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Church Hosts Harry Potter Fans at Halloween

Each October, a Massachusetts congregation transforms their space into Hogwarts, and invites the community to spend a magical day with them. View

The choir of Rhems United Methodist Church in New Bern, N.C., sings an anthem on Palm Sunday. The rural church has seen its ministry grow with the addition of Karen refugees from Burma. Photo courtesy of Rhems United Methodist Church.

Refugees revitalize country church

The movie “All Saints” shows how Karen refugees saved a church. Rhems United Methodist Church has a similar story and a personal connection to the film. Read More

Members of Embrace Church in northern California’s Bay Area pose for a group selfie. The new church, which launched officially in July 2015, began as a small group of Oakland Korean United Methodist Church. Photo courtesy of Embrace Church.

How to reclaim the church-planting tradition

Methodists once planted at least a church a day. Today’s United Methodists are recovering their heritage — with a modern twist. Read More

Worshippers join in prayer at Impact Church, a United Methodist church in the Atlanta suburb in East Point, Ga. The church is one of the fastest-growing Protestant churches in the United States, and is an example of the strength of United Methodist new church starts. Photo courtesy of Impact Church.

Growing impact of new churches

In all the news of shrinking U.S. church attendance, it’s worth noting that starting new churches is an area where The United Methodist Church shows strength. Read More

Edward Ainza, center with flags, and other members of the dance group at International Methodist Church Oslo perform a praise song during Super Sunday worship on May 21. The multicultural church, which shares space with the first United Methodist church in Oslo, is one of Norway’s fastest growing. Photo by Heather Hahn, UMNS.

Growing church blends cultures, worship

What does church vitality look like in Norway? One example is a United Methodist church that combines hip-hop, K-Pop, and multiple nationalities. Read More

The Rev. Junius B. Dotson, top executive of Discipleship Ministries, lays out his agency’s plans to help United Methodists reach people for Jesus. He addressed his agency’s board in Nashville, Tenn. Photo by Heather Hahn, UMNS.

Discipleship exec: ‘Stop fixing churches’

The Rev. Junius B. Dotson, top executive of Discipleship Ministries, suggests how the church can shift to conversation to reaching people for Jesus. Read More

Elizabeth Knotts, 6, collects the offering at New Hope Valley United Methodist Church in Valley Furnace, W.Va. For the third consecutive year, a record number of U.S. conferences paid full apportionments to support general-church ministries. 2015 File photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Record number of conferences give 100 percent

The denomination in 2016 saw the highest total payout rate to general church funds on record. Giving is robust even as some worry about the church's future. Read More

Elysia, 2, hugs a state flag during a visit to Ox Hill Battlefield Park, Fairfax County, Va. More than 1,500 soldiers were killed or wounded during this Civil War battle on Sept. 1, 1862. Photo courtesy of Seth Cooper.

20 ways to reach out on Veterans Day

November 11 is Veterans Day. Learn ways individuals and congregations can engage in ministry with U.S. military, vets and their families. Read More

The sanctuary of Oconee Street United Methodist Church in Athens, Ga., shortly after the fire on April 15, 2013, (left) and back in use on Sept. 11, 2016. The cross survived. Photos courtesy of the Rev. Lisa Caine and Heather Hahn

How a church fire sparked congregational growth

A Georgia church’s experience offers lessons for faith communities overcoming disaster. Read More

Names of those killed are etched onto the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. Photo by Fran Coode Walsh, United Methodist Communications.

15 years later: United Methodists remember 9/11

In an exclusive series, church leaders and members share personal accounts of what happened that dark day and how it impacted their lives and their congregations. More

Worshipers at Easter fill Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church in Atlanta where attendance has been on a steady rise. Photo by Joseph McBrayer.

A faux pas in the pew: What to do?

We all want to see more people in church, so what are the best ways to be welcoming and patient year-round? 'Ask Amy' advice columnist has tips. Read More

Nashville church welcomes Pokemon Go players to its campus to show interest in them and to promote the church as a place of inclusion. Photo by Steven Adair, United Methodist Communications.

Pokémon Goes to Church

"However we can interact with people, we are called to do so in a loving way," says one church that is welcoming players of a new mobile phone game. Read More

The choir’s view of Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Ark., often is packed pews. The church’s experience attests to Barna’s findings that spiritual development and community draw young adults. Photo courtesy of Andrea Wymes

What draws people to church? Poll has insights

Barna survey identifies spiritual development and welcoming communities as the top reasons young adults will head for the pews. Read More

Leaders of SpiritSpace and their families prepare sandwiches to hand out to homeless individuals. SpiritSpace is among the new church starts in Portland, Ore.,  bringing people into Christian community.  Photo courtesy of the Rev. Beth Ann Estock

To reach ‘nones,’ try experimental churches

Portland, the host of the 2016 General Conference, is on the leading edge of finding new ways to do church for people who do not like church. Read More

Hammerfest, Norway, is home to the world’s northernmost United Methodist ministry. Photo by Karl Anders Ellingsen

Northernmost United Methodist congregation thrives

North of the Arctic Circle, this church in Hammerfest, Norway gives young people a warm reception. Read More

With a strong belief in social outreach, members of First United Methodist Church in Portland volunteer at the Oregon Food Bank in Beaverton, Ore. Photo by Mark Ohlson, courtesy of First United Methodist Church

How a church shares faith where faith is suspect

The United Methodist church closest to the 2016 General Conference site in Portland, Oregon, is defying local religious trends. Read More

United Methodists choose from a variety of Halloween traditions, including costume day at preschool. Photo by Alison Worden.

