Talking With Your Congregation

With growing media coverage and ongoing discussion regarding the future of The United Methodist Church, members of a congregation might have lots of questions about the upcoming General Conference. 

This gathering of more than 820 delegates from around the world will make important decisions regarding the future of the denomination.

On this page, you'll find information to help you and your congregation better understand the church's legislative processes and how to foster holy conferencing as you and your church discuss the topics that will be decided during General Conference.

Issue Guide

The Great Plains Conference has developed an issue guide to help clergy and congregations in a time of ecclesial discernment and possible restructuring in light of the eventual decisions of the General Conference. The purpose is to provide a tool for creating respectful, structured, and productive space for listening and sharing, praying and discerning. Download the guide.


What Is General Conference?

Courageous Conversations

The resources below mostly deal with the denomination's conversations involving human sexuality but can be adapted for more general conversations:

  • Overview — Read an overview about courageous conversations
    • Download a pamphlet to help you learn skills and trust in the transforming presence of God’s grace that is available to us all as we engage in courageous conversations.
  • Helping Your Congregation Get Ready for General Conference — This article provides tips for starting the conversation and contains links to more resources on topics such as:
    • Building trust.
    • Maintaining a focus on discipleship.
    • Urging congregations to continue their stewardship.
  • Tools to Process with Youth — This article provides resources, including a basic outline to aid in the creation of a safe space for conversation.
  • Communicating with Older Adults — Learn tips that may help you bridge generational gaps.
  • Debate vs. Dialogue — See how dialogue fosters understanding while debate can lead to animosity.
  • Facilitator Guide — Learn some tips for helping your small group gain the most from the experience.
  • Listening Across Differences — Bishop Ken Carter shares thoughts on the many responses people have on the subject of human sexuality within the church.
  • Helping A Congregation Heal — Based on developments after the 2019 special session of General Conference, this article shares how can congregants who disagree internally prepare to continue to serve in ministry together and offer Christian love to all?
  • Talking and Listening — Churches that are creating settings for people to engage in meaningful dialogue about sensitive topics can benefit from the strategies of others already active in the process. 
  • Rituals for Difficult Conversations — Here are some resources for liturgies and prayers for worship before, during or after a conversation.
  • Reflections on Managing Conflict — This document from the Oklahoma Conference provides some starting points for guidelines you may find helpful for conversations.
  • Getting Your Spirit in Shape: Disagreeing Well — This podcast explores how to get out of our "echo chambers" so we can listen and talk to those with whom we disagree.