United Methodists Unite to 'Change the World' in April

January 21, 2010

Impact Your Community on April 24-25

United Methodists everywhere are encouraged to begin planning now to participate in Change the World, a church-wide event on April 24-25 in which members will join with others in the community to make a difference - both locally and globally.
What if … on one weekend all around the world, 11 million United Methodists came together to work with their local communities? 
What if … as we serve people locally, we unite globally to eliminate a preventable, treatable disease that kills one child every 30 seconds? 
During the April 24-25 weekend, United Methodist churches are encouraged to create and participate in a service or fundraising event that helps effect positive and long-lasting change - whether it's revitalizing a food pantry program, creating a new ministry to help the homeless, or increasing awareness of global health issues such as malaria. Churches may utilize existing ministries or initiate a new outreach event.
"'Change the World' challenges the people of The United Methodist Church to see the world holistically by giving and serving beyond the four walls of sanctuaries and Sunday school classrooms," says the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. "Our hope is that not only will church members participate, [but that] they will invite neighbors in the community to work side-by-side with them to make a sustainable difference in diverse ways.”
Imagine No Malaria
On April 25, World Malaria Day, The United Methodist Church will formally launch a $75 million campaign called Imagine No Malaria, to eradicate deaths caused by malaria. Churches are being asked to host events such as camp-outs - in which those taking part would experience sleeping under bed nets as do the families in Africa who rely on mosquito netting for protection against malaria. These events will help raise awareness and funds to support Imagine No Malaria.
The April Change the World event was created in partnership with Imagine No Malaria and the United Methodist Publishing House, as part of the Rethink Church campaign. The concept for Change the World originated with the Rev. Mike Slaughter, lead pastor at Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City, Ohio (named one of the top 50 churches in the U.S. by Church Report). Last October, Slaughter hosted the Change the World conference and authored a book by the same name that aligns with the vision of Rethink Church.
"The way we love is by serving people, especially the poor and marginalized," Slaughter says. "The church in the world needs the reputation of being a community that helps people … a community of people that gives hope and that functions as salt and light in its neighborhood."
The Rethink Church campaign is seeking to utilize outreach events that embrace the concept of outward bound church, to make a positive difference in the world beyond the church doors. Rethink Church advertising will complement the April events, giving churches an opportunity to take advantage of the buzz generated by the ads.
Getting Started
Churches are asked to get started now, by:
1. Considering how your congregation currently impacts its community. Do you have a food pantry, a clothing closet, an ESL program, a tutoring program, etc.?
2. Scheduling an activity for an existing or new outreach ministry on either April 24 or 25, 2010.
3. Inviting both your congregation and local community to be involved.
4. Using the Rethink Church World Malaria Day (April 25) Sermon Starter, available soon on www.rethinkchurch.org/changetheworld.
5. Collecting a special offering to combat malaria.
There is one body in Christ, and throughout the United Methodist connection. We can sense its heartbeat in a coordinated event such as Change the World!
For more information about Change the World, or to learn more about how you can create an event for your church, go to www.rethinkchurch.org/changetheworld - or send an email to changetheworld@umcom.org.