A partnership between the Metro District, United Methodist Communications, and the Oregon-Idaho Conference is offering a new kind of invitation to Christmas. Four weeks of multi-media advertising will offer the chance for those who don’t have church home to explore and learn about The United Methodist Church.
The contact points for the advertising will be ads on the outside and inside of MAX trains and on the inside of Tri-Met buses as they travel to district. In addition billboards, digital advertising and playbills at holiday music programs will also invite people to “Find something new in a familiar story.”
The advertising directs viewers to www.RethinkChurch.org/PDX where they will learn about how United Methodist Churches in this area connect to the community, showing their compassion and commitment to “be Christ” to the world.
Local churches will be connected to the campaign by outdoor banners that use the same design as the billboard and transit advertisements. And full page ads in the Oregonian, Portland Tribune and regional newspapers will invite people to join United Methodist Churches on Christmas Eve.
The campaign is designed to reach an audience that is spiritual, but does not participate in a regular church connection. Research shows that this audience, especially the younger “seeker” group, wants to be able to self-discover about something and make their own choices. That is why this campaign offers a “soft” invitation that allows seekers to learn about the church and make a choice to learn more. This group isn’t interested in brand loyalty or a sense of duty. Instead they want to find a personal relationship with God and with others. And they value community connection and service in a church.
Funding of over $125,000 for the program has come from the conference’s Igniting Ministry fund, the Metro District Extension Society, the Bishop’s Fund for Boldness, and a matching grant of 150% from United Methodist Communications. UMCom will be doing statistical research before and after the advertising to gauge the impact. In addition to the financial support, UMCom has provided the graphic design, advertising management and website resources for the campaign.
You can see more versions of the advertising, and download resources for your local chruch on the Metro District web page.