Dear Quest Church family,
We reach out to you today to address a topic of significant importance to our church family: our ongoing relationship with the United Methodist Church.
The United Methodist Church played an important role in the formation of Quest Church in 2004 and we are grateful for the denomination’s support in our early years. The ongoing and intensifying conflict over foundational principles, as well as the theological divisions within the United Methodist Church, however, are increasingly distracting us from our mission and ministry of making disciples who are making an impact in the world.
Accordingly, following much prayerful consideration and discussion, our church leadership team has begun the disaffiliation process from the United Methodist Church. We are working with the Conference to ensure an amicable and peaceful separation and aim for completion in June 2022.
It is important to note that the ultimate disaffiliation, which is both a spiritual and legal process, requires a two-thirds majority vote of our Quest Church members – and the voting must be done in person. For voting purposes, we will be holding a meeting for all Quest Church members on Sunday, January 30th at 7pm at Quest. We will meet in the auditorium and childcare will be provided. Please note: Per official disaffiliation guidelines provided by our North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church, only people that are official members of Quest Church will be permitted to vote. Our District Superintendent will preside over the meeting.
As we prepare for this meeting, we will hold two “town hall” style meetings on January 23 and January 30 at 10 am (between services). Childcare will be provided. At these meetings you will hear more about the disaffiliation process and be able to have your questions answered.
Assuming a two-thirds majority vote in favor of disaffiliation, please know that Quest Church will continue its tradition of following faith and practices developed in the Wesleyan and Methodist traditions. Still a young church, we are enthusiastic about growing our vibrant congregation and ask for your trust and prayers as we plan for the future.
Finally, in anticipation of questions you may have, we have developed a “Frequently Asked Questions” guide. It is attached for your review. You can also access it at www.theQUESTonline.com/disaffiliation.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter concerning Quest’s future.
John Kenney, Senior Pastor
Karen Claeys, QLT Chair
frequently asked questions
What is “disaffiliation” from The United Methodist Church (UMC)?
“Disaffiliation” is a process whereby a United Methodist Church can separate from The United Methodist Denomination while keeping its property and assets. Since Quest is a United Methodist Church, if we want to separate from the denomination, this process is required.
Who made the decision for Quest to begin the process for disaffiliation from The United Methodist Church?
The lay-led Church Council (Quest Leadership Team) has made this decision. This team is made up of 11 lay persons and several staff, to include our Senior Pastor, John Kenney and Executive Pastor, Sarah MacDonald. While the final decision to start the official disaffiliation process was made November 7, 2021, this team has been prayerfully discerning our church’s future and options for at least 3 years.
Why is Quest disaffiliating from The United Methodist Church?
It is no secret that The United Methodist Denomination has been involved in an on-going and intensifying conflict. The UMC is headed for a separation/split.
Much of the conflict stems from deep theological division. While many will explain that the issue centers primarily on human sexuality, our Senior Pastor and Church Council believe the issues are much deeper and more complex. We believe the core issues are connected to the Divinity and Lordship of Jesus Christ and the Authority of Scripture. When these foundational principles are challenged, changed, or ignored altogether, the Church ends up in chaos and unable to present a life-changing Gospel Message to the world.
In addition, the conflict in the UMC has become a significant distraction for Quest’s mission and ministry of “making disciples who are making an impact” in this world. Our staff, along with our Church Council, have spent a majority of their time focused on the conflict and impending split in the UMC. They have done this to protect and preserve Quest Church and its future mission and ministry in this community and world.
For these reasons, we cannot remain a part of the UMC. It has become abundantly clear to our staff and Council that it is time to separate ourselves from this conflict, in order that we might move on in our stated mission. Our consciences will not allow us to be a part of the division and constant distraction any longer. We must remain focused on what God has called us to do as Quest Church.
Why have I not heard more about this until now?
Our Senior Pastor has shared general information about the state of the UMC several times in past worship services (pre-COVID) and church-wide emails. At that time, he mentioned that there were issues in the UMC, and that Quest was exploring its options related to these issues. However, it hasn’t been until this past year that our senior staff and Church Council have considered disaffiliation. This is because our North Georgia Conference had not clearly offered this option. We were exploring other options to separate from the UMC, however, those other options are not available to us. The only clear option before us as a church to separate from the UMC is the disaffiliation process. Since we have officially begun the disaffiliation process, we are now sharing this information with you. We have been working with a leading disaffiliation attorney to guide us. The attorney will represent us through the entirety of this process.
What happens next for disaffiliation?
On November 7, 2021, our lay-led Council voted to officially begin the disaffiliation process. On November 8, a letter requesting this was sent to our District Superintendent. The letter requests that he call a “Church Conference,” whereby all “members” of Quest Church can vote to disaffiliate. Only members are allowed to vote, per our UMC Book of Discipline and guidelines for disaffiliation provided by our Conference. A two-thirds majority vote is required to move forward with the process. If that number is not reached, Quest cannot disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church. Quest’s Church Council has requested that the vote be held in January 2022. Our District Superintendent has scheduled the vote for January 30, 2022 at 7 pm.
Who can vote?
While anyone is welcome to attend the meeting where the disaffiliation vote will be held, only “professing members” of Quest Church can vote. Professing members are those who have officially joined Quest Church. If you aren’t sure of your membership status, please contact Sarah MacDonald, our Executive Pastor.
If I am a member, do I have to be present in-person to vote?
What happens following the Church Conference?
Once Quest holds a Church Conference vote to disaffiliate whereby two-thirds of the present and voting members approve of the disaffiliation, Quest will enter into an “agreement” with the Conference Board of Trustees for The North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church.
This agreement will spell out the details and legalities of moving forward, all of which we are prepared for. Part of this will involve a financial cost to leave the denomination. The cost involves an unfunded pension liability for the denomination and apportionments due per the agreement. These are obligations Quest pays to leave. They honor the system we’ve been a part of for so long and helped to build and grow Quest to the place we are today. Quest has the funds available to cover these costs. They will be coming from “undesignated” funds (cash reserves).
Following this, Quest will become an independent church, not connected to a denomination. While we are considering connecting to a denomination in the future, our leadership believes this step must happen first. At the appropriate time, we can then consider connecting to a denomination, if appropriate for Quest.
Can I get more information before the vote on January 30th?
Yes. Quest will be holding two “town hall” style meetings on January 23rd and 30th at 10 am (between our morning services). Please attend to learn more about disaffiliation and to have your questions answered. Childcare is provided for these meetings.
How will Quest be set up as an independent church and what will be our Christian “faith” beliefs?
Quest will have a governing “board” as an independent church. Our Christian faith beliefs will remain Wesleyan, as they are now. You can find links to our by-laws and “Faith & Practice” documents at the bottom of this page.
How will the new church remain financially viable, both now and in the future?
Quest will remain financially viable through your continued generosity. Your giving in the past, present, and future is what enables Quest to fulfill its mission and purpose. In addition, we will no longer pay apportionments to The United Methodist Church, which will enable us to give more to local and global missions we are already supporting.
What happens if we don’t disaffiliate?
If we don’t disaffiliate, Quest will remain a United Methodist Church and will remain caught up in conflict and division occurring in the denomination. In addition, our property will continue to be held “in trust” by the denomination and our Senior Pastor will remain under appointment and be moveable at any time by our Conference to another church. Furthermore, our staff and Church Council will continue to be distracted from leading us towards our primary mission as a church.
Is anything going to change at Quest because of this disaffiliation with the UMC?
Everything you probably know and love about Quest Church now will continue. Worship, Next Generation ministries, small groups, missions — everything — will remain the same. Our Senior Pastor will remain our Senior Pastor. Our staff will remain our staff. Our property and assets will be under the complete control of our local church body. Our legal name will change, though, from Quest United Methodist Church to “Quest Church.”
How do I transfer my membership from The United Methodist Church to our new church?
There is nothing you need to do. Unless you notify us, we will transfer your membership to the new church on your behalf. If you wish to remain a part of The United Methodist Church, we will be happy to help you connect with a local church in our area so that you can transfer your membership to that church.
What can I do to support Quest’s future?
Pray as we take this journey. Pray especially for our staff and Church Council. Be informed and present and prepared to vote at the appropriate time. Finally, continue sacrificially serving and giving to the mission and ministries of Quest.
follow-up & contacts
What if I have more questions?
In addition Quest will be holding two “town hall” style meetings on January 23rd and 30th at 10 am (between morning services). Childcare is provided. Please attend for more information and to have your questions answered.