On the Shelf:
What is Resource Ministry?
By Ellen Johanson

Has your church joined the Regional Media Center? If not, call today at 1-800-755-7710 and let’s get you connected. You might just find out – like other member churches – that you’ll love us too.

I want to express thanks for the excellent service the Media Center provides our church. With your support we maintain an adult Sunday School class of 15-25 each week for some stimulating discussions of Christianity in today’s world. Recently we changed our children’s Sunday School to a lesson/activity centered program in our fellowship hall. Following up on your suggestion, my adult class met with the children to read a Bible story about gift-giving. We decorated cookies for presents to take home–and yes, we ate a lot before were through—it was wonderfully warm and messy and I think we adults had as much fun as the kids. Children today do not have enough contact with adults outside their immediate family and this is one way of providing caring relationships in a safe environment. Again, thank you for your supportive suggestions and efficient assistance.

Dorothy Summers, Newman UMC in Grants Pass, Ore.

Yes, that’s Resource Ministry! Resource Ministry is an educational support field that has been an important part of ecumenical and denominational churches and seminaries for quite some time. As a professional field, it is evolving based on many different trends and factors—not the least of which is technology–and how that affects communication needs and strategies.

So what is the work of resource ministry? It’s about…

  • networking, consulting, and communicating in a rapidly changing church and culture
  • helping congregations identify best practices, resources and tools for ministry
  • helping link individuals, congregations, conferences, church-wide partners, publishers and para-church organizations with one another
  • modeling good stewardship in difficult economic times through lending resource libraries and
  • recognizing the importance of mutuality, collaboration and connectedness across the church.

You could sum it up by saying it’s about the best of technology and human connectedness combined together.

Frequently, I receive requests by phone, e-mail and website to suggest resources for bible studies, small groups, trainings, retreats, and confirmation classes. Liturgical holidays like Advent and Lent always spur increased requests for devotional materials.

The Regional Media Center (RMC) also lends out cameras, hearing-assisted/translation equipment, decorative worship banners, projectors and drama scripts. We research and consult on copyright licensing questions (without giving legal advice) and we promote helpful information like free webinars through our online monthly newsletter. We’ve had people borrow video cameras to film children’s Christmas pageants, memorial services, and even for a pastor to do her doctoral dissertation project! You may be aware by now that Cokesbury, the retail part of The United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH), is closing all its retail stores and moving to online sales only. A number of you have commented on Facebook how much you’ll miss the stores and helpful staff–I know I will. However, local store closures present the opportunity for faithful purchasers of Cokesbury products to join the RMC and borrow products from us. Stretch your educational budget dollars by previewing RMC resources before deciding to buy them for your church, or simply borrow the resources from the RMC and use your budget for volunteer training or other purposes.

Recently, a Disciples of Christ regional body in California committed to join the RMC so that they can use resources for their regional church events and promote the RMC to their local churches—139 of them! Also the U.S. Youth Soccer Association in Texas contacted us and borrowed a training resource on sexual abuse prevention.

Ellen Johanson serves as the manager for the Regional Media Center.

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