Global Ministries, a missions agency of the United Methodist Church, is hoping to inspire congregants to tell God’s story through its 10-day event called “10-Fold,” where 10 UMC projects are shared.
Dr. Larry R. Hygh, Jr., director of communications for Global Ministries, explained in an interview with The Christian Post Monday what he hoped people would take away from 10-Fold.
“Our prayer is that folks use 10-Fold as a learning opportunity to see the United Methodist Church living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ through 10 United Methodist projects from around the world that are supported by the General Board of Global Ministries (Global Ministries) and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR),” said Hygh.
“We also hope that 10-Fold will inspire folks in local congregations across the connection to use technology to tell God’s story in their communities.”
The 10-day event began Oct. 10 and will end Oct. 19. Each day features webcasts, videos, and instant chats about various UMC projects.
The Rev. Marji Bishir, the associate director for the North Texas Conference of the Center for Missional Outreach and a disaster response coordinator, spoke during Monday’s webcast about the denomination’s disaster responses in the United States.
“When a disaster strikes your community, that’s the time for the church to be the church,” said Bishir, who emphasized early in the 31 minute video about the need for the church to go out into the community.
“Remember that there is always a role for the church after a disaster. It is a time for us to maintain a strong Christian presence and to show that we are the hands and feet of Christ,” continued Bishir.
In the past, the UMC has been criticized for putting too much emphasis on secular issues like the “social gospel” and not putting enough emphasis on evangelism.
Conservative Methodist groups like Good News Magazine have stated their desire to make spiritual matters the center of the UMC, believing the mainline denomination to be in need of renewal.
These same groups attribute the long-standing decline of membership in the UMC to the lack of focus on evangelism and spiritual life. When the UMC was first formed in 1968 via the merger of the Evangelical United Brethren and the Methodist Church, membership was nearly 11 million. By 2008, it had dropped to 7.7 million.
“Half of the 10-Fold days are specific to projects that use evangelism as a tool,” noted Hygh.
“One of the 10-Fold days, Church Planting Worldwide, focuses on Global Ministries working in collaboration with church leaders across the world to plant 400 churches by 2012. A total of 210 new worshipping communities were organized from January 2009 through September 2010,” he said.
The 10-Fold event first took place in 2010, when GlobalMinistries workers from across the world decided to use online media like Skype and downloadable podcasts to communicate with each other regarding their respective projects.
This year, topics included the effort to eliminate malaria, missionary work in the United States and abroad, and scholarships focused on developing community leaders.
The final live webcast on Oct. 19 will focus on International Disaster Response as performed by the United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR).