The purpose of the annual conference is to make disciples of Jesus Christ by equipping its local churches for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church. The annual conference consists of clergy and lay members. Clergy membership consists of deacons and elders in full connection, probationary members, associate members, affiliate members and local pastors under full-time and part-time appointment to a pastoral charge. The lay membership of the annual conference shall consists of professing members elected by the charge, diaconal ministers, deaconesses, home missioners, the conference president of United Methodist Women, the conference president of United Methodist Men, the conference lay leader, district lay leaders, the conference scouting coordinator, the president of the conference young adult organization, the conference youth organization, the chair of the annual conference college student organization, one young person between the ages of 18 and 30 from each district and one young person between the ages of 12 and 17 from each district (¶601, 602.1,.4, The Book of Discipline, 2012).
The annual conference is the basic unit of the connectional system and refers both to a yearly meeting of its members as well as the organizational structure that equips local congregations to do its ministries and provide a connection beyond the local church. In order to distinguish between the two, pages organized under the Conference tab will include both information on those committees and entities that are organized at the conference level. Information about the annual conference session will be linked to a section called "Annual Conference" at appropriate times of the year when lay and clergy members are preparing for the annual conference session held in June.