The United Methodists are growing their congregations (40,000+) though an innovative campaign aimed at 18-35 year olds that highlights service. Larry Hollon is the exec in charge and he says young people are hungry to give back so many of them are turning to well-equipped United Methodist congregations to do it. Could my church become more appealing by highlighting service? Larry says, you bet – and he tells us the hows and whys behind Rethink Church.
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The United Methodist Church’s 2-year old ‘Rethink Church’ campaign has been such a hit that HQ is readying to launch Version 3.0. It’s a comprehensive program that aims to 1) provide local churches with ways to invite seekers and, 2) revitalize congregations through outreach initiatives. When I heard about the success of this program I had to call and talk with Larry. Here are my notes:
Doing Comes First
Research done by the ‘Rethink Church’ folks shows that many of America’s unchurched young adults are looking for ways to give back. Larry says these folk are looking first to do – to make a difference in the world – before they look to any other aspect of a church.
The First 30 Seconds
United Methodist congregations are being taught to pay attention to the first 30 seconds and the first 15 feet of a newcomer’s experience. Inside these boundaries impressions so deep are formed they can be impossible to change.
The Methodists have an online course for seekers – the first class had 4,000 members. It’s taught by experts - what a great way for denominations to use technology to reach inquirers.
About Larry Hollon
The Rev. Larry Hollon is the chief executive of United Methodist Communications, the global communications agency of The United Methodist Church. In May 2009, he led the launch of Rethink Church, a new advertising and welcoming campaign targeting 18- to 34-year-olds that seeks to redefine church as an out-of-church 365-days-a-year experience where people are actively involved in the world beyond. Since being named general secretary in 2000, Hollon has overseen the creation of more than $40 million in ADDY® Award-winning advertising that has significantly raised public awareness of The United Methodist Church.
Books Larry Recommends:
Real Time Connections - Bob Roberts
Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations – Robert Schnase
Change the World - Mike Slaughter
Sponsors I Mentioned:
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