The UMC is a global church. The most vital part of the UMC is each individual local church. In order to better serve local churches and connect ministries world wide. To that end, General Agencies have been created by General Conference to support those ministries in specific ways. These agencies cannot speak for the church, but they each have a mission which corresponds to the mission of the UMC as whole: to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
I am going to copy from the website of each agency to share a little bit about them all.
The General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) gathers, preserves, and disseminates materials on the history of The United Methodist Church and its antecedents. It maintains archives and a library in which the historical records are kept.
The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) challenges United Methodists to work in areas of important social concern and develops resources to inform, motivate, and train United Methodists on issues of social justice in the society.
The General Commission on Communication (United Methodist Communications; UMCOM) provides leadership for the denomination in the fields of communication, public relations, and promotion of the general funds and programs of the denomination. It is the official news gathering and distribution agency of the denomination. It provides resources and services to local churches and annual conferences in the field of communications.
Discipleship Ministries (GBOD) provides leadership and resources in the areas of spiritual growth and development, devotional literature, curriculum resources, Christian education, evangelism, worship, stewardship, and ministry of the laity. Discipleship Ministries oversees The Upper Room.
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) manages the finances and operational needs of the denomination and serves as the general treasurer of the denomination.
The General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) connects the church in mission. This is accomplished by sending missionaries, including young adults, from everywhere and to everywhere; collaborating and engaging with volunteers; evangelizing and church planting through mission initiatives; addressing diseases of poverty and global health; and responding to natural and civil disasters. (UMCOR is a part of GBGM)
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) leads and serves The United Methodist Church in the recruitment, preparation, nurture, education, and support of Christian leaders, both lay and clergy.
On behalf of the church, GBHEM prepares and assists those pursuing professional ministry through ordination, certification, or licensed ministry. For those exploring God's call in their lives and thinking about beginning the candidacy process, GBHEM also offers resources, as well as an event, to help young adults hear, discern, and respond to God’s call to ordained ministry.
GBHEM also supports a network of 119 United Methodist-related schools, colleges, and universities in the United States, including 13 schools of theology. Additionally, through a network of chaplaincies, Wesley Foundations, ecumenical ministries and church-based ministries, The United Methodist Church reaches more than 1,300 campuses around the world. (The current General Secretary of GBHEM is a former pastor of Berkeley, Kim Cape)
Wespath (Formerly The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits) supervises and administers the pension and benefits programs, plans, and funds of The United Methodist Church. It administers and disburses the retirement and benefit funds of the various annual conferences.
The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) focuses on bringing about full and equal participation of the racial and ethnic constituencies in The United Methodist Church. The commission carries out its work through advocacy of the issues and by reviewing and monitoring the practices of the denomination.
The General Commission on Status and Role of Women (GCOSRW; COSROW) challenges The United Methodist Church to commit to the full participation of women in the life and mission of the church. The commission serves as an advocate for, and on the behalf of, women; seeks to eliminate inequities in relation to women in the church; and monitors the general agencies, institutions, and connectional structures to ensure the inclusion of women.
The General Commission on United Methodist Men (UMMen) involves men in a growing relationship to Jesus Christ and his church and provides resources and support for programs of evangelism, stewardship and the needs of men.
The United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH) distributes the official publications, records and forms of the denomination; publishes books through Abingdon Press; and operates Cokesbury, its retail division, and MinistryMatters.com, which offers online resources and community for leaders. The publishing house also produces and distributes church school materials and study resources throughout the denomination.
United Methodist Women (UMW) is a faith-based membership organization of laywomen within The United Methodist Church. UMW members are committed to growing as disciples of Jesus Christ in community with other women and advocating on behalf of women, children and youth around the world. United Methodist Women has been in mission for more than 140 years.
Again, the General Agencies are not the church, they serve the church and allow us to do more things and more places with the possibility of reaching more people for Jesus Christ. If these are new to you, I hope you can take some time browse the websites and see some of the amazing things that are going on.