Written by Daniel Hazard
Two new 60-second radio spots are now available for use by UCC churches, and the UCC's Stillspeaking Ministry is offering grants to make sure the ads make it on the air in multiple communities.
Through the Stillspeaking Ministry's "Media with a Mission" program, clusters of UCC congregations can apply before Feb. 25 for up to $4,000 to purchase radio air time. Individual churches can apply for as much as $2,000.
The grants can be used to fund 40 percent of a local or regional radio campaign sometime between March 10 (two weeks before Easter) and May 10 (Mother's Day / Pentecost Sunday).
"Stillspeaking will provide $2 for every $3 your church or group of churches commits to the campaign," says the Rev. Felix Carrion, Stillspeaking Coordinator.
Participating churches can choose from three available 60-second spots. Two new commercials — "Legal Copy" and "Telephone Tree" — have been specifically produced for the most-recent push, but churches also can elect to include "Fashion Show," an older spot, in their ad-buying plans, Carrion says.
Both of the new radio ads rely heavily on humor to emphasize the UCC's theme of extravagant welcome.
Each of the ads includes space for a 15-second tag to customize the ad and localize the message for a particular church or group of churches.
In order to be eligible for grant funding, congregations must "embrace the message of the God is Still Speaking Ministry," Carrion says. That means communicating God's radical acceptance and extravagant welcome, reaching out to "spiritually homeless" persons who may feel alienated from the church, and making a home for all in the life of the congregation, he says.
Churches also must commit to displaying some form of exterior Stillspeaking signage or banner, which can be purchased at <stillspeakingstore.com>.
Listen to the ads and learn more about applying for grants at <stillspeaking.com>.