Nashville, July 2019 – In its annual meeting in Nashville July 23-24, the Board of Directors of The United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH) endorsed major new initiatives to advance the mission of The United Methodist Church and keep pace with rapidly changing needs of churches and ministry leaders.
Approving plans to invest what will exceed $2 million, the Board unanimously endorsed special funding for Amplify (AmplifyEarlyAccess.com), a multimedia Internet-based platform with content developed through a Wesleyan lens for teaching, training, and making disciples of Jesus Christ. Churches may subscribe to the service, giving an array of their lay and clergy leaders quick access to up-to-date resources from their phones, tablets, laptops, and computers.
“Congregations are experiencing increasing disruption,” noted Reverend Brian K. Milford, UMPH’s President & Publisher. “As attendance patterns change, as program ministries are reimagined in light of cultural shifts, and as the availability of volunteer leaders demands greater flexibility, congregational ministries are in flux. Church leaders require new, customizable, technology-based solutions as they invite and nurture disciples of Jesus Christ, and we are serving them in fresh, fast, and affordable ways.”
Additional new products were highlighted, including:
-- Connected Faith (connectedfaith.com), a Bible study app for adults with new units available throughout the year. The app provides all participants digital access to the Bible, their own notes, a daily reading, and a group study guide.
-- Bible Story Basics (available at Cokesbury.com), a new three-year children’s curriculum for churches of any size that gives kids basic tools for reading and learning the Bible.
In other action, the Board reviewed the operation’s self-funded financial performance, set the 2020 fiscal year budget, approved reports to be submitted to the 2020 General Conference, and reelected Brian K. Milford as President & Publisher.
Milford announced a major UMPH research effort to gather information on new forms and experiments conceived and implemented in local settings across the U.S., especially in Christian faith development. The aim is to learn from successful ventures and identify the gaps and challenges churches are facing. For each, UMPH will organize practitioners and thought leaders to provide training, curriculum, and other program resources that churches want and need.
Board Chairperson Justice Cornelia Clark avowed that, “In the face of great variability, we reaffirm our commitment to what matters most in our mission and continue to seek new ways to marry our ministry’s sustainability with our delivery of the good news of Jesus Christ. God has entrusted us as the stewards of a 230-year-old legacy, and as God is always doing a new thing, so must we.”