Get welcoming help Dec. 8


Living Our Promise Igniting Ministry Training
Saturday, Dec. 8
Brandon First UMC
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
$40 per church
Scholarships available. Contact Gwen Green at 601-354-0515

By the Advocate
“Open hearts, open minds, open doors” are what The United Methodist Church promises through its Igniting Ministry television and welcoming ministry.

An upcoming Igniting Ministry regional training event will help local churches live that promise.

“Living Our Promise” training will be held Dec. 8 at First United Methodist Church in Brandon. Anyone interested in growing a more welcoming lifestyle – inside and outside the church – should attend.

“Many churches have their greatest number of visitors during Advent and Christmas. Igniting Ministry training teaches congregations how to prepare for, welcome and invite back their holiday visitors,” said Gwen Green, conference director of communications and training host.

Co-sponsored by United Methodist Communications and the Mississippi Conference, the event offers three different learning options (called “tracks”) held at the same time but in different rooms.

Track 1: Starting Out – An overview of the welcoming ministry of The United Methodist Church and the related advertising. During this time participants will learn how to use the Planning Handbook and get the basics of welcoming, inviting and discipling, Igniting Ministry style.

Track 2: Moving On – Churches already familiar with Igniting Ministry can get new ideas, plans and training options for their congregations. In addition to exploring the small group study, Beyond 30 Seconds: Developing a Welcoming Congregation, participants will consider how to help their congregations deal with the changes that come with being more welcoming and inviting.

Track 3: Living Up – Churches explore how their core values and ministries create a unique community image and identity in the context of “Open hearts, open minds, open doors.” Congregations interested in reshaping that identity will take home helpful ideas.

“The A2 assessments and subsequent follow up with A29 reveal that most of our churches are challenged by their lack of understanding of their core values. No church can become viable and healthy unless it knows what its true values are and what its mission or calling is,” said Dr. Embra Jackson, administrative assistant to the bishop.

“Igniting Ministry training will provide our annual conference a unique and cost-effective means of learning about core values and how this sense of unique identity is vital for churches. This training has the potential to assist our churches in becoming disciple-making centers that truly have open hearts, open minds and open doors.”

One church already involved in Igniting Ministry is Ellisville First UMC, which was recently certified a “Welcoming Congregation” by UM Communications. The church received a plaque to place in the church. The award was earned by submitting an application showing how the church has met the required criteria.

Larry Hygh of the California-Pacific Conference, Billy Reeder of the Arkansas Conference and Danette Howell of the Southwest Texas Conference will serve as trainers at the December event.

Registration fee is $40 for each local church, plus $10 per person for lunch and snacks. There’s one registration price per church to encourage churches to bring as many people as they wish.

Every church that registers receives an updated Igniting Ministry Planning Handbook and a DVD of all the “open hearts” television spots.

Churches should choose a team leader to register all team members for the event. If people from the same church try to register individually, they may be charged for multiple transactions rather than being linked to one main registration for the church.

Purchase Igniting Ministry training materials during registration at special pricing and pick up the items at the training event. Simply select what you want to order and submit the information with your team’s registration.