Rethink Church this Christmas

United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information
810 12th Avenue S.
Nashville, TN 37203

November 23, 2009

Rethink Church this Christmas
2009 Advent Resources Help Deliver Christmas Messages

Nashville: The United Methodist Church begins its Advent television advertising campaigntomorrow with a new Rethink Church commercial that emphasizes the importance of giving of one's self at Christmas.

"This Christmas, remember those who are shopping for hope, acceptance and love. Find out how you can give of yourself," is the message that appears on-screen imposed against a poignant photo of a homeless woman with a shopping cart. The ad, which begins airing on CNN Headline News November 24 and continues through December 27, directs viewers to learn more. Banner advertisements will also appear online on CNN's home page.

In addition to advertising,United Methodist Communications is offering resources for local churches to help in creating and sharing messages to encourage their congregations to Rethink Church over the holidays.

Now available online is a four-week series of lectionary-based sermon starters written specifically to equip pastors as they help congregants navigate the spiritual pitfalls of a hectic and emotionally challenging time of year. The 2009 Advent series suggests rethinking themes of promises, salvation, repentance and servanthood.

Each sermon starter features a preaching focus, a response, suggestions on multi-media resources, and ideas for using social media (Facebook, Twitter, texting and e-mail) to engage people before the presentation of a sermon and to share messages and reflections after worship. Thought-provoking pre-sermon questions applying to weekly themes are included. If pastors choose, congregational responses to those questions can be used during the sermon to give real-life illustrations and attention to issues raised. Following worship, "tweets" that use quotes to summarize the sermon are encouraged so people can share the message of the Advent service with others. The resources also offer suggestions for post-sermon activities, which will allow worshipers to respond through action or contemplation.

United Methodist Communications is also providing links to video stories related to each week's Advent themes. Produced by United Methodist Television, these 90-second clips can be used in everything from worship settings to small study groups.

"These UMTV spots show how real -life United Methodists are living their faith across the world," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. "We're profiling real people trying to keep Christmas relevant and in their hearts year round."

In addition, the communications agency is offering other downloadable resources aimed at providing local churches with tools that enhance the worship experience, as well as promote living Christ's message beyond worship and church walls, including the new 30-second television spot, worship and bulletin graphics, customizable postcards, and newspaper, billboard and door-hanger graphics.

"These resources have been insightfully produced to inspire United Methodists in reexamining the traditional expressions of Christmas and in thinking "out-of-the-gift-box" for ways they can live and express their faith both in and out of church," said Hollon.

All resources are free, downloadable and available here. For more information, call (877)281-6535 or e-mail

Media Contact: Diane Degnan
(615) 742-5406 (office)
(615) 483-1765 (cell)

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