Willingness to Serve
As we work toward the 2020 General Conference, to be held May 5-15, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, we invite those who feel called and willing to commit time and energy to serving in the proceedings to read the information regarding the process for lay and clergy General Conference delegates below and to complete the Willingness to Serve application. To facilitate a more convenient application submission process, forms are provided in both a fillable digital format as well as a printable document. You’ll find these forms when you scroll down.
ENDORSEMENT AND ELECTION PROCESS FOR 2020 GENERAL CONFERENCE DELEGATES
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 years preceding their election and shall have been active participants in The United Methodist Church for at least four 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.
Ordained delegates to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences shall be elected from the ordained ministerial members in full connection with 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 consecutive years under appointment immediately preceding the election.
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 areas crucial to the United Methodist Church’s mission, and three issues emerging from those areas.
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.
Procedure for Endorsement of Delegates – In order to involve leadership from many parts of the conference, the election of delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences shall begin in local congregations, continue in districts, and conclude at Annual Conference.
Each local congregation may submit the name of a potential lay delegate to their district lay leader by a specified date, together with a Willingness to Serve form. The district lay leader shall bring all such names to the Fall District Conference meeting preceding the Annual Conference in which delegates shall be elected. At that meeting, three laypersons from the district may be endorsed (by a ballot overseen by the district superintendent). The district superintendent shall forward the names of these individuals (and their Willingness to Serve forms) to the chair of the Election Committee.
Potential clergy delegates may submit their names to their district superintendent by a specified date, together with a Willingness to Serve form. At the same meeting of the Fall District Conference, three clergy from the district may be endorsed (by a ballot overseen by the district lay leader). The district lay leader shall forward the names of these individuals (and their Willingness to Serve forms) to the chair of the Election Committee.
The chair of the Election Committee shall forward the results of the district endorsements to the convener of the Conference Coordinating Council by January 15 of the year when elections shall be held. In order to monitor diversity, the Conference Coordinating Council shall review the results and shall have the opportunity to add up to ten additional individuals (five lay and five clergy) by February 15 to the list of endorsed nominees. The list of these additional nominees shall then be submitted to the Election Committee.
The finalized list of endorsed nominees – those coming from the districts and those added by the Conference Coordinating Council – shall be communicated as clergy in alphabetical order and as laity in alphabetical order. In a list to all members of the Annual Conference by April 1, with a notation that any additional individuals who are qualified and who have completed the Willingness to Serve form may add their names to the list of those who have been endorsed. Included with that announcement shall be copies of all completed Willingness to Serve forms that have been received by the Sessions Committee by March 15.
PROCEDURE FOR ELECTION
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. Persons elected to Jurisdictional Conference shall, in the order of the election, be reserve delegates to General Conference.
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.
The Annual Conference secretary shall call attention to the “Guidelines for Christian Conferencing” at the beginning of the election process, and shall arrange for a head teller and a sufficient number of tellers in each order to support the election process. Ballots counted at the close of any session shall be sealed and the results not known until reported at the next session.
Voting shall be on official ballots, with the number of names voted for each ballot being exactly the number announced by the Bishop. If write-in ballots are permitted, only the names of those spelled correctly will be counted, and only those who receive 12 or more votes will be announced. A majority of valid ballots cast shall constitute an election. Balloting shall continue until the allotted number of delegates for General Conference is elected. Following their completion, balloting shall begin for Jurisdictional Conference delegates and shall continue until those delegates have been elected. Reserve delegates shall be elected by a minimum of a simple majority of the ballots cast. There shall be 3 reserve delegates for clergy and 3 reserve delegates for laity. These reserve delegates may act as reserve delegates to General Conference when it is evident that not enough of the previously elected reserve delegates are in attendance at General Conference. (¶34)
Please click below to access the Willingness to Serve Digital Forms. The deadline to submit forms is 5:00pm (EST) on March 15, 2019.
Please click here to access the PDF version of the Willingness to Serve Form.
August 20, 2018: Information available and posted on conference Web page concerning process procedures and requirements.
September 2018 – November 2018: Local churches endorse candidates with Willingness to Serve Forms
November 2018 – January 19, 2019: District Conferences hold meet and greet opportunities and vote to identify and endorse up to 3 lay and 3 clergy
January 25, 2019: Names of persons endorsed by the district conference (lay and clergy) must be submitted to the Election Committee Chairperson
January 31, 2019: Coordinating Council must receive the list of district endorsed persons and their “Willingness to Serve” forms from Election Committee chair.
February 8, 2019: Coordinating Council meets to review list and may add up to 5 lay and 5 clergy
March 15, 2019: All “Willingness to Serve” forms must be submitted
April 1, 2019: Final list of endorsed and those “Willing to Serve” (lay and clergy) will be available online to conference members.
June 13-15, 2019: Annual Conference
Please click to review our Christian Conferencing Guidelines.
COMMITMENT OF 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:
- Attend their respective conferences on a full -time basis (10 to 12 days for General and 3 days for Jurisdictional)
- Participate in all scheduled meetings of the delegation – prior to, during, and after the conferences
- Demonstrate familiarity with the ways in which the General and Jurisdictional Conferences function
- Study proposed legislation
- Accept responsibility for expenses beyond the per diem
- Exemplify a visionary outlook, a team spirit, and a disposition to conferencing
- Adhere to the qualities set forth in the “Guidelines for Christian Conferencing ” (adopted by the Annual Conference) throughout the entire time they are delegates.
Click here to review the 2020 Willingness to Serve documents.