A UMC.org Feature by Joe Iovino*
February 9, 2015

One Wednesday a year, sometime in February or March, you notice someone at work, school, or elsewhere with a smudge on her forehead. It looks as if she missed a spot when washing. Then you see another who looks as though he needs to glance in the mirror. By the time you see the third, you realize it is Ash Wednesday and these passersby must have received the imposition of ashes.

This practice we use to mark the first day of Lent may seem odd. People go to church mid-week to have a cleric place dirt on their foreheads.

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Everythign Must Chnage

Why Should Churches Plant Churches?
By Phil Longmire

·        Young Churches have the potential to bring many new people to our faith

·        Our church to population ratio is declining. This is based on the US census

·        America is still one of the greatest mission fields in the world

·        Because We Are Losing a Generation

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This is a good article by Phil.  I have not written much about new church plants lately but I believe that church multiplication is more important than membership multiplicaiton. Changing the established mainline church DNA will be a challenge.  The change will include celebrating new churches, intentionally seeding new churches with discipled tithing members, supportting new ministries financially and training senior pastors to encourage and nurture new church pastors. 

By Susan Passi-Klaus*
Oct. 2, 2008 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)

What if church wasn’t just a place where people spend an hour on Sundays? What if there wasn’t just one door into the church but 10,000?

And what if we began thinking about “church” as a verb instead of a noun?

The United Methodist Church is going to pose those questions and others when it rolls out a new media campaign in 2009 aimed at getting people to “Rethink Church.” The awareness campaign’s launch will coincide with World Malaria Day, April 25.

“In the next few years, we will seek to encourage a global spiritual dialogue,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, top staff executive of United Methodist Communications. “It will ask us to rethink church. We will ask, ‘What if church were a verb and not a noun?’”

Hollon and his staff presented the “Rethink Church” awareness campaign to the agency’s commission during a Sept. 25-27 meeting in Nashville. The Commission on Communication oversees United Methodist Communications, which is directing the campaign.

“What we’re going to try and get across is the idea that ‘church’ doesn’t just happen on Sundays, and ‘church’ isn’t just a building,” said Kerry Graham, president of Nashville-based Bohan Advertising/Marketing, which developed the “Rethink Church” campaign.

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This challenges self serving mission statements that some churches have adopted. The question is are we building communities of faith to transform the world or are we building social religious institutions? If we are building communities of faith we have to learn that it is a place of dwelling not visitation.

 writers-strike.jpeg

Feet and signs are visible behind a banner as pickets march outside the entrance to Twentieth Century-Fox Studios in Los Angeles as a strike by film and television writers got under way Monday, Nov. 5, 2007. The contract between the 12,000-member Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producer expired Oct. 31. Talks that began this summer failed to produce much progress on the writers’ key demands for a bigger slice of DVD profits and revenue from the distribution of films and TV shows over the Internet. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

This will give us more time to study the scriptures and spend quality time with our families.  This could be the perfect opportunity for a revival.   Prayer groups can conference call, online bible studies can add additional topics, and support groups for people addicted to television should flourish.  This is also a great time to desensitize yourself of all of the pre-advent marketing.

The writers strike gives us insight to the changing world of digital media and its effect on culture.  One of the challenges is that the mainline church has ignored the emergence of this culture and has a difficult time in reaching the masses whose lives are dominated by Iphones, ipods, email, text messages, Facebook.com, video web conferencing  and digitally downloaded movies to 5 inch screens.

Many mainline churches, especially urban and inner city churches,  struggle to hold a conference call, find it difficult to communicate to the congregation through email, don’t have a web site and also do not understand the value of having a web site. Churches that were previously vital and progressive in the 60s, 70s and 80s where the demographics of the community have changed can see the class and the ethnic differences but they miss the cultural shift that has allowed them to become obsolete and lack relevance to the community around them.

The writers strike will affect us.  The question is how will we make lemonade