New UMC website for youth
UM Web Site Opens Church Doors
There are thousands of ways to be church in the world, and UMs do not want to miss any of them in an innovative Web site inviting a new generation into a life of faith and service. Backed by a national advertising The UMC on April 20 launched www.tenthousanddoors.org. The site is part of the Rethink Church campaign, which is using nontraditional methods to reach young adults and others in relevant ways. There are more ways to enter church and begin a spiritual journey than just coming into the front door of a building, say designers of the interactive Web site. "Faith itself is a bridge by which we see God and the work of God present in our world," says the Rev. Larry Hollon, General Secretary of United Methodist Communications (UMCOM). "God is not contained in the walls of our sacred buildings. God is in the streets, at the well, in the least expected places."
The Web site, dedicated to helping young adults find new ways to connect to the church, offers hundreds of virtual doors that visitors can enter to allow them to make a difference in their lives and the world. A viewer entering the Watch Door is able to see video about people in their local communities and across the world who are making a difference. Video and stories range from people dealing with current events to a reporter visiting the dentist for the first time in five years. Have a question or an opinion about prayer, spirituality or current events? Click on the Talk Door and ask or answer away, or engage in a dialogue with others.
A virtual door called Now features the latest headlines, such as the flooding in the Dakotas, and allows users to see topical items of interest on Twitter. Through the "Friend Connect" door, site visitors can join several social networks and engage in real-time conversation about things that matter to them. The Find Door lets people interested in topics such as environmental issues, health advocacy, day care, disaster response and the arts type in a zip code and locate UM churches near them that offer ministries and opportunities around their areas of interest.
The campaign also is a response to the Four Areas of Focus. "Each of the four areas of focus is about creating engaged, active disciples committed to Jesus for the transformation of the world. The four areas are practical doorways," Hollon said. The method may be contemporary, but it promotes the work of faith in ways rooted in worship, prayer, service and Bible study—tenets of Wesleyan tradition. Faith is the bridge— the understanding, the vision, the hearing, the belief and the affirmation that God is in the world, healing, changing, forgiving, comforting and making people whole. —Linda Green, UMNS