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United Methodist Igniting Ministry Campaign Offers Local Churches New Resources

United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information
810 12th Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37203
Web site:www.umc.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2005

Contact: Diane Denton
(615) 742-5406 (office)
(615) 207-9314 (cell)

United Methodist Igniting Ministry Campaign Offers Local Churches New Resources

NASHVILLE: The United Methodist Church is making new resources available for local churches in support of the denomination's national "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors." media campaign. Beginning in April, local churches can pre-order new ready-to-use marketing materials for use in their own communities.

"United Methodist Communications has produced a variety of tools to help local churches enhance their ministry. These are grouped together into a collection of materials all centered around a specific theme," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of the communications agency. "These resources offer new ways for churches to raise their identity, increase attendance, and strengthen their appeal to people who want greater meaning and purpose in their lives."

The first two themes, which are tied to television commercials that will air nationally on major cable and broadcast networks, are "The Journey" and "The Gift." "The Journey" explores the spiritual quest embarked upon by seekers who want answers to the hard questions in life. "The Gift" is about ways in which we pass on to others the spirit and significance of God's greatest gift, Jesus Christ.

Each set of materials, called an "expression package," includes a video for worship or small groups, training materials, a television commercial and radio spot, billboard, newspaper, cinema, web and direct mail advertising materials, worship graphics, a promotional product catalog, and other information.

The Igniting Ministry campaign is aimed at raising awareness of The United Methodist Church, reaching out to spiritual seekers, increasing attendance and renewing commitment among current church members. Research shows that the campaign, which started in 2001, increased first-time attendance at test churches by 19 percent. Overall attendance at those churches grew by 9 percent between 2001 and 2004.

The campaign has been so successful that church officials decided to significantly expand it and develop new components, such as additional tools like this new resource, to help nearly 36,000 United Methodist congregations connect their local efforts with the national campaign.

United Methodist churches will soon be receiving more information by mail about these resources. The packages are priced at $59.95, with a 10 percent discount available on materials ordered by May 31. Shipping will begin in June. The materials are available in both DVD and VHS format. To order, call 888-346-3862. Beginning in June, they will also be available through Cokesbury stores. For more information about the "expression packages," visit the website at www.IgnitingMinistry.org.