United Methodist Studies is a companion course to the paraprofessional certification courses offered by BeADisciple, designed to fulfill the denomination’s mandate that programs for specialty ministry certifications include “knowledge of the United Methodist Church’s structure, polity, resources, program, and mission.” If you are a participant in the specialty certification courses and want the additional UMC-emphasis credential, this course is for you. The information you learn in this course will remain relevant no matter what happens at General Conference 2020.
Each specialty program includes a general overview of Christian theology and of the Bible as it relates to the certification, so instead, this course goes more deeply into specifically Wesleyan theology, mission, and understanding of leadership.
In the current uncertainty around the future of the United Methodist Church, this course will emphasize the principles that have formed Methodist governance traditionally and will surely continue to do so, as well as where to find answers to your specific polity questions. Assignments around resources and program will be tailored to your specific certification interests, as well as your local congregation and annual conference. It aims to be helpful and relevant both now and the future, whatever your context is and will be.
In addition to daily discussion topics, this course will assign a short (one-page) “paper” each week, designed to help you prepare if you choose to go before your district or conference credentialing body for official recognition of your specialty or other status.
Students are required to have the following books for this class:
- Grace to Lead: Practicing Leadership in the Wesleyan Tradition by Kenneth L. Carder & Laceye C. Warner
- Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living by Rueben P. Job
- Quick and Easy Guide to United Methodist Polity by Anne L. Burkholder and Thomas W. Elliott Jr.
The following book provides a compact summary of Wesleyan theology, and is recommended for anyone who has not completed a course in Methodist beliefs:
- The Way to Heaven: The Gospel According to John Wesley by Steve Harper
This course is eligible for 3.0 CEU.
About the Instructor
Rev. Beth Galbreath is a United Methodist deacon and long-time BeADisciple instructor. She has helped hundreds of folks become lay speakers through her highly regarded courses Living Our United Methodist Beliefs and Life Together in the United Methodist Connection, and as a candidacy mentor she has guided multiple persons through the process of preparing for district and conference candidacy interviews. She has also been conference-certified herself in a ministry specialty.
Her special delight has been helping laity and clergy in many denominations renew their worship through her courses in the sacraments, biblical storytelling, and spirituality. (Rev. Galbreath is the author of The Story and the Feast, a three-year cycle of Holy Communion liturgy connected to the Revised Common Lectionary.)
Other courses she teaches through BeADisciple emphasize hope – hope for struggling congregations, for interfaith understanding, and for the planet. She is a solar energy enthusiast and serves on her conference’s eco-sustainability committee. Rev. Galbreath preaches, teaches and tells Scripture at a new church plant in an older Chicago suburb.