Global Methodist Church recognizes university as a ‘recommended educational institution’

Flags fly on the campus of Mid-America Christian University of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. | Frankie Heath

The recently launched Global Methodist Church has officially endorsed a Christian academic institution in Oklahoma, saying that deacon and elder candidates living outside the United States and Western Europe can complete their educational requirements for ordination there.

The GMC has announced that it is classifying Mid-America Christian University of Oklahoma City as a "recommended educational institution" for the nascent denomination launched last year amid the schism over homosexuality within the United Methodist Church. 

GMC spokesperson Rev. Keith Boyette directed The Christian Post to an April 12 announcement that MACU is now considered a school in which "persons can complete courses to satisfy the educational requirements for ordination as a deacon or elder in the Global Methodist Church provided that the person resides outside the United States and western Europe."

"Persons pursuing ordination in the GM Church, who reside outside the United States and western Europe, may complete their educational requirements for ordination in a bachelor’s degree program in ministry," the announcement reads. "MACU courses are offered in both residential and virtual formats."

The decision came at a meeting of GMC leadership last month.

"It is the first educational institution recommended by the GM Church for persons pursuing ordination who reside outside the United States and western Europe," stated the GMC.

"Undergraduate courses offered by MACU do not currently satisfy the GM Church educational requirements for ordination for persons residing in the United States or western Europe."

The GMC "looks forward to adding additional educational institutions to its recommended list." Boyette told CP that there are "five additional schools who have made submission or are in the process of making submissions."

Other schools listed by the GMC as recommended educational institutions include Asbury Theological Seminary, Ashland Theological Seminary, Beeson Divinity School based at Samford University, Truett Theological Seminary based at Baylor University, United Theological Seminary and Wesley Biblical Seminary.

MACU President Phil Greenwald told CP that his university is "honored by the Global Methodist Church's approval of this partnership and looks forward to collaborating on training ministry leaders for service in the church and in the world."

Greenwald said MACU is an endorsed agency of the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), a Christian fellowship that traces its roots to the same Wesleyan holiness movement that Methodism is derived from.

"We are excited to support this new movement, which is theologically aligned with the movement of the Church of God, Anderson," said Greenwald.

"While this partnership is directly related to ordination, we also want to welcome all students from Global Methodist churches to consider MACU for their undergraduate or graduate studies."

The GMC was launched in May 2022 after the UMC delayed its General Conference for a third time to 2024 as delegates were slated to negotiate a denominational split over disagreements over the denomination's stance on homosexuality and the ordination of LGBT clergy. 

The GMC serves as a theologically conservative alternative to the UMC. Since its inception, over 1,100 UMC congregations have voted to join the GMC. The GMC has welcomed over 1,200 clergy members from countries such as Angola, Bulgaria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, England, Panama, the Philippines, Slovakia and the United States.

"And hundreds of additional clergy and local churches are on the cusp of completing the process of disaffiliation from The United Methodist Church (UM Church) in order to align with the GM Church," a Jan. 18 update states. "Also, more than 50 new churches have been launched globally with more being added each month. And the truth is, many more would have already joined the GM Church, or be well on the way to doing so, were it not for the obstacles UM Church bishops and conferences have placed in their way."

According to the GMC's website, the Global Methodist Church name is derived from the fact that "those called to this new denomination are from many countries, speak many languages, and yet share one faith."

"In that spirit, faithful Methodists have been praying and working to discern God's will for a new church rooted in Scripture and the historic and life-giving teachings of the Christian faith," the GMC website states. 

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