To be effective, local church leaders should have a working understanding of United Methodist beliefs, organizational structures, and history. A good place to start is to read Let's Go Fishing: The United Methodist Handbook. This sixty-one page booklet provides a broad overview of the United Methodist Church. It outlines basic concepts of UM beliefs, history, and structures. There is also a lot of good information available on the umc.org website under the tabs "Who we are" and "What we believe". You may also want to take What it Means to be United Methodist, a free, four-hour online course offered by United Methodist Communications (UMCOM).