On December 15, Grace Fellowship United Methodist Church of Katy, Texas, voted to leave the United Methodist Church due to the increasing divisiveness over homosexuality within the denomination.
The 2,800-member congregation wants to remove itself from the rest of the church "so that we can fully devote our energies to fulfilling the mission and vision that God has given to us," Jim Leggett, the founding pastor of Grace Fellowship, told The Christian Post.
Leggett said he felt that the church was not being a good steward of its time and resources as it was too distracted by the ongoing debate.
"At one point, we looked up and noticed that we were spending easily 30 percent of our leadership meeting time discussing the issues of the UMC, and we realized that this was not good stewardship of our time and resources for the Kingdom of God," Leggett said.
He also said that the UMC has strayed from the standards set forth in the denomination's Book of Discipline.
"In the last year, it has become clear to us that despite having biblical standards of morality on paper in the denomination's Book of Discipline, the leadership of the United Methodist Church is unable or unwilling to live by those standards."
The congregation plans to join the Free Methodist Church, a smaller denomination with conservative leanings that was established in 1860.
It typically takes between one and three years for a church to join the FMC and includes a Memorandum of Understanding, which the FMC board says should be in place at the beginning of January.