United Methodist Beliefs

The Basics of Our Faith: More Resources from The United Methodist ChurchThe mission statement of The United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Since its beginnings in 1729, United Methodists have embraced the idea of “the ministry of all believers.” While pastors lead the churches, every United Methodist member is in ministry, supporting Christ and the church with their prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.

Following the example of their founder, John Wesley, United Methodists believe in “practical divinity,” combining faith with social action in profound and meaningful ways. Like other Christians, we believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and that each person is created in the image of God. United Methodists believe the church is an extension of Christ’s life and ministry in the world today.

United Methodists are distinct in their emphasis on Christian living. We are noted for putting love into action. We embrace grace as the love and mercy given freely to people by God. While the church is governed by a Book of Discipline and guided by Social Principles, many United Methodists do not agree on some of the most pressing social issues of the day. This diversity of thought is often one of the church’s greatest strengths.

To help explore these differences in theology and ways of thinking about God, United Methodists look first to the Bible, then to illumination by tradition, enlivening by experience, and confirmation by reason. We also follow three general rules: do no harm by avoiding evil; do good of every possible sort; obey God by seeking wisdom and justice, and correcting oppression. For United Methodists, church is not a building, nor an event on Sunday morning. Church is a way of life.

  • Learn more about United Methodist beliefs.
  • Learn more about the founder of Methodism, John Wesley.
  • Read more about our distinctive Wesleyan heritage.
  • Connect to the main United Methodist website.
  • Read what's happening now in The United Methodist Church.
  • Read what's happening now in the Baltimore-Washington Conference.