January 31, 2014

By Fred Koenig 

We update the mailing address for the Conference publication twice a year (January and July), so you may be receiving this magazine for the first time. This monthly magazine replaced the Conference newspaper in July 2013. 
   
Like the newspaper, this magazine goes to all clergy in the Missouri Conference, as well as selected leaders from each church. Although this adds up to more than 5,000 people, that is still a small fraction of the people who are active in the United Methodist Church. Many times when I’ve introduced myself as the editor for the state-wide United Methodist newspaper, I’ve been told, “I’ve been a United Methodist all of my life, and I have never heard of the Methodist newspaper.” The larger the church, the more likely that is the case. 
    
We’re working to make this a valuable publication for all United Methodists in Missouri, and would like to raise awareness of the publication. The easiest way to do that is for local churches to direct people to the online version of the magazine. You can put the link, www.momethodist.org/momethodists on your church website and in your church newsletter. At this link you can read the publication online or download an app so you can read it on your phone or tablet. You can also advise people to sign up to receive an email for every new issue of the magazine at www.moumethodist.org/stayconnected. 
    
Although that’s the easiest and cheapest way to invite people to read, it’s not necessarily the most effective. I’m a car guy. If an automotive magazine finds its way into my house, I’ll end up reading every word of it. I read the stories about maintenance issues on cars I will never own, I read reviews of cars I wouldn’t consider buying, I read editorials about laws in states I’ll probably never drive through… I read it all. So I was very excited when my local library announced that it was adding a new service, hundreds of magazines available online, including some of my favorites. So I signed up for the free service and downloaded my pick of magazines, without spending a dime. This was months ago. After that initial sign up, I haven’t looked at any of these magazines one single time. 
    
It’s not that I’m a luddite. I grew up with computers. I have had an e-reader for years. I take a laptop with me on vacation. I constantly carry a smart phone that is, in my opinion, above the latest i-Phone. Yet, even though the content I desire is available online in unlimited quantities, completely free of charge, I’m not reading it there. I can’t explain why, but magazine reading online hasn’t fully connected with me yet. 
    
So there are other options. People who aren’t already on the list can subscribe to receive the magazine in the mail for $20 a year. If you would like for more people in your church to receive the magazine, but you don’t want to pay $20 per home, churches can receive a box of magazines each month to distribute at their convenience for less than half the cost of an individual subscription. Prices are $100 to receive a box of 10 magazines monthly for a year, 25 magazines monthly for $200; 50 magazines for $350, or 100 magazines for $500 per year. Send checks payable to the Missouri Conference to Lorraine Sanders at 3601 Amron Court, Columbia, MO, 65202.
    
One thing we learned from churches receiving bulk subscriptions of the newspaper was that if they are just stacked on a table somewhere, people won’t pick them up. They need to be invited to do so, so they know that it is intended for everybody and they aren’t taking someone else’s material. If you’re not sure whether or not a bulk subscription will work for your church, send me an email, and for a limited time we’ll let you try it for a couple of months before you pay for the whole year. If you have any questions or suggestions, email fkoenig@moumethodist.org.