General Conference

As the primary legislative body, General Conference is the only entity with the authority to speak on behalf of the entire United Methodist Church. The General Conference meets every four years to consider the business and mission of the church. An equal number of lay and clergy delegates are elected from United Methodist bodies around the world to decide matters of policy and procedure for the denomination.

Jurisdictional Conference

There are five geographic jurisdictions, or regions, in the United States, which are comprised of eight to fifteen annual conferences each.

Central Conferences

In Africa, Europe and the Philippines, there are seven geographical regions, called “central conferences.”

Annual Conferences

The annual conference is a geographical region (comprising districts), an organizational body (made up of elected lay and clergy members), and a yearly meeting.


Each congregation in the United States is part of a district, which is an administrative grouping of approximately 40 to 80 churches in a geographic area.

Charge Conferences and Local Churches

As the visible presence or body of Christ, the local church is the place where members grow in faith and discipleship, putting their faith into action through ministry in the world.