Times Square ads invite young adults to “rethink church” (Methodist style)

If you’re in Times Square this summer, you may see ads for the United Methodist Church‘s “Rethink Church” campaign on the CBS “Super Screen.”

That’s the 26-by-20-foot screen on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues.

Two 15-second ads per hour will appear 18 hours a day through Sept. 30.

The Rethink Church campaign is designed to appeal to 18- to 34-year-olds who seek “spiritual fulfillment” but have their doubts about church as they’ve known it.

This month, the spots ask “What if church was a literacy program for homeless children? Would you come?” and “What if church considered ecology part of theology?”

The spots refer people to the UMC’s new website, 10thousanddoors.org.

The Rev. Larry Hollon, head of United Methodist Communications, says about Times Square: “Times Square is an ideal fit for our Rethink Church campaign. You’ll find people of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities in Times Square, and we want to tell each of them, ‘There’s a place for you in The United Methodist Church.’”

Watch out for random acts of kindness

I mentioned recently that the United Methodist Church is starting a new national ministry called RETHINK CHURCH,  which begins Wednesday, May 6 with a major advertising campaign.

As the denomination explains it: “RETHINK CHURCH seeks to redefine the church experience beyond the church doors and invite people to become engaged in the world. The campaign aims to spark a global conversation around the rhetorical question, “What if church were a verb?””

They say the idea is to inspire church members AND the unchurched to become more engaged in their communities and the world.

Here in the New York Conference of the UMC, the campaign will begin on Wednesday with YouTube, iPod and other digital media aimed at people 18-36. RETHINK CHURCH ads will also appear in subways, train stations and on taxis.

And then there is this: 200 volunteers will spread out across Manhattan and perform random acts of kindness.

How will New Yorkers respond to random acts of kindness? I hope to find out.

Introducing the United Methodist (Rethink) Church

The United Methodist Church has started an interesting campaign to get people to…Rethink Church.

The idea is to get people to think about church as  a verb instead of a noun — a way to connect with people.

A United Methodist News Service story explained: “The campaign is designed to redefine church as a 365-days-a-year experience where people seeking a church community can become involved at various levels – many of them non-traditional – such as volunteering with groups outside the church building and even through making online connections.”

The denomination has unveiled a new Rethink Church website called 10THOUSANDDOORS.COM (as in, “What if church wasn’t just a building, but thousands of doors?).

“Faith itself is a bridge by which we see God and the work of God present in our world,” says the Rev. Larry Hollon of United Methodist Communications. “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 whole Rethink Church thing is starting this Saturday (April 25), when United Methodists are being asked to skip lunch and spend the $10 saved on a mosquito net to prevent malaria in Africa.

The United Methodist “Nothing But Nets” campaign is here.