NASHVILLE, Tenn. –– Research conducted by UM Communications reveals widespread denominational support for the Church’s four Areas of Focus, adopted by the 2008 General Conference.
“The research shows that most respondents believe that the Areas of Focus are very important for the church,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of UM Communications. “But we also heard that knowledge about the areas is still somewhat limited.”
Support is uniformly strong for three of the four areas: engaging in ministry with the poor, developing principled Christian leaders, and creating new places for new people/revitalizing existing congregations. Fewer people indicated that combating diseases of poverty is very important for the denomination, although many who indicated that initiatives are not important said they lacked enough information to have an opinion.
Although respondents reported limited knowledge of the four Areas of Focus, they indicated greater familiarity, however, with initiatives affiliated with the areas, including the Nothing But Nets anti-malaria initiative and the Rethink Church advertising and welcoming campaign.
UM Men participation
Developing principled Christian leaders for the church and the world
• Train UM Men leaders for ministry of Jesus Christ through Advanced Lay Speaking Course.
• Recruit and train men’s and scouting ministry specialists to serve in every U.S. annual conference by 2012.
• Train and equip leaders in Central Conferences in scouting and men’s ministry with on-site visits and on-line courses.
• Train youth to be effective, caring leaders in church and community through ministries with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire, and 4-H.
• Provide on-line training for men’s ministry specialist.
Creating new places for new people and revitalizing of existing congregations
• Awaken and build men spiritually as a means to revive congregations.
• Train clergy and lay leaders in effective discipleship of men.
• Encourage and equip men to serve their pastors and congregations as ministry partners.
• Assist UMC leaders beyond the U.S. with relevant training and resources.
Engaging in ministry with the poor.
• Train UM Men leaders to become advocates and friends of the poor, and eliminate the effects of poverty and racism.
• Expand U.S. hunger relief efforts through Society of St. Andrew.
• Support the children of incarcerated parents through Amachi, a program of Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
• Expand global hunger relief through Stop Hunger Now.
Combating the diseases of poverty by improving health globally
• Direct UM scout troops in advocacy and fundraising for Nothing But Nets.
• Care for hearing-impaired Haitian children through Hope of Hearing.
• UM Men cooperated with the UM Board of Church and Society to gain FDA control over tobacco.