UMCom, United Methodist Communications, has launched Digital Solutions as a network of technological tools and services for ministries.
The "digital solutions" serves as a readily available resource to assist churches of all sizes and ministries as a way to connect entire denominations and to provide affordable ways to use the Internet. UMCom's goal is to help every congregation in the United Methodist Church fulfill its mission of making disciples with the support of digital means.
"It's clear that the future of ministry in the church is going to be, in part, through providing digital information to people," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, UMCom's chief executive. "It is really a personal experience. It is a relationship through technology to the church and to its history and even to other people."
UMCom's TechShop provides an assortment of affordable computer products and services to United Methodist churches in the United States. The agency sells to churches first-rate desktop and notebook computers at very low prices because of the support from leading tech companies.
"The ministry has saved congregations nearly $20 million in the past five years."
"The Digital Solutions effort is a step toward the fulfillment of the mandate given to UMCom by the General Conference several years ago to wire the church," Hollon said.
"The opportunity for us to be connected as a church and to extend the community of faith has never been as great as it is today," he added. "It is a joy for United Methodist Communications to be in a position to assist local churches to develop Web sites, purchase new equipment and underwrite ministry in new ways."
UMCom is also helping conferences outside the United States enhancing their ability to communicate in culturally and technologically appropriate ways.
The new packages provided include movie, music and book reviews, United Methodist News Service syndication, Web-building tools, church management tools and online training resources. New products give local churches the ability to develop worship materials, prepare presentations, create newsletters and e-mail messages, locate church organizations and simplify the completion of forms.
Most of the new changes are reflected by their newly upgraded website at UMC.org, the official denominational site.