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United Methodist churches lack a culture for communications training

SUMMARY: Almost half of the pastors surveyed recently by United Methodist Communications indicated their church provided neither staff nor leaders with communications training during the past year.

Those who offered training highlighted effective leadership and welcoming. While the likelihood to provide training increased with church size, 29 percent of churches with average attendance of 500 or more said they did not provide any formal instruction in 2007.

Churches Not Sending Staff or Laity for Training



Under 100


100 - 249


250 - 499


500 or more


Looking toward the coming 18 months, more than half of the churches indicated they did not anticipate any training for staff and leadership.


Communications-related Training in Past 12 Months

Effective Leadership 54%
Welcoming 42%
New Worship Practices/Resources 32%
Membership Giving and Participation 30%
Computer Software 30%
Website Development 20%
Effective Outreach 20%
Creating Effective Newsletters 19%
Working with Journalists During Crisis 4%
Other 14%

The training conducted during the previous year focused on effective leadership and welcoming, followed by the use of new worship practices, promotion of giving and computer software.


Areas for Training - Next 18 Months

Welcoming 75%
Effective Leadership 73%
Membership Giving and Participation 69%
New Worship Practices/Resources 48%
Website Development 38%
Effective Outreach 36%
Computer Software 30%
Creating Effective Newsletters 27%
Other 8%
Working with Journalists During Crisis 4%

Among churches that anticipated training for staff and leaders, seminars on welcoming, effective leadership and promotion of giving tended to dominate.

These findings came from an online survey of pastors and church central offices. Invitations to participate were sent to 12,500 persons; 1,500 responded for a 12-percent response rate.