitional Connectional Officer Keith Boyette.

In brief comments given to The Christian Post on Wednesday, Boyette explained that while most of the GMC’s churches were formerly UMC, there are congregations of different origins.

“The current member congregations are predominately former UMC congregations, but we do have member congregations that have come from other denominations, or who were previously nondenominational or independent, or that are new church plants that have already been recognized as member congregations,” he explained.

Additionally, Boyette told CP that there are still UMC churches “both within and outside the U.S.” that are trying to affiliate with the GMC, with him expecting more to join following UMC General Conference, which is slated to take place April 23 to May 3 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Over the past few decades, the UMC has dealt with a divisive debate over whether to change its Book of Discipline to allow for the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of people in same-sex romantic relationships.

Efforts to change the Book of Discipline have always failed at the General Conference level, in large part due to the voting power of mostly theologically conservative delegates from Africa.

Despite this, many theological liberals within the UMC have actively refused to follow or enforce the rules by officiating same-sex unions or ordaining openly gay clergy.

For example, in November 2022, the UMC Western Jurisdiction voted to make the Rev. Cedrick D. Bridgeforth of the California-Pacific Conference a bishop, even though he is in a same-sex marriage.

At a special session of UMC General Conference held in February 2019, delegates voted to add Paragraph 2553 to the Book of Discipline, which created a temporary process for congregations to disaffiliate from the UMC due to the debate over homosexuality.

According to numbers compiled by UM News and accessed by CP on Wednesday, 7,660 congregations left the UMC from 2019 to 2023, with more than 5,600 voting to disaffiliate last year alone.

The provisions of Paragraph 2553 expired at the end of 2023.

The GMC is not the only denomination that has been created in response to the thousands of congregations that have voted to leave the UMC since 2019.

White’s Chapel, a Texas megachurch that left the UMC in 2022 and identifies as theologically centrist, launched its own network of churches known as the Methodist Collegiate Church. 

Originally published by The Christian Post