The United Methodist Church launches $20 million 'Rethink Church' advertising campaign
NASHVILLE, TENN. (May 1, 2009) /PRNewswire/ — Rethink Church, the next evolution of The United Methodist Church's "Open hearts" welcoming and advertising campaign, will kick off on May 5 and 6 with major launch events in New York City and Washington, D.C., and other cities nationwide.
Audiences will see and hear more than $20 million in new advertising over the next four years on television, radio, print, and in new media, including banner and keyword advertising on major secular Web sites.
The messaging, targeting 18- to 34-year-olds, highlights the many opportunities for involvement within United Methodist churches - from community hunger programs to basketball leagues. Meanwhile, the denomination is engaging in dialogue within its churches about enhancing those opportunities.
"We aim to reach young adults who are not familiar with church, who are concerned about the world in which we live, who want to make their lives more meaningful, and who have a deep yearning to connect with God and with a community of support," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. "We also hope to reach people inside the church who will reassess what it means to be people of faith."
More than 40 United Methodist bishops from around the world will mark the Rethink Church launch on May 5 when they visit day laborers at three sites in and around Washington, D.C., during the Council of Bishops meeting. The bishops will serve breakfast to the laborers, and offer conversation and prayer. Later in the day, bishops will meet with lawmakers to support legislation consistent with the priorities of The United Methodist Church concerning children, health care, and poverty.
On May 6, more than 100 United Methodists will take to the streets of New York to perform random acts of kindness including hailing cabs, opening doors, and more. The street teams will also give away music cards — good for one song download — that promote www.10thousanddoors.org, a new Web site where the church is directing persons via Rethink Church advertising. The site encourages exploration of the diverse ways United Methodists are making a difference in the world, and invites participation, discussion, and action.
"We are saying that there are 10,000 ways to become engaged with the church," said Hollon. "Whether it's helping to provide an anti-malaria bed net for a child in Africa, volunteering to help in the community, or joining a church's recreation league, we want you to feel welcome. There is a doorway through which you can approach The United Methodist Church."
New research conducted by The Barna Group on behalf of United Methodist Communications found that 66 percent of young adults surveyed were searching for meaning and purpose in their lives and 62 percent considered themselves "spiritual." Two in three said there were specific events or times in their lives when they were more likely to search for spiritual answers. But 78 percent said they never attend church, or only attend once in a while. The Rethink Church campaign aims to bridge that gap.
"We've heard the concerns of young adults searching for meaningful ways to change the world, and to find meaning and purpose in life with friends who care about them," said Hollon. "We want to provide the invitation for people to make that kind of connection within The United Methodist Church."
About The United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church has more than 11.5 million members internationally and is in mission in more than 125 countries. It is the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.