Products, resources help church leaders welcome, teach, learn
March 21, 2005
United Methodist Communications is offering resources and ideas to enhance spiritual development throughout the year.
By Linda Green*
United Methodist News Service
one of the biggest Sundays on the church calendar approaches, United
Methodist Communications is offering tips to help churches make visitors
feel welcome, along with resources to enhance spiritual development
throughout the year.
Through Igniting Ministry, the church’s
four-year old welcoming and television ministry, the denomination’s
communications agency is providing local churches with suggestions for
welcoming non-regular attendees on Easter. The ideas, along with free
Easter worship resources and Web graphics, can be found at http://www.ignitingministry.org/lent/.
we welcome people and engage them as first-time visitors is an
expression of our desire to incorporate them into our community,” said
the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive at United Methodist
Communications. “It’s very important to be sensitive to how we
communicate. In this way, communication becomes an expression of
April 1, Igniting Ministry will introduce “Expression Packages.” The
series of resources will help church leaders understand and use
biblical, emotional and strategic themes as they advertise their
ministry and welcome visitors. “Expression Packages” will be available
in DVD and VHS formats. Each package will also include a compact disc.
Shipping will begin in June.
“It is very important that we
communicate our openness to persons who accept the invitation to worship
and study with us and that we try to make their first-time visit as
affirming and welcoming as possible,” Hollon said. “The expression
packages and other materials attempt to equip local churches with the
tools necessary to present themselves in a consistent and integrated way
to make newcomers feel welcome and encourage them to become a part of
the community of faith.”
United Methodist Communications offers a growing selection of resources
to enhance spiritual development. The agency’s mandate is to inform,
inspire and engage individuals in transforming society and to help the
church fulfill its mission of making disciples for Jesus Christ. Stories
of hope, healing, redemption and justice are presented in many
Why? Teachings from the Tsunamis" is a DVD/CD collection to help
Christians understand God's activity in the midst of natural disasters.
produces audio/video materials, sells licenses and computer hardware
and software, develops Web sites, publishes church calendars, magazines
and other print resources, promotes special church emphases and seasonal
products, distributes news, provides welcoming and advertising
materials and offers training. The agency uses all its products to
inform and spread hope and inspiration to the 10 million members of the
United Methodist Church and to people beyond the church.
religious concerns dominate the news, and people are searching for
meaning in their lives in many ways,” Hollon said. “The church must be
attuned to this search and must communicate with people in formats and
language that encourage them to consider the faith community as a
helpful place to engage in the search for meaning.”
works in partnership with local churches to create effective resources
to communicate the Christian faith positively. “In a media-driven
environment, such as ours in the United States, this takes on critical
importance, because we must break through the clutter of messages in
order to reach people effectively,” Hollon said. “This is not an easy
task, and we can accomplish it only when we work together.”
Last January, the agency’s connectional giving team launched “Mission Moments & More.” Available exclusively at www.umcgiving.org,
the series provides a mission story and an offertory prayer for each
Sunday and brief articles for church newsletters. Pastors and church
leaders can use these to interpret the denomination’s connectional
"The Lord of the Rings: Exploring a Holy Trilogy" examines the themes and characters of the trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Moments & More” highlights the seven apportioned funds, the six
church-wide special Sundays with offerings and the Advance for
Christ and His Church and other avenues for designated giving in the
United Methodist Church.
Igniting Ministry, UMCom is helping the church live its promise of
“Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.” The church’s invitation to
seekers is offered through varied media, including television, newspaper
and billboard advertising. Training helps churches hone their
welcoming skills and reach out to their neighbors.
CDs and DVDs
are becoming the video media of choice. Two new productions will help
churches respond to the needs of people and make a prophetic witness in
“God, Why? Teachings from the Tsunamis” is a
two-session study. The resources on DVD and CD help Christians
understand God’s activity in the midst of natural disasters. Using
the South Asia tsunamis as an anchor, “God, Why?” offers practical and
spiritual answers to questions that arise when disaster strikes.
Lord of the Rings: Exploring a Holy Trilogy” is six-week DVD-based
study examining the themes and characters of J.R.R. Tolkien’s complex
trilogy. The study relates them to the Christian tradition.
seek to communicate about Christian faith in user-friendly formats and
in language that makes faith accessible to the audience,” Hollon said.
For more information on the services and products provided by United Methodist Communications, visit the Web site www.umc.org.
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.