United Methodist Communications Plans to Expand Global and Youth "Igniting Ministry" Outreach

Jun 13, 2003 11:11 AM EDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The United Methodist Church proposed plans to augment the influence of UM Communications through increased funding and support beginning in 2005. The expansion, if accepted by the church’s top legislative body next year during the quad-annual UMC conference, will include youth focused ads to appendage the present national cable television commercial “Igniting Ministry” advertisements for the denomination.

"We believe Igniting Ministry has been a significant factor in bringing people to our churches," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, UMCom's top executive. "In the past two years, we've heard many amazing stories of how the ads' messages have touched hearts and caused them to seek fellowship in our churches."

UMCom hopes $10.25 will be given annual for the program through 2005-2008.

Since the debut of Igniting Ministry in 2001, more than 92 million people have seen the denomination’s “open hearts, open minds, open doors” messages across the globe. Under the now expansion, Igniting Ministry’s core television element in the United States will continue to develop.

"To keep awareness of United Methodism and interest in visiting a congregation high and steady year-round, we want to augment Igniting Ministry's established three annual Lenten, back-to-school and Advent ad placements with 22 additional weeks of ads on cable news networks," said Hollon.

Additional components include the youth and global expansion to let “people of all ages and all over the world hear stories of hope, healing and redemption and a clear voice of affirmation and acceptance," Hollon said.

The Igniting Ministry Youth will aim at "getting youth to enter into a United Methodist youth ministry and giving them a reason to stay," he added.

The youth component would be a grass-roots effort coordinating church resources and advertising materials at the local scale.

According to Hollon, "a global component would involve four partnerships between United Methodists in the United States, Africa, Europe and Asia to establish a media presence."

The collaborative efforts between church leaders in the various areas will hopefully result in supportive and specific communications linkages and training, said Hollon.

"For U.S. partnerships, Igniting Ministry would create and place cable and broadcast TV spots; for partnerships outside the United States, we will collaborate with the people in those areas to produce appropriate communications systems," Hollon noted.

"The church is able to develop messages to communicate life-changing, life-affirming stories," he continued. "In these partnerships, we will develop this capacity further."

By Pauline J.