Paragraph 213

What is a ¶ 213 Conversation?

A ¶ 213 Conversation is based on ¶ 213 of the 2016 United Methodist Church Book of Discipline.  It is the discussion of the possibilities of beginning a formal ¶ 213 process.

¶ 213 Process

Churches today are at a crossroads as to how we fruitfully and effectively share the message and love of Jesus Christ to transform lives, communities and the world.  Paragraph 213 of the 2016 United Methodist Book of Discipline describes a foundational process of discovering a congregation’s identity and mission field: “Since every congregation is located in a community in some type of transition, every local church is encouraged to study their congregation’s potential.  Upon the request of the congregation, the District Superintendent, shall appoint a study task force to assist in an extensive study of the past, present and potential ministry of that local church.”

Process Steps

Strategic Identification by Superintendent (CMS)

  •  District Mission Plan
  •  Referral of Congregational request

Groundwork Meeting with Pastor and Lay Leader

  • Clarify purpose of the ¶213 Conversations
  • Discuss preparations for congregation as it enters the process
  • Discuss the creation of a [Church] Conversation Team for the ¶213 Conversation
  • Assign homework: ¶213 Congregation conversation and District Packets
  • Schedule the three ¶213 Conversation Sessions
  • Answer questions and clarify expectations

[A period of at least four weeks, but perhaps 6-8 weeks, should be scheduled between the groundwork meeting and Meeting One to provide enough time to gather preparatory documents]

An option is to have a Churchwide Gathering for Discovery and Learning preceding Meeting One. An alternate plan for a preliminary gathering can be developed.

Meeting 1: Congregational Life Cycle

  • Clarify purpose of the ¶213 Conversations with the [church name] Team
  • Looking at the church through the lens of the Congregational Life Cycle
  • Assign homework for specific Church & Community information, and for the entire group (includes, but not limited to: Community Analysis/Assessment, MissionInsite, UM Data, and church's Vital Statistics)

[A period of at least two weeks, but perhaps 3-4 weeks should be scheduled between Meetings One and Two to provide enough time to complete homework assignments]

Meeting 2: Church and Community

  • Report Church and Community homework findings
  • Discuss congregational ministry capacity and leadership
  • Compare congregational capacity with the reality and future of the community
  • Assign homework: Congregational Readiness Inventory [Readiness 360]

Meeting 3: Congregational Trajectory and Next Steps

  • Report Congregational Readiness homework findings Discuss congregational trajectory 
  • Create recommendation for next steps