New Seeker Site, 'RethinkChurch.org,' Launched This Week
November 12, 2010
Young adult hub offers enhanced engagement features
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – UPDATED Nov. 12, 2010 | The United Methodist Church's revamped website for young adult spiritual seekers, RethinkChurch.org, made its debut on Friday, November 12. This is the website's beta launch, a period when the website is fine-tuned amid real-world exposure.
"Research shows that young adults tend to embrace their digital and physical worlds as one," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. "This age group favors exploring new concepts and ideas in the digital space in which they are comfortable, and they make decisions based upon these experiences."
RethinkChurch.org features more engagement capabilities and content offerings than its seeker site predecessor, 10thousanddoors.org. Visitors may read, watch, comment, and interact on topics that are important both to them and to The United Methodist Church – from the environment, to global health, to disaster relief. An interactive map connects seekers to a church in their area.
The map allows users to search for a local church based upon parameters such as distance and ministry offerings. These ministry offerings are imported directly from a church's Find-a-Church profile, which co-exists on UMC.org. Churches which update their profiles with comprehensive ministry information, including outreach programs, websites, and service and event schedules – will be more likely to show up when a user searches for a specific ministry. Find-a-Church profiles are free and are updatable at anytime at Find-a-Church.org.
While RethinkChurch.org is designed to serve a young adult seeker audience, the content is also relevant to young adult United Methodists, who are encouraged to interact on the website.
"We're creating a digital pathway into the life The United Methodist Church, and that can only be authentic when we're engaging with seekers within the space we've invited them to visit," said Hollon.
Registering as a user is the first step to engagement on the website. Users then may enhance their personal profile by adding photos, videos, areas of interest, and more. Once registered, a user may start or add to conversations.
The RethinkChurch.org website is included in a full-page advertisement that will appear in the print edition of USA Today on Nov. 12. The ad reads, "1 in 3 of the world's population live on less than $1 a day. Should we live more simply so others may simply live?"
This advertisement is the first in a series scheduled to appear through January, both online and on radio. Messaging, informed by research that says 18- to 34-year-olds desire to make a difference with their lives, emphasizes living more simply so that we ultimately may focus attention on the needs of others.
Meanwhile, congregational resources for the Rethink Church advertising and welcoming campaign have moved to a new website address: umcom.org/rethinkchurch (though the resource site content remains the same). Resources include a Rethink Church overview and FAQ, church marketing tutorials, and advertising samples, graphics, worship aids, and more.
About Rethink Church
Rethink Church is the next evolution of The United Methodist Church's "Open hearts" welcoming and advertising campaign. It highlights the many opportunities available within United Methodist churches to engage with the world – from literacy programs to feeding the poor. Targeting a globally minded 18- to 34-year-old audience, Rethink Church advertisements appear in traditional and new media, and direct viewers to the website RethinkChurch.org, where visitors may interact, learn more about the church, and search for involvement opportunities. (Again, Rethink Church resources are available to local congregations at umcom.org/rethinkchurch.)