The United Methodist Church

Facts & FAQs

Conference Facts

  • The Arkansas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church includes 697 churches and 138,000 members.
  • The conference is led by Bishop Gary E. Mueller, who was appointed to serve in Arkansas in 2012. The conference is composed of five districts (Central, Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest). A superintendent is appointed to each district.
  • Arkansas United Methodist churches are served by 268 ordained elders, 22 ordained deacons, and 173 full- and part-time local pastors.
    If you are exploring a call to ministry, you will find a number of resources available at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry website, www.gbhem.org

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is the mission of United Methodists in Arkansas?
A. Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Q. What are disciples?
A. Disciples are followers of Jesus Christ whose beliefs lead them to actions that help them grow closer to God and make God’s love, mercy and justice real in the world.

Q. How do United Methodists earn God’s love?
A. We believe God’s Grace is freely given. It is a gift to share, and we strive to make new relationships and renewed relationships with Christ a priority.

Q. What does it mean to live the United Methodist way?
A. United Methodists aim to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. Living the United Methodist way includes founder John Wesley’s general rules: Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God through following the means of grace – prayer, meditation, searching the scriptures, public worship, the sacraments and Holy Conferencing. It is a way of openness – thinking for yourself is encouraged through Wesley’s practice that incorporates scripture, experience, reason and tradition.

Q. What are our sacraments?
A. United Methodists practice two sacraments – Baptism and Communion. We baptize infants as well as adults, and our communion table is open to all. We believe Baptism is a symbol of God’s love, and as such is an act of God, not of the individual.In taking the bread and grape juice at Communion we remember Christ’s life, death and resurrection.

Q. What is a connectional church and why do we say United Methodists are connectional?
A. The connection that binds United Methodists is a human connection of fellowship, a theological connection of belief, a purposeful connection of mission and a structural connection of practice. United Methodist churches share administration, missions and leadership through the practice of connection.

Q. Who can join the United Methodist Church?
A. Those who profess their belief in Christ and a desire to join the church are accepted as members. There is always room for more United Methodists in Arkansas – we have a place for you, and your prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness are needed.

Q. Why are United Methodists always on the scene of disasters?
A. The United Methodist Committee on Relief or UMCOR is a part of our worldwide connectional church. Through this worldwide connection, Arkansas United Methodists have a capacity to respond to disaster and need that serves our communities, our state and the world. The money we put in the plate on Sunday might go down the street or across the oceans to help vital ministries that include disaster relief.

Q. What are our areas of emphasis for the Conference?
A. Not just our Conference, but all United Methodists have four current areas of focus:

  • Developing principled Christian leaders for the church and the world;
  • Creating new places for new people by starting congregations and renewing existing ones;
  • Engaging in ministry with the poor; and
  • Stamping out killer diseases by improving health globally.