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Involve Your Congregation

Nine years ago, The United Methodist Church introduced the "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors" welcoming and advertising campaign. The response was tremendous - increasing awareness of the denomination and welcoming newcomers.

Rethink Church takes the campaign to another level, positioning the church experience beyond sanctuary doors and inviting people to become more engaged in the world. "Rethink Church" aims to show seekers of spiritual meaning that in United Methodism's mission of world transformation, they may find hope.

The campaign seeks to reveal the church's action in the world around us – easing human suffering, feeding the physically and spiritually hungry, and spreading hope – as evidence that the denomination is a vibrant Christian movement in which seekers may discover rich spiritual meaning.

Rethink Church reaches out to 18-to-35-year-olds and other spiritual seekers via United Methodist Church messages in the media and over the Internet urging them to "Rethink Church."  The Rethink Church website at UMCom.org provides resources and examples of how The United Methodist Church is actively "rethinking church."  Your congregation is encouraged to utilize these resources in order to reach out to seekers by engaging community in service and action.  After utilizing resources such as Find A Church, event grants, and church marketing plans, you will be able to answer "Yes!" to these questions.

• Will seekers find you active in your local community, doing tangible things to better the human condition as a United Methodist means of spreading the gospel?

• Will seekers see your church as a base of operation to spread faith, hope and love, rather than simply a place to go on Sunday mornings?

• Will seekers see proof of the United Methodist claim that we are a denomination "unbound, outbound and active"?

For the church to be relevant to future generations, young adults must find us doing more than dutifully sitting in our pews for worship. They must find us inspired and energized to go into communities, neighborhoods, highways and byways as a powerfully Wesleyan way to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. "Rethink Church" presents itself as a challenge and opportunity to our local churches.

• Challenge: We know from research that 100 million young adults identify themselves as "spiritual" but see no role for church in their lives. They believe churches are indifferent or oblivious to the needs of the community. "Rethink Church" presents congregations with a challenge. It calls us to reclaim our Wesleyan DNA, get out of our comfort zones and go into our communities to make good things happen as our expression of love for Christ.

• Opportunity: Rethink Church will shine a light on all that is wonderful about United Methodism – its call to social holiness, personal devotion, and the transformative grace of God. This authentic faith is what seekers hope for and one in which they can be engaged. Turning media attention into a commitment to live faithfully is the great opportunity presented to your congregation. If you choose, you can leverage "Rethink Church" as a catalyst to increase your numbers and vitalize your congregation.