By: Christa Meland
If you’ve visited www.minnesotaumc.org within the past few days, you might have noticed that it looks different. That’s because the Minnesota Conference just launched a redesigned website! In addition to having a fresh look, the new website is also more functional and has new features for clergy and churches.
The Minnesota Conference partnered with Brick River Technologies, based in Exeter, New Hampshire, to build the new website. Brick River is the website provider for 27 United Methodist annual conferences throughout the United States. Many functions of its website console are specifically designed to meet the needs and desires of annual conferences.
We hope you’ll fully explore the new website, but here are 10 of the many ways you can use the new website:
1. View your church’s apportionment info and table history.
For years, monthly apportionment statements have been mailed to churches each month. But now you can view your church’s latest monthly statement, apportionments for the current year, 10-year table history, and previous year's financial statement online at any time. Check it out
2. Search for churches, clergy, and staff using our new and improved directories.
On the new website, you can search for churches
by name, district or city; search for clergy
by name or order; and search for staff
by name or department. The clergy and church directories now talk to each other as well, so each church listing contains the names of the clergy appointed there—and each clergy listing contains that person’s appointment.
3. Find a video from our library and share it with your congregation.
Churches throughout Minnesota are reaching out in their communities and sharing God’s love in impactful ways. Browse our new video library
to see what other congregations are doing and to get new ideas for your own church. You can even search the library for videos that align with each of the three gospel imperatives that our conference is focused on: grow in love of God and neighbor, reach new people, and heal a broken world.
4. Explore hands-on service opportunities.
Many churches, ministries, and organizations within the Minnesota Conference provide opportunities for hands-on service
. Check them out, and get a group from your church involved with one that aligns with your interests and passions.
5. Invite those considering ministry to start exploring their call.
Which teens and young adults in your congregation have gifts for ministry or are thinking about ministry as a vocation? In addition to talking with them and helping them discern how God is calling them, refer them to the “Exploring a Call” section
of the website. There, they can access resources, connect with people who have answered their call to ministry, learn about the various paths of ministry, and (if they are in college) apply for an internship to taste and see ministry through the ELI Project
6. Register for Camp Minnesota camps!
, and the three primary Minnesota camp sites, all got new websites also. On these websites, you can learn about each of the sites and, when registration for camp opens each year, you’ll be able to browse specific camps at each site and then register online.
7. Learn about the conference’s ministry teams and how you can get involved.
A new page groups the ministry teams
by focus area, and you can learn more about any of them—including what they do and who to contact—by clicking on a particular box.
8. Submit an event, a classified ad, and/or an “It Worked For Us” story.
You can still submit all of these things on the new website; the process is just a bit different. The “Submission Forms” page
lets you submit an event or a mission trip; post a classified ad about open positions, things you need or have to give away, volunteer and scholarship opportunities, and more; and share stories about ministries or outreach methods that have worked particularly well for your congregation.
9. See what’s coming up on our new events calendar.
You can view the events calendar
by focus areas that are relevant or of interest to you—like events specifically for clergy, laity, or youth/young adults, or training events. If you click on the name of an event, you can also see additional details and register, and if it's an event for which there's a fee, you can either pay the fee online or mail in a check. When you submit an event or classified ad, it will appear on the “Classified Ads” page
after it’s approved.
10. Access and submit forms.
On the new website, you can search by form name or form type—and many forms
can be filled out and submitted online, thus eliminating the need to download a form, print it, fill it out by hand, and mail it in. Over time, more forms will be made to be fillable online in order to save you time and effort. Forms that can be filled out online can also be revisited (by clicking a link in a confirmation e-mail you’ll receive) if you need to finish completing them later on or modify the information provided.
Also, don’t forget to regularly visit the site to see the latest news
. If you have feedback about the new site or notice anything that isn’t working or could be improved, please do let us know by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
. We value your input. Happy browsing!
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.