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Church announces $2 million advertising push, ‘The Journey’

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Courtesy of Igniting Ministry

"The Journey" commercial shows several people following various trails of items.

Aug. 22, 2005

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church will begin airing its newest television commercial Aug. 29, inviting millions of Americans to join in a journey of faith.

The spot, titled “The Journey,” is the newest element of the denomination’s advertising and welcoming ministry, said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive at United Methodist Communications. The agency manages the ministry with the theme of “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.”

“We are on a journey that leads us toward God,” Hollon explained. “This spot shows that persons seeking a path for their faith can find a home in the United Methodist Church.” The commercial, shown in 15-, 30- and 60-second versions, shows several people following various trails of items. The paths come together with an invitation to visit a United Methodist church.

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The Rev. Larry Hollon

The commercial will air on 18 cable networks, including three Hispanic networks, Aug. 29 through the week of Sept. 18. Hollon said the commercial would broadcast more than 1,200 times during the back-to-school period. The denomination is paying $2 million for the advertising time.

In addition to the national campaign, United Methodist Communications has awarded grants totaling nearly $313,000 for 64 local media campaigns across the United States. The local campaigns involve a mix of advertising media, such as local broadcast and cable television, billboards, radio and cinema. Every dollar provided by the national agency is matched by a dollar from local United Methodist organizations.

Any United Methodist local church or organization with a television, radio, outdoor or cinema media plan is eligible for a United Methodist Communications matching grant. A maximum of $50,000 can be awarded. Applications will be available Nov. 1 at for the 2006 Lenten season media campaign. The deadline for applying is Dec. 1.

Hollon said the new commercials are designed to appeal to people ages 25 to 54. The commercials are the first element of a new wave of advertising by the nearly 11-million member denomination. The next national flight of commercials will air between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The denomination plans to spend up to $25 million on advertising between 2005 and 2008.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
Courtesy of Igniting Ministry

"The Journey" is the newest element of the "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors." advertising and welcoming ministry.

The United Methodist Church began its “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.” advertising and welcoming campaign in 2001. Research by Ventura, Calif.,-based Barna Research Group showed the campaign increased first-time and overall worship attendance in 150 test churches across the United States between 2001 and 2004. Tracking will take place in 300 churches during the 2005-08 period.

The commercials will air on A&E, ABC Family, Animal Planet, BET, CNN and CNN Headline News, Discovery Channel, Fox News Channel, Hallmark Channel, Home and Garden Television, The History Channel, Lifetime Movie, TBS Superstation, TNT, TV One, USA Network, The Weather Channel, and WGN Superstation. Spanish-language commercials will be broadcast on Telefutura, Galavision, and Univision.

The commercial will have the most airings, 264, on CNN and CNN Headline News, followed by 138 on The Weather Channel.

This story was adapted from a press release from United Methodist Communications.

News media contact: Stephen Drachler, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5411 or

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