Church training whether delivered live, online or through do-it-yourself opportunities—aids local church leaders in gaining the knowledge and skills they need to be effective in today’s ministry landscape.
In 2020, United Methodist Communication’s Training Team saw a surge in church leader training interest as churches sought to keep members and staff safe due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns. In response, the team launched a new set of online courses and updated others to assist leadership tasked with creating and maintaining engaging online worship experiences in a socially distanced world.
Last year alone, the agency trained 4,930 leaders which was double that of the previous year.
“We want to serve as the trusted contact point for learning opportunities for church leaders across the connection,” shared Director of Communications Training and Development Jeremy Brown. “Our daily objective is to create innovative training resources that help them connect and communicate for engagement with church members and seekers in their community, reach out beyond the church’s walls and share God’s love through the latest digital tools.”
United Methodist Communications’ self-serve online training courses are currently provided complimentary to United Methodist church leaders. They offer professional instruction with the added benefit of convenience to accommodate busy schedules.
Training topics are vast and include teaching on subjects such as remote worship, capturing photos and video, giving communication, whiteboard presentations and social media. Those unsure on where to begin may wish to consider starting with the top three courses: Digital Media for Ministry, Launching Your Church Website and Effective Technology Tools for Churches.
At the end of 2020 the team partnered with three unique United Methodist annual conferences to develop and facilitate virtual learning days tailored to church leaders in their areas. These opportunities included multiple virtual leader workshops about specific facets of communication including leading successful online worship, digital storytelling and Facebook Groups for ministry. The team is poised to continue to work with annual conferences and their district offices on crafting special learning days and multi-week training courses in 2021 and beyond.
“We get ideas for training courses through research, our colleagues and church leaders that we come in contact with, innovative communication trends found both in and out of the church,” adds Brown. “In fact, they have partnered with United Methodist Communications’ Local Church Services Team for additional learning resources.”
“We are always open to entertain suggestions from church leaders regarding communication training topics,” adds Brown. “Course creation depends on many different factors but we value input from local churches on what they believe is needed to equip them to meet their community’s needs. Ideas can be sent via email.”
This year may be proving to present a variety of challenges for the world, but the United Methodist leadership community can rest easier knowing that they have support to help them in navigating the ever changing communications needs of the church.
The Training Team completed their first ecumenical virtual communications learning conference in April 2021 with a second slated in the fall. The focus of the conferences is next level communication techniques for churches. Look to United Methodist Communications' Press Center and Facebook page for announcements. Specifics on upcoming conferences and training opportunities are updated on the communications training site.
For more than 80 years, United Methodist Communications has been leading the church in telling inspirational stories of God’s work in the world through The United Methodist Church, reaching new people, supporting local churches in vibrant communications ministry, equipping leaders and delivering messages of hope and healing. This essential work requires financial support. If you believe in our mission, consider a tax-deductible donation to the work of United Methodist Communications through its Foundation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.
*Brenda Smotherman is a senior public relations specialist at United Methodist Communications.