UMCom Feature Archive

Feature Stories

  • 2014 web hosting reviews for churches
  • Shopping for a new web hosting solution is tough. So instead of delving into the exhaustive web hosting abyss, we considered the church's needs first and offer several affordable solutions.  
  • Current graphic design trends in 2014
  • Like most artistic expressions graphic design goes through changes that reflect the spirit of the times. Learn about and view several examples of the most current trends in 2014.  
  • Creating an ebook step-by-step
  • With the rise in eBooks, you may wonder how hard it is to put one together and sell it. The answer is, “Easier than you think.” Here are tips, tools and techniques to help you develop an eBook with ease!  
  • 3 simple rules of social media
  • The rules from Wesley, the founder of Methodism, are simple: "Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God." Check out the ways to follow these simple rules when using social media.  
  • 5 freebies to grow ministry
  • Check out these five free resources that you can easily access from United Methodist Communications to help your ministry grow in reach.  
  • Be a better email communicator in 2014
  • Email has slowly become the primary communication channel for many churches. Are you sure people read your emails and act appropriately? Learn how to increase engagement now! 
  • 5 social media guidelines for churches
  • Sometimes the most difficult part of managing social media is figuring out how to actually use it to effectively build relationships without crossing any lines. We encourage you to use the following guidelines.  
  • Online security for churches
  • Churches produce and store large amounts of information. What happens when computers crash, viruses attack and hackers hack? Are you prepared to stop these problems or repair a broken system? 
  • Is your Facebook page reaching fewer people?
  • Does your church have a Facebook page? If so, you might notice a decrease in reach due to some recent changes to the site’s EdgeRank algorithm. Learn what happened and also a few tactics to grow your reach organically.  
  • Game Changers Summit
  • Dreamers and doers gather to harness the power of communications technology, September 3-5, 2014, in Nashville.
  • 6 digital tools to build community in small groups
  • Small groups can be key to the spiritual development of individuals and growth for churches. However, hectic schedules can make it difficult for individuals to meet regularly. Here are six ways to connect small groups digitally.  
  • 8 tips on developing church survey questions
  • If used properly, research can be a powerful tool in your communicator’s toolkit. Yet, research is only as good as the methodology and questions you ask. Learn the best practices for church survey design.  
  • Breaking the chains of clip art for free
  • You can always go to places like iStockPhoto to get quality images quickly. However, if you spend a little extra time and employ a more critical eye, you can get the same (or close to the same) quality for free.  
  • Cultural trends you may have missed
  • These emerging trends may not be prevalent in your ministry, but perhaps they are visible in your community. How will your church respond and proactively serve?  
  • 4 sermon series to connect with millennials
  • Millennials aren't looking for better advertising or a pastor who wears skinny jeans, but depth in relationship and a church involved in its community. Here are some sermon ideas to help your outreach.  
  • Web design trends for 2014
  • Are you designing a new website for your church? Does your outdated website need a new look? Consider these web-design trends for 2014.  
  • Learning from Googlers
  • What insights could a company like Google offer the average church that has one to three staff members, a budget definitely not in the billions and a focus on reconciling people with God? A whole lot.  
  • You don’t have to spend big to get BIG
  • With the advances in printing technology, churches can afford to print big. Don’t limit your thinking to walls. Large-format prints can be applied to vehicles, floors, countertops, window clings and backlit signs.  
  • Taking inviting photos of your church
  • Carelessly photographed church pictures can convey a negative message. Here are tips and techniques to take the best photos of your church — photos that will welcome people before they ever set foot in the doors.  
  • "Steve Jobs" your church
  • The strategies and techniques that Jobs employed to make Apple Inc. such a success offer three inventive lessons that churches can use to thrive in ministry.  
  • 7 common pitfalls in marketing blogs
  • A blog is your personal stage for the world. However, if only a few people know about your blog, your stage becomes a milk crate in your living room. These common pitfalls hinder people from marketing their blogs efficiently.  
  • Connecting with the "unplugged" in your church
