Notices — Aug. 12, 2004 {136}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Notices — Aug. 12, 2004

Aug. 12, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0136}

An e-Review Feature

Igniting Ministry Open House Month features new way to celebrate, Spanish-language ad

By Tita Parham**

ORLANDO — Each September during the United Methodist Church's Igniting Ministry national media and welcoming campaign has been designated Open House Month at United Methodist churches across the country. This September is no exception, but this year's Open House Month includes both a new initiative and television commercial.

Sept. 12 is National Neighborhood Day, and United Methodists are encouraged to coordinate a special neighborhood activity that day as one way to participate in Open House Month.

Open House Month has been designated a time for church members to make a concerted effort to invite people to their churches and reach out to their communities. National Neighborhood Day is one way churches can accomplish that goal and help communities become better acquainted with the United Methodist Church.

National Neighborhood Day is a national initiative led by staff, sponsors and advisors who focus their efforts on helping residents and groups coordinate communitywide activities one day a year-the second Sunday in September.

The day's goal is "to bring neighbors together and to help enhance neighborhood connections," according to the National Neighborhood Day Web site. "Neighbors knowing neighbors improves neighborhood connections; connected neighborhoods lead to more effective communities; effective communities strengthen our nation as a whole. This ripple effect from our own neighborhoods to the larger world outside is what Neighborhood Day promotes."

Suggested activities for the day include coordinating a neighborhood block party, battle of the bands, food drive, yard cleanup, blood drive, voter registration drive, spaghetti supper, neighborhood lemonade stand, tree planting or bike trail repair. Additional suggestions are listed at

Televisions commercials will also air in September, which marks the fourth year of the campaign. The ads will be the first of a series of three shown during the year. Messages will run for two weeks beginning Sept. 6 on 15 national cable networks. The commercials include the newest Spanish-language spot, "You Don't Have To."

More information about Open House Month and suggested church activities are posted at The new Spanish-language spot can be heard at

 Research says 2001-2004 Igniting Ministry goals met or exceeded

By National Igniting Ministry Staff

NASHVILLE — The United Methodist Church is better known and seen in a more favorable light since the beginning of the Igniting Ministry media campaign, according to the newest research released by The Barna Group. 

The Barna Group stated in its annual report "the messages being communicated are understood, and better still, are believable and important to the audience. These messages also appear to be effectively shifting people's attitudes about The United Methodist Church."

The report shows awareness levels are at 19 percent, up from 3 percent in 2000. Willingness to attend a United Methodist church is at 49 percent, up from 35 percent in 2001. And first-time attendance in test churches is at 19 percent, up from 14 percent just a year ago.
The media impact research performed by Barna surveys both 1,200 unchurched individuals across the United States and more than 160 test churches that track first-time attendance.

According to Barna, "overall, there has been significant and favorable growth in the perceptions of The United Methodist Church since last year and especially since 2002. Exploring the differences between 2002 and 2003 we found that eight of the nine perceptions had become more favorable, well beyond the range of sampling error. Furthermore, the increases in the positive positioning of the United Methodists are even more substantial when compared to 2002."

The full report is posted at

Foundation introduces new Web site with features for churches and individuals

By Suzanne McGovern**

LAKELAND — The Florida United Methodist Foundation has launched a new web site at to assist local churches and conference agencies with loan, investment, stewardship/fund raising and planned giving activities.

"The site is organized so that both churches and individual donors can use it," Foundation President Tom Marston said. "We encourage our church and conference constituents to establish a link to the site to take full advantage of the many services offered online."

Marston said churches can research such topics as fund raising, stewardship or borrowing by browsing the "Information for Churches" section of the site. They also can access information on how to launch a building and loan program or establish a permanent endowment.

The site enables individual donors to explore new ways to give to local churches through planned giving, according to Marston. Of particular interest is an online planned giving calculator that allows visitors to determine how a charitable gift annuity, remainder trust or lead trust could be implemented for the benefit of the donor and his or her family, as well as the donor's local United Methodist church.

Marston said visitors to the site will be able to download a number of useful resources, including bulletin inserts, video clips, brochures and handbooks that can be used by church finance or planned giving committees. 

"We hope the online services will make the Foundation more accessible to more people," Marston said. 

For more information visit or contact the Foundation at 1-800-282-8011, extension 106.

Agency provides free resources for men's ministry 

By Kathy Gilbert**

NASHVILLE (UMNS) — The Commission on United Methodist Men is offering a free electronic newsletter to provide clergy with "tools" to help them reach out to men.

Power Tools, a monthly e-mail newsletter launched in June, provides clergy and other interested people with ways to begin or expand men's ministries.

In spite of the declining number of members in U.S. churches and the fact that only 30 percent of United Methodists are men, pastors receive very little training in men's ministry, observed the Rev. Kwasi Kena, a staff executive with the churchwide commission.

Kena noted that when he was in seminary he took courses in Greek or Hebrew, church history, preaching, Christian education, children's ministry, youth ministry and sacred music, "but no course in men's ministry or men's studies was even offered."

"I conducted an Internet search for men's studies courses in today's academic world recently, (and) I was shocked to find that not much has changed in the past 15 years," he said. "In short, this means that male and female clergy routinely complete seminary without getting any tools in their toolkits for men's ministry. It's time to close the men's ministry gap."

The first issue of Power Tools provides: resources to start a men's ministry; resources to observe the newly created, optional Men's Ministry Sunday; four building blocks of a successful men's ministry; a men's ministry action plan; ways to get connected to United Methodist Men; information about T-Quest, a spiritual life resource for small groups; and information about Strength for Service to God and Country, a book of daily devotions for members of the Armed Forces.

"When it comes to men's ministry we cannot afford to settle for 'wishing and wondering,' " says Kena, editor of the resource. "We hope that readers will find the content of Power Tools to be challenging, informative and motivational. Our aim is to help you develop life-changing ministries to and through men in your local church and community."

To order the free resource, e-mail and put "power tools" in the subject line.


*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
** Parham is editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service. McGovern is associate vice president of planned giving-communications. Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service staff writer.

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