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Methodists advertise for members

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Hoping to capitalize on a $20 million ad campaign that raised name recognition of the United Methodist church, the denomination will now spend an additional $25 million on advertising to fill church pews with new members.

The second phase of the "Igniting Ministries" campaign will use television ads pegged to Christmas, Easter and the start of the school year in late summer to target adults ages 25 to 54.

Church officials said that between 2001 and 2004, the Methodists' "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors" campaign boosted first-time attendance at Methodist churches by 19 percent and increased long-term attendance by 9 percent in 160 test markets.

Part of the campaign includes training for local churches to learn welcoming techniques, as well as matching grants to help churches buy local TV and billboard advertising.

The Methodists, like most other mainline Protestant churches, have been steadily losing members since the 1960s. The church now has 8.2 million members in the United States and about 10 million around the world.

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