Call for Papers

Answering the Call: Hearing God’s Voice in Methodist Mission, Past, Present, and Future On April 8-10, 2019

Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, in collaboration with Candler School of Theology of Emory University in Atlanta, GA, USA, will host a world conference of scholars and leaders to celebrate Methodism’s mission heritage and look to the future of mission among the people called Methodists. The conference will be called “Answering the Call: Hearing God’s Voice in Methodist Mission, Past, Present, and Future,” and will be held in Atlanta, GA, USA, at the Emory University Conference Center Hotel.

The dates for the conference will coincide with the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church (one of the forerunner denominations to The United Methodist Church). On April 5, 1819, the Missionary Society was formed in New York City to support the mission work of John Stewart, a freeborn African-American, among the Wyandotte Native American people of Ohio. This group, whose creation was affirmed by the 1820 General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was the first denomination-wide mission society for Methodists in the United States.

Since that beginning nearly two hundred years ago, The United Methodist Church; its predecessor denominations (including the Methodist Episcopal Church, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Methodist Protestant Church, Evangelical Association, United Brethren in Christ, Methodist Church, and Evangelical United Brethren); autonomous Methodist, United, and Uniting churches historically related to these bodies; and other sibling denominations have had a long and rich history of mission. This history includes active participation in mission by Methodists from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, and North America.

As part of this history, Methodists from all continents, from many nationalities, races, and ethnicities, both women and men, lay and ordained, have organized, supported, and engaged in mission to bring new Christians to faith; start new churches, schools, hospitals, clinics, and printing presses; empower women; train leaders in society; conduct medical missions; work for justice; alleviate suffering; build peace; and witness to the kingdom of God.

Instructions for conference proposals:

Scholars from any field with reference to mission, including church history, biblical studies, evangelism, and theology, are invited to submit proposals. Scholars affiliated with The United Methodist Church and its sibling denominations worldwide are particularly encouraged to apply.

Scholars may submit proposals for individual papers, paper sessions, workshops, or panel discussions. Paper sessions, workshops, and panel discussions should fit within an hour and a half format. For each proposed paper session, workshop, panel discussion, or individual paper, please submit a 250-word abstract and a short bio for each person involved. Proposals for paper sessions should include a 250-word abstract for each individual paper as well.

Papers, paper sessions, workshops, and panel discussions may address any aspect of mission in the Methodist tradition: past, present, or future. Papers are, however, especially encouraged on the following topics:

  • In what ways has Methodist mission been expressed? In other words, in what ways have Methodist people and organizations “done” mission? What ways will mission be “done” or expressed in the future?
    • Proposals could explore, for instance, various categories of mission work undertaken by Methodists such as evangelism, education, health, and justice; the connection between revival and mission; mission approaches to other racial and cultural groups; mission approaches to other religions; etc.
  • What factors have influenced or shaped how Methodists have thought about and done mission? How have, for instance, the Bible, theology, culture, and race shaped the ways in which mission has been expressed?
    • Proposals could explore, for instance, biblical, Wesleyan, or historical theologies and practices of mission; spiritual practices that support mission formation and missional identities; racial and cultural assumptions and attitudes that impacted mission; etc.
  • Who or what have been the means or vehicles for mission? What roles have various categories of Methodists played in mission? What structures and organizations, in the local church and beyond, have facilitated the advancement of Methodist mission? Who or what will be the means for mission in the century ahead?
    • Proposals could explore, for instance, the roles of laity, women, Africans, Asians, American minorities, and/or other groups in mission; the role of local churches in mission; the movements, organizations, and structures that support mission; the creative tension between innovation and organization in mission; etc.
  • What have been the outcomes of Methodist mission work? How has this mission shaped the world and various churches worldwide? In what ways is United Methodist mission currently seeking to transform the church and world?
    • Proposals could explore, for instance, the relationships between mission and, for instance, culture, politics, health, education, the environment, globalization, nationalism, church structures, etc.
  • How has mission served as a source of unity or disunity for the church? What are the ways mission has provided a context to bring together (or divide) separate parts of the Wesleyan family and/or the universal church? What has been the relationship between mission and ecumenism?
    • Proposals could explore, for instance, mission as a source of Methodist identity; the role of Methodists in ecumenical movements; mission in the pan-Methodist movement; ecumenical cooperation in mission work; the connection between mission and denominational mergers; etc.

Please submit all materials by June 30, 2018, to Dr. David W. Scott at Submitted papers will be reviewed by a committee of scholars. Selected presenters will receive free conference registration, and some travel grants will be available for international scholars.