  • While today’s technology allows for richer communication options than ever before, studies have shown that the digital divide is still very real. Here are ways to improve your communication with those who are "unplugged." 
  • SMS texting: 7 new ways to reach church members
  • Ever need to need to send an announcement or an alert to your congregation quickly? Short Message Server (SMS) text messaging could be the solution. Conduct live surveys, collect sign-up information and do much more.  
  • 5 ways to use hashtags
  • Hashtags are everywhere. What started on Twitter as a way to categorize topics and conversations, is now a very useful tool on multiple social networks. Learn why you should be using this little pound symbol in every post. 
  • Engage in global mission without leaving your church
  • An online mission “trip” is a sacrifice of time and could include Skype calls, video testimonies, online prayer rooms and more. Get your tech gurus excited and involve people unable to be part of a typical on-site mission team.  
  • When to end a ministry or program
  • Managing local church ministries or programs is a lot like flying an airplane. There is the thrilling season of takeoff and soaring to new heights. Eventually, however, every ministry or program must descend and head for the runway.  
  • Church management software key to managing business
  • A good church management software (ChMS) system can streamline business processes and increase giving opportunities. Here are several other reasons to consider using ChMS, along with tips for implementing a solution.  
  • Back-to-school outreach ideas
  • Back-to-school time offers an incredible opportunity to reach out to your community. Many congregations sponsor drives for supplies and clothes to outfit returning students. Here are a few additional possibilities.
  • When to redeem or replace church volunteers
  • Addressing moral failures, policy violations, lack of competency and other issues is about as fun as a root canal, but it’s also necessary. These four insights may help a difficult process unfold in a healthy way.
  • Watch “ A Killer in the Dark” on NBC Stations
  • This compelling documentary, produced by United Methodist Communications and narrated by Pauley Perrette, features diverse voices working together to stop this preventable and treatable disease that still claims a life every 60 seconds.Learn what people like you are doing to take down the real Killer in the Dark – malaria.
  • Improve your church website's search results: SEO Guide
  • If someone moved into your community and Googled "churches in [your city],” would they find you? People search for everything. Does your website offer answers to questions that people are asking? If it does, can people find them?
  • 15 low-cost or free Web-based tools for ministry
  • With all the apps available online, it's difficult to know which ones will be most helpful. So we swam the sea of Web-based tools and discovered some fabulous low-cost or free options that will hopefully benefit you.
  • Cool tools to make your own infographics
  • An infographic is a storyboard in one image, loaded with information. With great tools like these, making your own infographics does not require graphic-design training or html knowledge.
  • 8 Ways to connect young adults to the church
  • During the coming summer, young adults in your church, as well as their friends, may have time – and skills – to share. Create opportunities for young adults to engage with the church and community.
  • Google+ basics and benefits for churches
  • Google+, Google’s social network, is growing by about 12 million active users per month. If your congregation isn’t already logging onto this expanding site, here are some reasons you should consider using Google+.
  • Top email service providers for churches
  • Are you looking for a better way to spread the word about announcements or to organize events for your church? Sending a professional looking e-newsletter can be easy with the help of a good email service provider.
  • 5 Instagram tips for churches
  • Instagram is like a fun, digital Polaroid without the wait. Take a photo with your mobile device and apply filters to make it look vintage, weathered or enhanced. Engage your friends, like their photos and reach potential church visitors!
  • Give your church bulletin a facelift
  • Perhaps it is time to evaluate your bulletin and look for ways to improve it. Here are some ideas for increasing the effectiveness of your worship bulletin.
  • GC2012: Watch behind the scenes
  • Photo gallery of United Methodist Communications’ staff working during the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Fla.
  • Five Worship Trends for the Unattached
  • After the welcome they receive, worship is often the dominant impression the unattached will remember if they visit a church. Many worship-committees today are shaping their services to be more accessible to this group. How does your church minister to the unattached?
  • 2011: UMC Year in Pictures
  • See a slideshow of how United Methodists around the world reacted, and reached out, as events unfolded in 2011.

