Frequently Asked Questions

You are invited to browse through the following categories of frequently asked questions regarding denominational affiliation.


  • Over the last 6 weeks, a discernment leadership team comprised of clergy, executive staff and lay leaders has studied the best options for future affiliation following disaffiliation from The United Methodist Church in 2023. Throughout this process, their goal has been to preserve FMCS’s ministries while also studying the most effective ways to enhance and advance the ministries in the coming decades.

    After careful consideration, the FMCS discernment leadership team is recommending affiliation with the Eastern Texas Conference of the Global Methodist Church (GMC). FMCS members are being called to a churchwide vote to ratify this recommendation beginning July 5th, 2023.

  • Practicing the Christian faith within a larger community is an essential element of Wesleyan Methodism. Affiliation with another Methodist denomination or network is necessary to maintain this faith heritage. Throughout this process, the Affiliation Study Group (ASG) goal has been to preserve FMCS’s theology, culture and community while also studying the most effective ways to enhance and advance its ministries in the coming decades. See this article for more detailed rationales for affiliating with the Global Methodist Church.

  • The optimal time to make the biggest impact in the Global Methodist Church is right now, during the start-up phases of this organization. Serving in leadership roles, developing resource materials and facilitating clergy training and development are just a few examples of immediate involvement. Because of its strength and vitality, FMCS has a unique opportunity to help develop structure, systems and the spirit of these groups in ways that will not be possible by waiting to join later. See this article for more detailed rationales for affiliating with the Global Methodist Church.

  • With the persistent goal of preserving the God-inspired, 178-year-old identity of First Methodist Church, the Affiliation Study Group has developed the list of six fundamental and distinctive criteria — what we call affiliation frameworks — that will serve as the measurement tool for all future affiliation options: Mission, Theology, Operations, Culture, Community and Vision. Learn more about these categories and see them in a side by side comparison chart here

  • Members of FMCS are eligible to cast a ballot in the churchwide vote for affiliation July 5 - 9. Voting details will be posted at

    Results of the vote will be announced immediately following the Church Conference on June 25th. The results of the vote will be sent via email to members and announced in all worship services on July 2.  

    We anticipate affiliation will be complete by July 2023. 


  • FMCS maintains the highest regard for the authority of Holy Scriptures contained in the Old and New Testaments, as well as the historical confessions of the Christian faith included in the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and John Wesley’s Articles of Religion and sermons. The Global Methodist Church (GMC) claims these same doctrinal sources, so FMCS’s affiliation would be theologically aligned. The GMC also has specific guidelines for enforcement accountability for its bishops, clergy and congregations. See the GMC section below for specific questions and answers relating to accountability found within its Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline.


  • Each pastor on FMCS’s 6-member clergy team is in favor of joining the Global Methodist Church. The team has published an open letter to the members of First Methodist Church Shreveport explaining their unanimous support for joining the Global Methodist Church. Read the letter here.

  • If the congregation votes to join the GMC, our pastors will transfer their credentials and will be ordained into that denomination.

    Clergy benefits are secure and will be maintained throughout the affiliation transition. WesPath manages benefits for UMC and GMC. The benefits will be a seamless transition for our clergy and staff. 

    Non-clergy staff at FMCS will be unaffected by affiliation.


  • Member churches in the Eastern Texas Conference (ETXC) of the Global Methodist Church are currently required to contribute 2% of their adjusted operating revenue — 1% to the ETXC and 1% to the greater GMC denomination. This number is subject to change based on the approval of the conference as the conference gains clarity on the resources needed for its work. Financial commitments are expected to gradually rise as the GMC becomes more fully developed. The GMC Discipline allows up to 6.5% of a congregation’s adjusted operating income. This commitment is well within FMCS’s ability to participate and has been vetted and approved by our Affiliation Study Group as a trustworthy cause in which to invest. In comparison, our connectional giving will be 50% less than what we gave to the UMC.

  • Yes. The GMC allows each member congregation to retain full ownership of their property and assets.

