What We Believe

Our Christian Heritage
United Methodists share a common heritage with all Christians. According to our foundational statement of beliefs in The Book of Discipline, we share the following basic affirmations in common with all Christian communities:

When we say the Apostles’ Creed, we join with millions of Christians through the ages in an understanding of God as a Trinity—three persons in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From early in our Judaic roots we’ve affirmed that God is one and indivisible, yet God is revealed in three distinct ways. “God in three persons, blessed Trinity” is one way of speaking about the several ways we experience God. Read more.

Our Faith Journey
Faith is the basic orientation and commitment of our whole being—a matter of heart and soul. Christian faith is grounding our lives in the living God as revealed especially in Jesus Christ. It’s both a gift we receive within the Christian community and a choice we make. It’s trusting in God and relying on God as the source and destiny of our lives. Faith is believing in God, giving God our devoted loyalty and allegiance. Faith is following Jesus, answering the call to be his disciples in the world. Faith is hoping for God’s future, leaning into the coming kingdom that God has promised. Faith-as-belief is active; it involves trusting, believing, following, hoping. Read more.

Our Foundational Documents
Just as creeds such as the Apostles’ Creed summarize the belief of all Christians, the Articles of Religion of The Methodist Church and the Confessions of Faith of The Evangelical United Brethren Church form a foundation of doctrine for United Methodists. They, along with Wesley’s Sermons on Several Occasions and Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament, are “standards” of doctrine for United Methodists. Read more.

Our Wesleyan Heritage
Wesley and the early Methodists were particularly concerned about inviting people to experience God’s grace and to grow in their knowledge and love of God through disciplined Christian living. They placed primary emphasis on Christian living, on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesley referred to as “practical divinity” has continued to be a hallmark of United Methodism today.

The distinctive shape of our theological heritage can be seen not only in this emphasis on Christian living, but also in Wesley’s distinctive understanding of God’s saving grace. Although Wesley shared with many other Christians a belief in salvation by grace, he combined them in a powerful way to create distinctive emphases for living the full Christian life. Read more.

Sacraments
With many other Protestants, we recognize the two sacraments in which Christ himself participated: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

Baptism
• Through baptism we are joined with the church and with Christians everywhere.
• Baptism is a symbol of new life and a sign of God’s love and forgiveness of our sins.
• Persons of any age can be baptized.
• We baptize by sprinkling, immersion or pouring.
• A person receives the sacrament of baptism only once in his or her life.

Read baptism.

The Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion, Eucharist)
• The Lord’s Supper is a holy meal of bread and wine that symbolizes the body and blood of Christ.
• The Lord’s Supper recalls the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and celebrates the unity of all the members of God’s family.
• By sharing this meal, we give thanks for Christ’s sacrifice and are nourished and empowered to go into the world in mission and ministry.
• We practice “open communion,” welcoming all who love Christ, repent of their sin, and seek to live in peace with one another.

Read more about communion.
Read This Holy Mystery, the church’s official statement on communion.
Read questions and answers about communion.
Communion Resources

Our Offering of Service

The United Methodist Church Website
Our official church website, www.umc.org, is an excellent online resource for in-depth discovery of our beliefs, accomplishments, and goals.

How We Serve
The Four Areas of Focus express the vision and yearnings of the people of The United Methodist Church. Narrowing our focus to these four areas allows churches to use their resources effectively as they live out God’s vision for the church.
Engaging in Ministry With the Poor
Improving Global Health
Developing Principled Christian Leaders
Creating New and Renewed Congregations

General Board of Global Ministries
The General Board of Global Ministries is the global mission agency of The United Methodist Church, its annual conferences, missionary conferences, and local congregations. Read more.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to alleviating human suffering around the globe. UMCOR’s work reaches people in more than 80 countries, including the United States. We provide humanitarian relief when war, conflict, or natural disaster disrupt life to such an extent that communities are unable to recover on their own.