  • Hollon named top communicator
  • The Rev. Larry Hollon was called “a passionate voice for communications as a ministry.” Athey and Whiting were inducted into Hall of Fame.
  • The Church & Immigration
  • Learn about the issues of immigration through the eyes of The United Methodist Church.  A UMNS / UMTV / UMC.org special feature.

  • Pruning your programs to grow
  • Think about discarding a few of the things that aren’t working anymore. Not only will you create space to try new things, but you’ll also give God more room to work.
  • Blog: The Global Cry for Economic Justice
  • Larry Hollon believes that faith is about how we understand our place in the world in relationship to God and to each other. Work is, or should be, a concern to religious believers because it so intimately connected with human dignity and justice.
  • Moodle 100: Basic Training
  • This instructor-led, online course prepares you to develop online courses or Bible studies using the open source management system, Moodle.
  • Watch the world change before your eyes!
  • In large and small ways, people are doing what they can knowing that changed lives can change the world.

    Change the World is an annual global event of persons doing what they can locally to make an impact globally.
  • Web Ministry 100: What is Web Ministry?
  • It is more than just having a Web presence or website. It is about using the Internet tools of the 21st century to engage with members, reach out to seekers and share the good news of God's love 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.
  • New! Welcoming Certification Process
  • United Methodist Communications is pleased to announce a new online process for new and renewing welcoming certified congregations. Instead of the “paper and pen” process we have been using over the last 10 years of the program, we have moved everything online using our Online Learning Center.
  • Church planting for cheap
  • If you want to reach people where they are, constructing a church building may not be the first step. As the song says, “The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is not a resting place, the church is a people.”
  • Blog: When grief strikes workplace
  • When life seems broken in a way that leaves us feeling too exhausted for the journey, a community of support provides strength beyond our own.
  • Hope for Haiti
  • Sometimes prayer brings miracles -- other times it brings heavy machinery. 1 million homeless. 4,000 schools closed. 1,000 new cholera cases daily.
  • Season's Greetings
  • Larry Hollon and the staff at United Methodist Communications share the Christmas story and a holiday message.
  • 7 practical elements of welcoming
  • The ministry of welcoming is the responsibility of the entire church family, not of a committee or a few volunteers. Remember these seven elements.
  • Help members experience a peaceful holiday season
  • Some of your church members are dreading the coming holiday season because they are struggling financially or spiritually. Making a few adjustments to your holiday events can help bring peace and joy.
  • Harvest time: Are your programs producing?
  • The big questions for evaluating programs are: “Is the program or ministry working?” and “How can it work better?” Fall is the time to harvest crops. It is also a good time to see if your church’s ministries are producing the harvest you want.
  • Social media etiquette handbook
  • Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums or websites, proper etiquette can set the tone for how people view you and your church.

  • 8 church communication faux pas
  • Effective church communication is more than preaching a sermon that inspires. It requires careful planning and consideration of your audience. Here are eight common church-communications blunders to avoid.
  • Facebook fans rank favorite hymns
  • It’s “A Mighty Fortress” for one person, “Fairest Lord Jesus” for another. They’re answering the question, “What is your favorite hymn in The United Methodist Hymnal?”
  • More Bang For Your Graphic Design Efforts
  • Graphic designers enhance the message of your church’s communications tools. People “read” visually before they look at the text. Even with a limited budget, quality graphic design is important.
  • Special Sundays Fund-Raising Ideas
  • Encourage individuals and families in your congregation to try the following ways to make a difference through churchwide Special Sundays with offerings.
  • Is Your Blog Bearing Fruit?
  • OK, so you have started blogging for your church. Now what? What results do you want? Are you getting those results? How should you measure your blog’s success?
  • InfoServ now offers online chat
  • InfoServ, the official information service of The United Methodist Church, now offers an online “Live Chat” feature that allows customers to communicate directly with representatives.
  • Church leaders rock to Rethink video
  • Opening with a booming countdown accompanied by stark red and black graphics, “Rethink Rock” is giving a new beat to “Rethink Church,” the denomination’s year-old welcoming and media initiative.
  • Preventing church volunteer burnout
  • Rev. Jeffrey Harlow, Brosville United Methodist Church, Danville, Va., says pastors and church staffs must make sure volunteers are not taken for granted.
  • Bullying: A UMNS Series
  • “Our faith puts kids at the center of the kingdom. Bullying is one of the biggest issues literally killing our kids. Why wouldn’t the church be all over this? Who better to care and to do something about it?”, says one pastor.
  • Imagine No Malaria
  • The Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive, United Methodist Communications, blogs about the campaign launch, with the online community of ONE.org.

