|Igniting Ministry ads reach Koreans in United States|
Television, radio and print ads in Korean are changing the way Korean
Americans view The United Methodist Church. A UMNS image courtesy of
A UMNS Report
By Kathy L. Gilbert*
Feb. 27, 2007
God is speaking Korean to people from Hawaii to New York in
television, radio and newspaper ads that welcome them to The United
Methodist Church and reassure them of God's love.
The ads are part of the denomination's national Igniting Ministry
advertising campaign that began in 2001 and is coordinated by United
Methodist Communications. The ads are available in English, Spanish and
Korean. The Korean-language ads began running in 2003.
Ninety-seven Korean American churches are using the ads with a goal of reaching almost 1 million people in 2007.
The campaign gives matching grants annually to churches, districts
and conferences to help establish an advertising presence in their
communities. The grants can be used for placing television, radio,
cinema, outdoor media or a combination of media spots. Igniting Ministry
will provide $94,573 to Korean American churches in matching grants in
This year, churches in Hawaii, Atlanta, Chicago and New York/New
Jersey are working in clusters to raise money for their local ads.
The Rev. Paul H. Chang
"It is presenting a new image of the denomination and local churches
in my area," said the Rev. Paul H. Chang, executive director of the
United Methodist Council on Korean American Ministries. "The Igniting
Ministry campaign is helping local churches connect to each other and to
invite more people."
In Hawaii, 10 churches raised $14,750 for advertisements that will
run in television, radio and newspapers during Lent. Twelve churches in
Atlanta raised $4,600 with plans to run ads from February to July. Fifty
churches in New York/ New Jersey raised $37,400 for ads set for March
and April. In Chicago, 18 United Methodist Korean American churches have
a budget of $10,000 and will run newspaper ads starting in May.
Sixteen individual Korean American United Methodist churches in other
parts of the United States also raised money and applied for the
The ads feature photos of Korean Americans and include various
written messages. For instance, the message "You Against the World"
reminds people that God is always there, even when we turn our backs on
Him. "United As One" talks about helping each other dream of a better
future together in God’s world.
Each ad ends with the words "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors, The People of The United Methodist Church."
The Rev. Seungwoo Cha, pastor of First Korean United Methodist Church
of Indianapolis, said ads published in his local community newspaper
have promoted "a positive image of The United Methodist Church."
"Our members are very proud of The United Methodist Church and they
find it is easier to talk about the church and invite family and friends
because of the ads," he said. The ad investment also helps support the
community newspaper, which presents the church in a positive light as
In New York, Korean American United Methodist churches using the ads
in an evangelism campaign say they are slowly helping change the way
Korean Americans see United Methodism.
"The United Methodist Church did not have a positive image in the
immigrant community because it was viewed as a declining mainline
denomination," said the Rev. Harkbum Chang, pastor of Grace United
Methodist Church in New York.
The Korean Church in Atlanta, where the Korean population has grown
44 percent over the last three years, added 400 new members during 2006,
partly with assistance of the Igniting Ministry campaign, said the Rev.
James C. Kim, pastor of Korean Church of Atlanta.
"First-time visitors always ask us about the ads," Kim said.
*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
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