  • First Methodist Church of Shreveport will retain its name as it is written here; further changes are not required or anticipated regardless of affiliation.


  • Your vows of membership are honored regardless of denominational affiliation. Your membership is recorded in our local FMCS church database. If FMCS votes to join the Global Methodist Church, you would be recorded as a member of that denomination once affiliation is complete.

  • Affiliation will have no effect onFMCS’s theology, ministry programming, culture or community. Day-to-day operations will continue as they are now. As a 178-year-old standard-bearer of orthodox, Wesleyan theology and one of the largest congregations in Methodism, FMCS will continue to advance its mission to embrace and extend God’s grace while passionately growing servant leaders — regardless of denominational affiliation.

    Affiliation will enable FMCS’s clergy, staff and lay leaders to be in connection with their counterparts at other churches for the purposes of spiritual connection, leadership development, ministry collaboration and resource sharing.


FMCS considered two affiliation options as part of its discernment process before recommending affiliation with the Global Methodist Church on June 25, 2023: 

Global Methodist Church

Independent Methodist

  • Functionally speaking, FMCS is a successful, stable, self-sustaining organization, so no — we do not “need” these organizations. However, our Wesleyan heritage includes the establishment of strong connectional ties with other Methodist churches at the pastoral, leadership and congregational levels. By partnering or becoming an affiliated congregation, FMCS gains the opportunity to extend ministry reach and to share our theological, cultural and organizational strength across the greater landscape of Methodism. It is in the DNA of First Methodist Church of Shreveport, LA to live in connection with like-minded churches and Christians for missional purposes. 


  • As of May 2023, 80% of disaffiliating UMC congregations have joined the GMC - around 2000+ churches and growing. According to the GMC website as of April 2023, over 2000 churches and 2400 clergy have joined the GMC. These numbers are expected to double by the end of 2023 due to waves of churches continuing to disaffiliate from the UMC and joining the GMC.

    Of existing GMC-member churches today, approximately 1% — 14 churches — are considered “big” by either worship attendance or membership. FMCS would be considered a medium sized church within the GMC if its members vote to affiliate with this denomination.

  • Yes. The connectional system within the GMC is specifically designed for pastors to know and be known among their colleagues on a broad scale.

  • There is high value in a connection of like-minded, like-hearted Wesleyan Methodists who are working together to advance the Kingdom of God on a truly global scale. Independent networks exist on a very small scale in comparison. FMCS is worthy of a truly global connection. 

  • With the GMC, you will see fewer boards and agencies as they allow the local churches to decide where it should put its resources to best support the local community. Our church for a number of years has supported local and global missions including the ones listed above. However, if you still feel led to give to UMCOR, The Methodists Children’s Home and Centenary College, we encourage you to do so. The GMC enables us as a church to decide where we want to put our missional focus. 

    We will continue our relationship with Centenary College and will be moving into a season of being more invested. 

  • Should FMCS decide in the future that the GMC is not a good fit for us, we simply provide the GMC with a 90 days notice for disaffiliation. There is nothing else to do. The other side of the coin, is if we are not faithful with our connectional giving, the GMC can disaffiliate from FMCS. 

  • The dysfunctional power dynamic within the UMC is effectively eliminated with the GMC’s removal of the property trust clause, removal of guaranteed clergy appointments, imposed term limits for bishops, and a truly enforceable Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline that enables action and removal of bishops, clergy and congregations that stray from its standards for theology and practice.

    (See GMC Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline Part Three – Local Church, Sect. 354 – Congregational Fidelity; also, Judicial Practice and Procedure Rules)

    VISIT to access an online version of the GMC’s Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline

  • Local GMC churches are empowered and expected to be the spiritual and relational growth centers for ministry in their communities. The purpose of the regional conference is to help the local churches be vitally effective in their ministry to their communities.

    The General Conference is the denominational legislative body comprised of bishops, clergy and lay delegates gathered for the purpose of creating new or modifying church law and adopting it into the GMC’s Book of Doctrines and Discipline. It is anticipated the GMC’s convening General Conference will take place in the last half of 2024.