Church’s UMC.org site gets new look, more features
Jan. 15, 2004
By Linda Green*
Tenn. (UMNS) — UMC.org, the Web site of the United Methodist Church,
has been redesigned as a place for people worldwide to meet and put
their faith into action.
United Methodist Communications, the Web site host, is relaunching the www.umc.org site Jan. 16.
will see a site with a new look and feel, said Steve Downey, Web
ministry leader at the agency. It will be more user friendly, offering
expanded news, analysis, leadership tools and other features.
redesign, the result of two years of research of user needs,
categorizes topics to make searches simple and to help clergy and
laypeople engage more effectively in ministry and fellowship, Downey
said. The site also will provide support for people on their faith
journey and opportunities to connect with a local congregation.
new UMC.org helps us all expand and strengthen the connection," said
the Rev. Larry Hollon, United Methodist Communications’ top executive.
"Our research indicated that many UMC.org visitors are seeking ways to
be connected locally, and the new Web site will be a virtual community
where the church can provide a place for people to learn, share and grow
The Rev. Larry Hollon
online door to the United Methodist Church draws more than 250,000
visits a month. Introduced in 1995, it was last redesigned four years
said the Web site has operated as a "card catalog" for churchwide
agencies and church leaders, but research showed that one-third of the
site’s visitors were United Methodists with no formal role in the
denomination. "They just wanted to know and understand their place in
the connection," he said.
people visit the Web site to understand what the 10 million-member
United Methodist Church is about and how they can become involved, and
for answers to spiritual questions, Downey said.
Research indicated that people around the world are looking online for spiritual clues.
makes the Web unique is that it allows people throughout the world to
be able to interact with one another in ways they have never been able
to do before," said Matt Carlisle, Web site executive producer. "It
brings a whole new component to spiritual development that allows people
to communicate with anyone in the world and share ideas."
of UMC.org’s tasks is to open lines of communications for people,
Carlisle said. Another role is to determine the needs of each individual
user and help that person become better connected to a local church.
"It is about getting connected with people and living out your faith,"
relaunch of UMC.org will enable people throughout the world to share
faith stories, pray, study, engage in ministry and learn more about the
church, Downey said. Many of the new features were done in collaboration
with other churchwide agencies.
included in the redesign are sites for the Council of Bishops, 2004
General Conference, InfoServ, the Korean United Methodist Church, United
Methodist News Service, the Korean United Methodist Church, United
Methodist Youth Ministries and the denomination’s Web Ministry.
staple items of the current UMC.org site, such as Find-A-Church, have
been enhanced. Other standard features, such as United Methodist News,
Today’s Devotion and Movie Reviews, have been reorganized so visitors
can find what they need easily.
Spiritual Journey" is a new feature enabling visitors to engage in
faith formation through prayer, listening to sermons from around the
world, participating in a test that assesses spiritual gifts and
learning how those gifts can be used. Another section will help people
cope with real life issues and get assistance.
interested in volunteer service will find local opportunities on the
site, and church organizations will be able to post their needs there.
reconnecting people with a local congregation is a goal, the site does
not replace church, Carlisle said. "It is redefining how you live out
your spiritual life online."
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer in Nashville, Tenn. News media can contact her at (615)742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.