As the subject of a new ad campaign for the United Methodist Church (UMC), ReThink Church looks at the changing face of religion.
ReThink Church is launching a nationwide ad campaign that looks at the faces of “former prisoners, returning to help current inmates discover a new path, recovering alcoholics or serious drug users, heading back to the streets to help addicts find hope for a better life and millennials looking for greater meaning, as well as, a way to make their community, and their world, a better place to live.”
Whoever they are, they are changing the face of religion. Thus, they are the face of the ad campaign that will run nationwide through June 14th, digitally and in select cable markets.
“We believe that church can happen anywhere there is a need,” said Sherri Thiel, interim chief executive of United Methodist Communications, the denomination’s communications agency. “We have to go outside our churches to transform the world. Creating change is about putting our faith into action.”
“The idea of rethinking church dates back to the church’s founder, John Wesley,” Thiel added. “Even back then, church was about working to help those who need it most. Service is at the core of our faith. Today, we see many individuals helped by United Methodist ministries who end up getting involved with the church and supporting others going through situations similar to their own. Some of those people are featured in this campaign.”
The campaign features authentic examples of the changing face of religion such as:
• Jack Prichard — A former convicted felon, Jack spent years trying various religions and belief systems before returning to the denomination in which he was raised. Now a professional chef, he works with community projects to help those coming out of the prison system find a fresh start.
• Gary Basham — A recovering alcoholic, Gary met his wife when both were homeless. Now, with a family and their own home, they help others find a way out of seemingly hopeless situations.
• Matt Hooper — As a core leader of “Magic City Miracle” in Birmingham, Alabama, Matt joined a growing number of millennials looking for ways to put their beliefs into action.
• Rose Gailah — While in the process of adopting twin girls from her homeland of Africa, Rose’s family was devastated when one of the girls died of malaria before they were able to get her out of the country. The surviving twin, Grace, is featured in the malaria spot as a tribute.
• Marlene and David Ssembulime — The Nashville couple founded the “Raise The Roof Academy” in Uganda, David’s birthplace, to help bring more education opportunities to an area where 32 million children have no access to school.
Additional in-depth, documentary-style interviews will be made available via social media and the RETHINKCHURCH.org website. In these videos, individuals featured in the commercials will share their stories and the ways that religion helped transform their lives.
This campaign will speak to the paradigm shift about the concept of church that millennials and others are embracing. They see the church as a place where they might find like-minded individuals who want to put their beliefs into action.