Michigan Area Director of Communications
On August, 1 at 12:01 pm, we turned the key and opened the door on our new website MichiganUMC.org. This brand new site will serve both the Detroit and West Michigan Annual Conferences. We hope you find it easier to navigate and an excellent source of information and inspiration for your ministry.
Moving to a new website it a lot like moving into a new home. Over the weekend, we trucked over all of our “boxes” of data and information from the old websites to the new one. And like moving into a new home, it will take us many months before we can get all of these boxes unpacked. Our move happened sooner than we would have liked. Contractual obligations required us to transition to the new site by August 1. While the navigation on MichiganUMC.org will remain the same, you can expect lots of content and visual changes in the weeks to come.
Just to be safe, we “rented a digital storage shed” and backed up every page on the old websites so nothing would be lost in the move. In the coming weeks, if you cannot find something you need off the old sites, please contact a district or conference office and let us know. Our team will locate it and place it on the new site.
You will notice that our new website also navigates differently from the old sites. MichiganUMC.org is a central hub to a series of sub-sites. This will make it much easier for you to find information on the new sites. From the homepage, you will be able to connect with resources.michiganumc.org, news.michiganumc.org, events.michiganumc.org, and others. We will be adding more sub-sites in the weeks ahead.
Please also note that the West Michigan and Detroit Annual Camping websites also moved on August 1 to their new home, UMCamping.org. It will also take a few weeks to finish that project, but we hope you will drop by to see their new cooperative site.
These new websites, along with an integrated state-wide database and communication system are part of a three year initiative called “MIUMC” (My U-M-C). The goal is to make us a more connected church. Right now, we are about six months into a three-year effort to improve how we communicate in Michigan.
Next year, we will launch “Church U.” Church U, short for Church University, will be an online crowd-sourced education site where you will be able to share your best ideas and learn from others. Work is already underway for this “Wikipedia like” one-stop training center for church volunteers and leaders.
Our research found that church staff and volunteers spend an average of 40 hours a year filling out forms. We think that time can be greatly reduced through the use of technology, so that time can be spent on other areas of ministry in your church.
As a connectional ministry, none of these improvements are possible without your cooperation and support. As these new online data tools become available later this year, we will need the assistance of every local church to make sure we have the most accurate contact information entered for your key church leaders. This way, we can get and connect the right information and education to the right people.
We also encourage you to help us connect in other ways. MIconnect is a free area wide e-publication with stories of Michigan mission and ministry, resources for local church and summaries of United Methodist world news. This publication currently reaches over 5,000 people each week, but that is just a fraction of the church leaders we need to reach. We hope you will forward your MIconnect to other leaders you know. Each month we also send out a printable PDF versions that can easily be copied and distributed to your local church. The MIconnect July Digest will be emailed to you later this week.
If you like getting news when it happens, the Detroit Annual Conference and the Michigan Area have Facebook pages and the Michigan Area has a Facebook Group. We hope you will join the thousands of others to LIKE or connect with online.
We are a connectional church. And we are working to make that connection even stronger. With your help, we can regain our connectional communication heritage and work to build a stronger church. We welcome your comments and suggestions on how to improve that effort.