Small-to-Medium sized United Methodist Churches often struggle with adapting to new technology. Unfortunately, this problem has now become a large obstacle which must be overcome by each individual congregation while trying to spread the message of Jesus Christ. While congregations could be evangelizing through technology, the lack of enthusiasm and/or resources in many congregations has stifled the voice of the Methodist church in the digital world, slowing the dissemination of their message of God’s grace and love. Seeking guidance from the growth of Methodism through John and Charles Wesley’s leadership, the research proposes a plan for small-to-medium sized churches to evangelize online. The project studies the benefits of creating Audio, Communication, and Technology (ACT) Teams, enabling a new generation of leaders and bringing them together with other United Methodist Congregations to share and then implement technology resources. With ACT Teams, the United Methodist Church can develop itinerant leaders that “go out” digitally to build relationships with people who may not be able or be willing to enter a physical church building. The project also explores the ways leaders can use video to create an atmosphere for viewers to have a transformational experience with God. The hope is that by following the Wesleyan example of evangelism, the United Methodist Church may break through the digital noise to connect to those in a new way.
John and Charles Wesley's background and connection to other evangelists helped propel the Methodist Movement to enable them to bring thousands of people to Christ. Here are 4 distinctive areas that led to developing a clear mission of evangelism and growth:
- Evangelistic mission versus societal conformity
- Building laity leadership through small groups
- Organizational structure for small groups and “itinerant preaching”
- Allowing for a heart (emotional) experience (repentance / assurance of pardon)