Texas Megachurch Announces Decision To Leave United Methodist Denomination

By Anne Stych
united methodist disaffiliate
St. Andrew United Methodist Church. (Photo via St. Andrew’s Facebook page.)

A Dallas-area church with more than 6,500 members said it will disaffiliate with the United Methodist Church and will remain independent while it investigates alliances with other Methodist denominations.

Senior Pastor Arthur Jones of St. Andrew United Methodist Church of Plano, along with Kathy King, chair of the church’s executive committee, said in a post on the church’s website that founding pastor Robert Hasley began to consider disaffiliation “years ago” and asked a group of lay leaders to “monitor the inevitable fragmenting of the United Methodist Church.”

Hasley, who served the church for 36 years, died of cancer in July at age 70. However, the church said, lay leaders were able to watch a video that he had recorded in May sharing his view that disaffiliation was necessary.

The decision to disaffiliate was made by the church’s executive committee and was not put to a vote by the congregation. 

Many conservative congregations nationwide have left the UMC in recent months or are in the process of leaving because they disagree with the denomination’s stance on issues including same-sex marriage and the ordination of openly gay pastors. 

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At least 500 UMC churches in Texas, including four of the top six by membership, have left or are leaving. St. Andrew is the seventh-largest church in the state.

“Bluntly, the basic structure of the UMC will be even more labored after these disaffiliations, and we expect the number to grow,” the post said. “So, while we have been prayerfully studying this for years, the time has come for St. Andrew to decide its own path.”

The church will be renamed St. Andrew Methodist and operate as an independent Methodist church while seeking partnerships and accountability with other “like-hearted” churches, the leaders said. 

They also pointed out that the UMC is just one of 80 Methodist denominations that are part of the World Methodist Council, and that while the UMC has only been in existence since 1968, Methodism dates to the 1700s and has seen “a variety of realignments within Methodist denominations over that time.”

“We will be looking to create affiliations with those who also desire greater accountability with more efficient systems and structures than we have had with the UMC,” they said. “We do not desire long-term independence. Instead, we want to take the time to fully explore the right affiliations to ensure our church can remain mission focused and step into the future.” 

The letter said the day-to-day operations of the church will not be affected.

“To steal a line from our founding pastor that is so true in this and every moment when we trust in the Lord, ‘Everything is gonna be alright,’” the post concluded.

This story originally appeared at MinistryWatch.

Anne StycheAnne Stych is a freelance writer, copy editor, proofreader and content manager covering science, technology, retail, and nonprofits. She writes for American City Business Journals’ BizWomen and MinistryWatch.



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9 thoughts on “Texas Megachurch Announces Decision To Leave United Methodist Denomination”

  1. I wonder if we can derive useful understanding from these events and processes of disaffiliation and reaffiliation. Often the focus here is on theological or doctrinal difference. Perhaps we could be instead thinking about chosen conditions of congregating. Perhaps we could allow that the Biblical Word actually encompasses all of the congregational choices we are seeing. So, instead of going theologically/doctrinally nuclear about gender and marriage and pastoral matters, perhaps we should be revisiting the Bible to see how and why it allows for the entire field of theological/doctrinal understanding.

  2. I honestly never knew that the UMC denomination was so young, coming into existence in my lifetime. Maybe a movement to go back to its roots (which was Anglican, by the way) is a healthy development.

    The Wesley’s wouldn’t recognize the present-day monstrosity which bears the name of their movement, which was based in HOLINESS.

    1. Most of us need a short refresher course on what the Methodist Church is. The following article should will cover the topic quite well.

      “What is the Methodist Church, and what do Methodists believe?”


      What was the Southern Methodist Church and the foreign branches of Methodist Church have always been the more conservative elements of it.

      “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” (Mar 3:25, NETfree)

  3. Rabindranath Ramcharan

    When a local congregation severs ties with the United Methodist Church denomination, it used to be that the denomination would keep the physical assets like the building and its contents and the bank accounts. Do they still operate that way?

    1. Have you ever considered the perspective that the United Methodist Church is severing ties with the biblically orthodox factions of the denomination? So, who’s really leaving?

      Perhaps the liberals need to leave their property to the conservatives, the true heirs of the denomination.

      1. Rabindranath Ramcharan

        That’s a different question. I was asking about what happens to the church assets when a congregation decides to leave the denomination, not what the ideal resolution should be.

  4. I thought one of the founding principles of Methodism was itinerancy — that pastors did not remain with the same church for more than a few years (up to around a decade) before they moved on to pastures new.

    While not always popular with congregations when it’s time for their favorite pastor to move on, the system does prevent pastors from becoming too powerful and unaccountable, leading to the kinds of problems that have been well documented by Julie Roy’s work.

    But looking at the St Andrew’s website, I see that their founder of the church had been their head pastor for most of the 36 years since, until he retired and the present incumbent took over a few years ago, so I guess since itinerancy has always taken a back seat to turning the church into a megachurch, so really, what’s the point in remaining in within the Methodist denomination at all?

    The Methodist Church is no place for pastors with ambitions of empire.

  5. “A mega church with 6 500 members”

    Why would this church and this pastor count the members? Is this a worldly badge of prestige?

    I believe king David got into a lot of trouble with God for holding a census, so why do pastors count their members?

    He who is first will be last and he who is last will be first in the kingdom of heaven.

    1. Rabindranath Ramcharan

      As usually happens with King David, after he took the census (which Joab sabotaged by not counting the Levi and Benjamin 1 chronicles 21:16) nothing bad happened to the king, but God smote 70,000 Israelites for filling out their census forms. 1 Chronicles 21:14.
      Solomon conducted a census, too, but it was to organize foreigners for forced labor: “Solomon took a census of all the foreigners residing in Israel, after the census his father David had taken; and they were found to be 153,600. He assigned 70,000 of them to be carriers and 80,000 to be stonecutters in the hills, with 3,600 foremen over them to keep the people working.” 2 Chronicles 17:18.But that was different.

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