Church Launches Advent Ad Campaign

November 25, 2009

Nov. 24, 2009 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)

What if you went shopping for hope instead of giving in to hype this Christmas?
How much difference could you make in the world?
The United Methodist Church encouraged people to think "outside the gift box" to make Christmas more about substance and less about stuff as it launched its Advent advertising campaign airing on CNN Headline News Nov. 24-Dec. 27.
The Rethink Church commercial features a homeless woman with a shopping cart.
Christmas music is playing in the background. The message rolls across the screen: "This Christmas, remember those who are shopping for hope, acceptance and love." The commercial directs viewers to for more information.
United Methodist Communications is also providing links to video stories related to each week's Advent themes - promises, salvation, repentance and servanthood. 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."
Rethink the holidays
In addition to advertising, United Methodist Communications is offering a four-week series of lectionary-based sermon starters to equip pastors as they help congregants navigate the spiritual pitfalls of a hectic and emotionally challenging time of year.
Each sermon starter features a preaching focus, a response, suggestions on multimedia 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. Pre-sermon questions and post-sermon activities are included.
If pastors choose, congregational responses to those questions can be used during the sermon to give 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.
Beyond church walls
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. The resources include 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," Hollon said.
All resources are free, downloadable and available at