  • Video Diary: DRC welcomes United Methodist Leaders
  • United Methodist Communications chief executive Larry Hollon tells the story of the fight against malaria in the Democratic Republic of Congo as 30,000 bed nets are distributed to families in the Bongonga community.
  • 7 ways to attract new members
  • Learn some ways how to invite people to become part of a ministry of the church as a way to develop and strengthen affirming and life-enhancing relationships.
  • Church marketing plan enhances outreach
  • One element that could visibly connect your ministries to the community is a marketing plan. A new online tutorial resource is available to help you customize your plan.
  • Change the world
  • Show how your congregation is making a difference on April 24-25, 2010. Build community locally. Fight malaria globally. Register now.
  • Tuesdays @ 10am Central
  • Free 30-minute Webinars hosted by United Methodist Communications to share up-to-date and relevant information, resources and tools that will enhance your church's communications ministry.

  • Haiti: The Church Responds
  • On January 12, 2010, Haiti was hit by a 7.0 earthquake, the worst in 200 years. As details emerge, we will continue to provide coverage of the church’s response.
  • Top Photos of 2009
  • A look back on the mission and ministry of the church in 2009 through images.

  • Rethink Church this Christmas
  • To help you connect your church with the national media effort, United Methodist Communications has created Advent resources specifically for use in the local church.
  • Churchwide Philippines Disasters Appeal
  • In late September, the first of four powerful typhoons hit the Philippines. At least 1,000 people were killed, and thousands more were displaced. The Council of Bishops has issued an appeal to provide humanitarian relief.
  • Writing Press Releases with Pizzazz!
  • When you pitch your church event to the media, nothing is more important than the press release you send to newspaper editors, news/feature reporters and television producers.
  • '> Social Media: What's the Hype?
  • Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn. Flickr. Ning. Wordpress. Podbean. YouTube. The list of social media tools goes on and on. What are you waiting for? Get connected.
  • 2010 Interpreter Enrollment
  • We now offer each local church 5 print and 5 digital subscriptions. Interpreter magazine is provided through the World Service Fund and is a great resource for your church leaders. Renew your subscription today!
  • Church Video License
  • Does your church use movies in sermon or Sunday School illustrations? The Church Video License provides legal coverage and permission. Get yours today.
  • Flip Camera: An Ideal Tool for Ministry
  • Sharing news is now as easy as recording a video clip and downloading it online via a USB port. Simple and inexpensive, the Flip camera is a perfect tool for ministry.
  • Faith Leaders Talk about Diseases of Poverty
  • Tony Blair Faith Foundation's Ruth Turner and United Methodist Church's Larry Hollon talk about the devastating effects of malaria on children and the fact that the disease is wholly preventable.
  • EcuFilm's Spring/Summer e-Catalog Now Online!
  • The new 2009 EcuFilm Spring/Summer eCatalog is now online. EcuFilm features DVD-based resources for small groups in areas such as faith & theology, Bible study, Christian living, youth and children.
  • Find-A-Church
  • Learn why Find-A-Church is important to the successful execution of the Rethink Church campaign.
  • UMCOR: The Best-Kept Secret!
  • Before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Pastor Darryl Tate’s hometown, he knew just enough about the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to get by.

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