Our approach to managing our money, the traits we prize in others, our way of handling conflict, our weekend calendars: all these things are formed by the people and institutions that shape us. As we mature in our relationships with people and institutions, part of our role is to examine how we might help cultivate wholeness in (and through) the places that have shaped us.
As Wesleyans, part of the way we do that is by committing to a congregation in the covenant of membership — helping our local church cultivate wholeness in our local communities. Since our individual churches belong to larger regions called “districts,” we might also serve at that level, by helping nourish churches across our district as they innovate, grow and better serve their cities, towns and communities. And since our churches and districts all share the “Wesleyan family,” we might also serve the church by representing our district to the denominational body.
Every four years, The Wesleyan Church gathers for General Conference to worship together, to consider pressing issues in the Church, to handle Church business, to elect leaders and to articulate a trajectory for the years ahead. This year’s General Conference will be held May 31-June 3, in St. Louis, Missouri. The quadrennial event will kick off with an afternoon livestream event beginning May 31 at 3:30 CST. At 6:00 CST, Wesleyans will gather for worship and prayer to open GC20. Both events will be shared via livestream for those who cannot attend onsite.
Themed “Unleashed, so all can be made new,” The Wesleyan Church desires to see exponentially more men, women and children place their faith in Jesus and become disciples who make disciples. The number of people who do not know Jesus as Savior continues to increase at a rate higher than the Church is growing. The Wesleyan Church is praying to become a movement — a Kingdom Force “unleashed everywhere to everywhere” in order to see lives, churches and communities changed.
“As we draw nearer to General Conference 2020, my prayer is that our Wesleyan churches unite and participate in what God has ordained for GC20 — that God would continue to Unleash a Kingdom Force around the world,” said Dr. Wayne Schmidt, General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church.
Because Wesleyans believe in the importance of laity and clergy working as equal partners in leading the church, 172 lay delegates and 172 clergy delegates will serve as voting members of the General Conference. Their decisions will speak on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Wesleyan laity and clergy around North America. As important as voting is, another crucial part of this gathering is what happens between decisions, as people share stories of what God is doing in their communities.
“This is really an inspirational gathering,” said Ron McClung, associate general secretary of The Wesleyan Church. “Last time [General Conference 2016], we talked about the idea of being ‘Made New,’ and how that relates to discipleship, and we’ve heard lots of stories about how people have been ‘Made New,’ and how they are expressing discipleship in their neighborhoods.”
For those who cannot arrange their schedules to make it to General Conference, sessions will be streamed online, along with video stories from around the denomination, a morning show and post-session commentary that helps viewers gain insight on how the proceedings impact their own local churches.
Essential information about GC20:
- For more information about General Conference 2020, click here. Information will be regularly updated.
- Keep up-to-date by subscribing to Unleashed, the General Conference-specific newsletter. Unleashed will be sent through May with pre-GC20 news, as well as daily during the conference with news updates.
- A printable prayer guide providing weekly prayer prompts leading Wesleyans into and through General Conference will be available March 10.
- The General Board of The Wesleyan Church will meet March 17-19 to discuss memorials drafted in preparation for GC20. District superintendents will participate providing voice and perspective.
Rev. Ethan Linder is the hospitality, college and young adult pastor at College Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana.