Henry Neufeld has an excellent post on how United Methodists define themselves. Or don't:
I attended two different United Methodist congregations off and on, and also went to small group Bible studies in both. When I had decided to rejoin the church, and specifically one of those two congregations I went to the pastors and discussed it. The first pastor told me that I would be welcome in his church no matter what. I explained that while I had been baptized, I had been out of the church for some years and wanted to acknowledge that. “We don’t care about that,” he said. “We just want you to enjoy our fellowship.” There was no discussion of my beliefs in any way. I’m not sure he had ever heard me affirm that I believed in God, though he knew I read Greek. I can testify that the two are not equivalent.
The second pastor sat down and asked me what I believed about Jesus. What a difference! We had a serious conversation. I even contested points with him. But at the end he knew that I did, in fact, believe in Jesus and was ready to accept me into membership. I joined the second congregation.
I suspect that the first pastor did not want to offend me by suggesting anything in particular I had to do. But by doing so he made me ask myself why I would join his congregation. What was the purpose? If it was merely to “enjoy fellowship” that wasn’t sufficient to me. By being open to all, I think he made the church seem to be unimportant and of little use.
Related thoughts from John Meunier.