Methodist Church Denomination

Overview of the Methodist Church

John Humble / Getty Images

Number of Worldwide Members

The latest reports from the United Methodist Church claim a total of more than 11 million members worldwide.

Methodist Church Founding:

The Methodist branch of Protestantism traces its roots back to 1739 where it developed in England as a result of the teachings of John Wesley. While studying at Oxford, Wesley, his brother Charles, and several other students formed a group devoted to study, prayer and helping the needy. They were labeled "Methodist" because of the way they used "rule" and "method" to go about their religious affairs. For more about Methodist history visit Methodist Denomination - Brief History.

Prominent Methodist Church Founders

John Wesley, Charles Wesley, George Whitefield.


Of the 11 million worldwide members, more than 8 million live in the United States, and more than 2.4 million live in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Methodist Church Governing Body

The United Methodist Church is organized in a hierarchical system with the highest level being the General Conference (GC). The GC is the only organization that can officially speak for the United Methodist Church. Beneath the GC are Jurisdictional and Central Conferences, composed of Annual Conferences. Annual Conferences are further divided into Districts.

Sacred or Distinguishing Text

The Bible, the Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, the Twenty-five Articles of Religion.

Notable Methodists:

George W. Bush, Geronimo, Oral Roberts.

Methodist Church Beliefs and Practices

John Wesley founded the Methodist religion with the primary motivation and ultimate goal of devout godliness. Today United Methodist beliefs are similar to many mainline Protestant denominations, with more liberal or tolerant views with respect to race, gender, and ideology. For more about what Methodists believe, visit Methodist Denomination - Beliefs and Practices.

Methodist Resources

(Sources:,,, and the Religious Movements Web site of the University of Virginia.)

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Fairchild, Mary. "Methodist Church Denomination." Learn Religions, Aug. 25, 2020, Fairchild, Mary. (2020, August 25). Methodist Church Denomination. Retrieved from Fairchild, Mary. "Methodist Church Denomination." Learn Religions. (accessed May 29, 2023).