Main organizational level of the United Methodist Church; most are technically called "annual conferences," while some are "missionary conferences."

Within the United States, a conference will cover a state, several states, or portions of a state or states; for example, the Virginia Annual Conference covers the entire state roughly from Blacksburg east, and the Holston Conference covers the rest of the state plus East Tennessee, a corner of Georgia, and a sliver of North Carolina. Conversely, the entire state of Utah is merely a subdistrict in the Rocky Mountain Conference. Outside the U.S., a conference may cover a country or multiple countries, depending on the number of UMCs in the area.

Pastors are technically not members of the church or charge they serve, but rather members of the conference, because they itinerate among churches/charges. Bishops are assigned to episcopal areas, which usually (but not always) correspond to conference boundaries.

Conferences make up jurisdictions in the U.S.; all non-U.S. conferences are themselves part of larger Central Conferences. Conferences are subdivided into districts.