Petition 81384

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Guide to Book of Discipline (81384-FA-NonDis)

  Whereas there is general confusion among the laity as to the polity of the United Methodist Church;  

  • Whereas scripture addresses the necessity to adequately train, disciple and fully equip all persons, including laity, for the work of the ministry;
  • Whereas Methodist tradition has always sought to teach, direct, and train laypersons the practical applications of service and ministry;
  • Whereas reason itself would lead us to believe a simple summary of what constitutes the United Methodist Church, including its polity and disciplines, would go a long way in correcting misunderstandings and misconceptions that cause derisions;
  • Whereas experience has shown that, an informed layperson is more apt to participate in connectional ministries, if they understand to what they are connecting;
  • Whereas various series of commercial books ( i.e. Cliff notes, The Armchair series, and The Idiot’s Guide series) have made technical and complex subjects for persons with little technical knowledge or ability to speak the jargon of these disciplines;
  • Whereas there are several books already available through Cokesbury on our history, doctrines, and social principles;
  • Whereas a curriculum, made available through Cokesbury, would give opportunity for all United Methodist to have a basic understanding of our church and it’s polity;
  • Whereas the value of The Book of Discipline is well established, yet unread by the general church;
        I propose that an easily read, layperson friendly, supplemental version of The United Methodist Book of Discipline to commissioned by this General Conference. This work should be a summary of our constitution, doctrine and polity. It should be an official part of the basic training process for newly licensed pastors.  This would also greatly enhance disciple making. This supplemental tool should also be available for lay leadership and new ministerial candidate training.


    A summary version of our constitution/polity found in The Discipline will increase laity and newly licensed pastor’s knowledge and appreciation of what it means to be United Methodist. Laity will only read it, if they can understand it. They will participate when they see why we do what we do.