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Members of the Virginia delegation huddle to discuss possible next steps after the United Methodist Judicial Council ruled the proposed

Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Members of the Virginia delegation discuss possible next steps after the United Methodist Judicial Council ruled the proposed "Plan UMC" for church restructuring to be unconstitutional during 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Florida.

Four easy ways to connect your local church to General Conference


By Diane Degnan*

As a General Conference delegate, you will have the opportunity to connect with other United Methodists around the world in ways that your brothers and sisters throughout the denomination may never experience.

So how can you make folks at a home a part of the global gathering of United Methodists coming together to worship, to pray, to deliberate, and to make decisions on behalf of the church?

It’s up to you to let others know what General Conference means to all United Methodists -- but with everything else on your plate, one more responsibility makes it that much more difficult to maintain your life balance.

We provide some tangible ways that local congregations can make the connection with the global church. Share these resources and help bring the experience alive for everyone else. 

Learn at home

One way to get people interested in General Conference is to help them understand why it matters. Encourage them to take “Exploring General Conference,” a free online course provided by United Methodist Communications that outlines how General Conference functions and how the work of the body touches United Methodists everywhere. Participants can delve into the self-directed ongoing session at their own pace. Quizzes and discussion forums moderated by facilitators provide opportunities for learners to take part.

Be social

The reach of social media has grown immensely, as well as the variety of communications channels and the ease of using them. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels will play a key communications role leading up to and during the event. It's as simple as ABC to reshare content from the official General Conference social channels through your church's social accounts or your own. Follow, and, then share away with just a click.

A one-stop destination

Before, during and after General Conference, is the central hub for information, from announcements to interesting videos to news stories to legislative petitions. It’s a snap to share, email or print content on the site. Plus, visitors to the site can watch the actual proceedings via streaming video on the website.

On the go

Available later this month from United Methodist Communications will be a newly redesigned General Conference mobile app. Anyone with an iPhone or Android  smartphone or iPad can download a free application that gives them mobile access to General Conference information. The app will feature news, photo and social media feeds, video and audio archives, live streaming and legislative tracking. Just search for “United Methodist General Conference” in your app store or visit the website for a link.

General Conference is a time to tell the church’s story and to show how we as a denomination and citizens of the world make decisions with and for one another. Work closely with your annual conference’s communications director to discuss other ways you can bring General Conference home to local churches in the most effective way.

Visit Resouces for General Conference Delegates for other General Conference resources.

*Diane Degnan is Director of Public Relations at United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tennessee.