The Structure of our Church
The Evangelical Methodist Church utilizes a congregational and connectional form of church government.
All local congregations affiliated with the Evangelical Methodist Church operate under the Discipline of the Evangelical Methodist Church. This Discipline contains the Constitution and By Laws adopted by all the local churches affiliated with the denomination. All the churches in the United States are in the United States District of the North American Conference. They all meet each year at one of two gatherings called Journey East and Journey West. All the churches in a certain geographical location are called a “Region” All the churches of a Region are encouraged to do as many ministries and activities as they can together.
All the churches of the denomination meet together at a specified location every 4 years and this is called the General Conference. The General Conference is made up of ministers and lay delegates from all the local churches affiliated with the church. They meet to discuss matters of general interest to the denomination.
The local church is also connectional in that it sets up its organization the same as all the other local Evangelical Methodist Churches across the nation. Basically, the local church has two Boards and then various committees which then operate the church.
Board of Stewards: This Board is composed of three or more members elected by the congregation. They are charged with the responsibility of carrying out the programs and business of the church and along with the pastor ensuring that Biblical teaching and integrity is being exercised by the other leaders of the church in their programs and ministries.
Board of Trustees: This Board is composed of three to nine members who are empowered under state laws of incorporation to:
1. Hold title to all church property, accept bequests, endowments, and such other valuables as the church may acquire, except the tithes and offerings of the regular church budget, and then administer the same in accordance with the wishes of the donor.
2. Transact all legal business of the Church as it pertains to property as directed and authorized by the local church.
Committees: In addition to the two boards, the local church is composed of various committees that help to provide oversight on matters relating to the administration and operation of the church.
The local church is congregational in two main ways:
1. Property: Property rights are vested, with respect to ownership and maintenance, in the local church and held in trust to the local church by the trustees of the local church. The Discipline explains other items in relation to property rights and also the guidelines for the local church and trustees in handling church property matters.
2. The Calling of a Pastor: The choice of a pastor is vested with the local church for its final authority, subject to the Discipline as authorized and declared by the General Conference. The local church can solicit names from the District Superintendents who are EMC Credential holders or who are persuing EMC credentials. The responsibility for finding pastoral candidates for a local church is the responsibility of the local church’s Pastoral Relations Committee. The forming and responsibility of this committee is to be found in the Discipline.
*** Terms You May Be More Familiar With And How They Compare:
Stewards = Deacons, Elders, Church Council — Local Evangelical Methodist Churches has a Board of Stewards and may also have Deacons, Elders, or other designated ministries.
Lay Delegates = Messengers, Representatives, Lay Minister, etc.
Journey East/West = Annual Meeting.
General Conference = Generally every 4 years, Denominational Gathering, etc.