Throughout last week, Craig Groeschel- Pastor at Lifechurch.tv wrote a blog engaging some issues and thoughts on the United Methodist Church. You can read through his post here. Groeschel began his ministry in the United Methodist Church before becoming a church planter. It was interesting to read through some of his thoughts- and read the comments from others both in and out of the UMC. This week, I want to put some of my thoughts down on the topics that Groeschel writes about. The first thing that Craig wrote about was Financial Resources.
Craig brought up the Rethink Church advertising campaign that the United Methodist Church recently spent $20 million dollars on. He suggested that rather than spending the $20 million on a advertising campaign that $20,000 could be given to 1000 new church plants. Groeschel wrote that starting a new church is easier than revitalizing an old one.
I really felt strong about the money the UMC spent on an advertising campaign. I thought it was a waste of money. (Kind of the like the Census Bureau creating a Super Bowl Ad- why is the government paying for a commercial??) $20 million dollars could have been spent more effectively- whether putting it into new church starts as Groeschel suggested or by injecting it into leadership training for annual conferences and clergy in the four areas of focus of the Rethink Church campaign (Growing congregations, becoming leaders in the world, addressing poverty and fighting disease). I personally have seen little to nothing happen in our local church or conference around this theme of Rethinking Church- or the four focus areas.
That said, there are areas where more inertia could be created within the United Methodist Church. First, is the Nothing But Nets campaign. I have seen the campaign referenced in numerous places in the media and otherwise. The campaign provides nets for people in high-risk areas of malaria. This is the kind of ministry that young adults who are unchurch or nominally churched can get involved in. The Nothing But Nets campaign could be a "door" for people to enter the UMC rather than a commercial. This campaign and others (debt relief, anti-sex trafficking, HIV/AIDS ministries) are the places where we can "be the church" rather than attending a church.
What do you think? Do you like spending $20 million on an advertising campaign? How could the denomination do a better job of 'being the Church?"