Churches choose creative options for Halloween

Many congregations offer events that celebrate life rather than death, provide safe fun for children, or make the day one to give as well as get. Read More

The ‘why’ behind the Vibrant Church Initiative

Twenty-nine congregations in the Texas Conference said “yes” to the VCI process which provides resources, strategies and support to church leaders who participate. Read More

Diane Nichols, left, Rev. Bryan Dalco and Rev. Gary Lindley pose for a commemorative photo after signing documents that will merge two historic Central Texas Churches. Photo courtesy of Bryan Dalco.

One plus one equals New Church Start

When two historic churches, including one of the original congregations of the Black Methodist Church, voted to be one, it led to an exciting “new vision of ministry.” Read More

New Church Lawrence in Kansas is comprised of about half college students and half members of the community. Photo courtesy of New Church Lawrence.

New church bridges ages in college town

New church in Lawrence, Kansas didn’t have to choose between catering to students or the local population but is a happy mixture of both. Read More

Worship at Providence United Methodist Church in Mount Juliet, Tenn. takes place in a middle school.Today the church has a regular attendance of about 1,000, but it has delayed building a church to focus on mission.  Photo courtesy of Providence United Methodist Church.

New churches rise, but overall vitality dips

New churches often are the most vital and can play a key role in reversing membership declines, church leaders say. Read More

Hispanic man sits in church pew in Michigan. Courtesy: United Media Creations.

Being United Methodist: Hispanic/Latino Ministries

Members share their challenges, and success stories, working with neighbors. “Being Hispanic is not actually easy. It's hard sometimes.” View

The Rev. Stephen Handy prays with the staff of the YouthWorks mission camp at  McKendree United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn.  Photo courtesy of McKendree United Methodist Church.

United Methodist church vitality increases in U.S.

Between 2010 and 2012, the denomination more than doubled its percentage of ‘highly vital’ congregations in the U.S. Here’s what makes churches vibrant. Read More

The Rev. Jerry Herships (left) offers communion bread to a homeless man in Denver. A UMNS photo by Carey Moots. ; A UMNS photo by Carey Moots

Church vitality: Professions of faith rise

Churches in the U.S. are reaching more people. For the first time in 11 years, conferences report an increase in professions of faith. Read More

Mentoring vital to keeping ministry alive

When done right, mentorship can help young clergy through challenging times. Does The United Methodist Church Read More

Despite declines, signs of vitality in 2012

Leaders of conferences that saw growth last year offer advice to the majority that saw dips in membership and attendance. Read More

Church vitality: From ‘dying’ to ‘reborn’

Failing German congregation had planned to sell its building, but God had other plans. Last year the church was re-consecrated. Read More

Pastor Russell Clark of the United Methodist Church of Reddick (Fla.) welcomes new members, Lannie and Erin Thompson and their children.

Church vitality: What is the secret to growth?

Florida pastor sees congregation grow by 25 percent in one Sunday as he does 'what a pastor is called to do.' Read More

Members of the “Sittercize for the Saints” group at Killearn United Methodist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., exercise in the Asbury ministry building.

Steps for vital older adult ministry

United Methodists observe Older Adult Recognition Day in May, but churches can reach out to older members all year long. Read More

Church vitality: How do you define it?

Leaders across the denomination ponder that question even as they try to increase the number of highly vital churches. Read More

The 2012 State of the Church Report focuses on Vital Congregations

Responding to the call for more vital congregations in The United Methodist Church Read More

Ministry boosts small church vitality

Hinton Rural Life Center, a United Methodist retreat, offers resources and training to strengthen country churches. Read More

Cultural change seen as key to vital church

Focus is on what steps The United Methodist Church needs to take beyond restructuring to reverse U.S. decline. Read More

Ethnic groups offer ideas for vital church

National plans for ethnic/racial ministries are growing churches and planting new ones. They should be part of any new structure, groups say. Read More

Vital Congregations Website Empowers Churches

A new website aims to equip and empower local churches to become vital and healthy congregations. UMVitalCongregations.org is designed to help churches move through a process of evaluation and assessment as they begin to set goals, and then find key resources to help them achieve those goals. Read More

Keys to building vital congregations

Topical preaching, varied worship styles, effective lay leadership are characteristics of growing churches. Read More