Persons willing to serve should give careful consideration to their ability to devote the necessary time and effort to prepare for and participate in the conferences.
General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church. The assembly meets at the beginning of each quadrennium to consider revisions to church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs for the next four years.
The Commission on the General Conference announced that the 2024 United Methodist General Conference will be held April 23 – May 3, 2024, at Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Jurisdictional Conferences elect Bishops as needed and deal with Jurisdictional business. The North Central Jurisdictional Conference will be held July 10-13, 2024, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Taken from INUMC Rules and Structure document, updated 1/3/2023 by the Coordinating Council.
D.3 General and Jurisdictional Conference Procedures
D.3.a. Eligibility for Election
1. Lay delegates to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences shall be elected by the lay members of the Annual Conference without regard to age, provided such delegates shall have been professing members of The United Methodist Church for at least two (2) years preceding their election and shall have been active participants in The United Methodist Church for at least four (4) years preceding their election, and are members thereof within the Annual Conference electing them at the time of holding the General and Jurisdictional Conference (¶36). Lay delegates need not be voting members of the Annual Conference to be elected.
2. Ordained delegates to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences shall be elected from the ordained ministerial members in full connection within the Annual Conference (¶35). They shall be elected by ordained ministerial members in full connection, associate members, provisional members who have completed all of their educational requirements, and local pastors who have completed the course of study or an M.Div. degree and have served a minimum of two (2) consecutive years under appointment immediately preceding the election.
D.3.b. Managing the Election
The Annual Conference Sessions Committee shall provide general oversight of the election process. In addition, the committee shall provide a Willingness to Serve form that shall include pertinent biographical information, recent photo, reasons for wanting to be a delegate, and a statement of three (3) areas crucial to the United Methodist Church’s mission, and three (3) issues emerging from those areas.
D.3.c. Commitment of a Delegate
Election to General and/or Jurisdictional Conference conveys the trust and respect of peers within the Annual Conference. Those offering themselves for election need to make the following commitments:
1) attend their respective conferences on a full-time basis (10 to 12 days for General and 3 days for Jurisdictional);
2) participate in all scheduled meetings of the delegation – prior to, during, and after the conferences;
3) demonstrate familiarity with the ways in which the General and Jurisdictional Conferences function;
4) study proposed legislation;
5) accept responsibility for expenses beyond the per diem;
6) exemplify a visionary outlook, a team spirit, and a disposition to conferencing; and
7) adhere to the qualities set forth in the “Guidelines for Christian Conferencing” (adopted by the Annual Conference) throughout the entire time they are delegates.
D.3.d. Procedure for Declaring Candidacy
In order to involve both laity and clergy leadership from across any church and any district of the Indiana Conference, members (who meet Disciplinary requirements ¶35 Article IV and ¶36 Article V) are invited to submit their names for possible election as delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Districts are urged to remind eligible members of their right to run for election.
Willingness to Serve forms will be made available by January 5th. If a candidate wishes to announce their candidacy early, in order to allow informed decisions by voters in all elections, the Indiana Conference sessions committee shall make candidates Willingness to Serve forms (which have been received six (6) weeks ahead of the annual conference session) available no later than four (4) weeks prior to the Annual Conference election in question. This information will be posted online and available through the standard means of Conference communications.
D.3.e. Procedure for Election
1) Lay and clergy delegates shall be elected at the Annual Conference in the calendar year preceding the General and Jurisdictional Conferences and shall serve for the quadrennium. The General Conference secretary shall provide the number of those to be elected (lay and clergy) to the Bishop and Annual Conference secretary no later than December 2 prior to election.
2) The Sessions Committee shall provide opportunity, prior to the first ballot, for members of the Annual Conference to meet and talk with persons seeking election.
3) The Annual Conference secretary shall call attention to the “Guidelines for Christian Conferencing” at the beginning of the election process and shall assure that proper secure arrangements have been made for accurate voting and reporting of the results.
4) Voting may be by official ballot or electronic means (as determined by the Annual Conference Sessions Committee), with the number of persons to be elected for each ballot being announced by the Bishop or a person designated by the Bishop.
5) All clergy meeting Disciplinary requirements (¶35) will be assigned a number.
6) During elections only the candidates who receive twelve (12) or more votes will be announced.
7) A majority of valid ballots cast shall constitute an election.
8) Balloting shall continue until the allotted number of delegates for General Conference is elected.
9) Following completion of General Conference elections, balloting shall begin for Jurisdictional Conference delegates and shall continue until those delegates have been elected.
10) General Conference reserve delegates (lay and clergy) shall be made up of the elected Jurisdictional Conference delegates (lay and clergy) in the order they were elected. (¶34).
11) Jurisdictional reserve delegates shall be elected by a minimum of a simple majority of the ballots cast. For Jurisdictional Conference there shall be elected three (3) reserve delegates for clergy and three (3) reserve delegates for laity.
12) Jurisdictional reserve delegates may act as reserve delegates to General Conference when it is evident that not enough reserve delegates are in attendance at General Conference. (¶34)
13) The number of reserve delegates invited to attend General Conference is to be determined by the Conference delegation.
Deadline to submit Willingness to Serve Form: April 26, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.