What Methodists Believe

Traditionally, we have emphasized the following:

  • God will comfort, guide, and forgive every person, no matter who they are or what they've done.
  • Serving others and Christian faith go hand in hand.
  • Our Church is made up of people who share faith in Jesus Christ.

We are a global movement of churches that’s making a difference in the world. In practice, we are similar to other Protestant denominations, affirming our beliefs through the sacred symbols of baptism and communion. United Methodists share with other Christians the conviction that Scripture is the primary source and criterion for Christian doctrine. Through Scripture the living Christ meets us in the experience of redeeming grace. We are convinced that Jesus Christ is the living Word of God in our midst whom we trust in life and death.

Through baptism, we accept God’s gifts through Jesus. There is no strict rule among United Methodists about how baptism must be performed, although sprinkling water on the head of the person being baptized is most common. Everyone is accepted and welcome at the communion table, whether members of the Church or not, kids or adults.
Our identity as a denomination started with founder, John Wesley, who felt his own heart strangely warmed nearly three centuries ago. After this experience, he was compelled to reach out to England’s poorest citizens, which he did with the help of his brother, Charles. Their work launched a movement that spread to the American colonies and took hold with a fervor that still exists almost 300 years later.

Today, United Methodists comprise the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Our churches are connected by a system to guide our work and govern our policies. We continue to take the lead in social, spiritual, political and moral concerns. In the tradition of John and Charles Wesley, our members study scripture, encourage thoughtful debate, and confront the tough issues of the day. We still lead with our hearts, keep our minds open, and welcome everyone through our doors.

Baltimore Washington Conference