Thursday, July 13, 2023

UM & Global 10th Anniversary Stats: Content

Today's post is by UM & Global blogmaster Dr. David W. Scott, Mission Theologian at the General Board of Global Ministries. The opinions and analysis expressed here are Dr. Scott's own and do not reflect in any way the official position of Global Ministries.

This blog is sponsored by the Association of Methodist Professors of Mission (formerly United Methodist Professors of Mission). At the AMPM meeting four weeks ago, I (David) offered a 10th anniversary update on the blog. After having shared statistics and reflections from that report about contributors in a previous blog post, in this post, I want to share in this post some statistics and reflections on blog content and the achievements of the blog.


The tagline for UM & Global is "Dedicated to fostering conversations about the global nature of The United Methodist Church." Following that tagline, the blog has sought to publish material about mission, especially international mission, in the UMC, stories about and analysis of the UMC outside the United States, and stories about and analysis of denomination-wide news and trends, especially when these trends cross national boundaries.

If one looks at the "big bucket" tags that I have used to categorize UM & Global material, one sees the above foci reflected in the tags used to label content on the blog. In descending order of frequency of use, the most popular categories of content have been mission, global ecclesiology, theology, history, culture and diversity, global social issues, ecumenical and interreligious relationships, migration, central conferences, international partnerships, evangelism, reciprocal relationships, women, connectionalism, health, and education.

Looking at more specific tags, one sees General Conference, Africa, the United States, LGBT, resources, money, the Philippines, coronavirus, and A Way Forward added to the list. These categories reflect the geographic distribution of The United Methodist Church, its recent denomination-wide foci, and my own interests in talking about how money and resources shape the church and mission.

In terms of specific pieces, Pete Bellini's two pieces on "Global Mental Health and the Church" are the first and eighth most popular pieces of all time on the site. Dana L. Robert's piece "The 'Other' Issue of Gender: What Happens to United Methodist Women Leaders?" is the second most popular piece, and my piece "American UMC is a white people problem" is third.

UM & Global has also sought to create resources for those teaching and learning about mission and the global church. Among those resources are our Collections (compilations of articles on a theme) and YouTube playlists to help people access content (created by others) on topics related to mission and the global church.


Ultimately, the question of significance is less about how much of something one has done and more about the impact of that work on others. In the regard, I think UM & Global and its contributors can feel some justifiable satisfaction. Articles from UM & Global have been widely read and discussed by those in the church. They have also been cited in academic publications and other blogs. In this regard, the blog has been able to strike a rare balance between accessibility to non-academic readers in the church and (enough) respectability among academic audiences.

Much of the content of UM & Global has been part of overarching series. Some of these series have had an impact beyond their individual component blog posts. The commentary series on Grace Upon Grace, one of the first series on the blog, helped re-spark interest in that document. A series of comments on Wonder, Love, and Praise, the draft ecclesiology document for the UMC, helped push revision of that document into Sent In Love in a more missional direction.

While it has not always been easy work to put together a consistent stream of reasonably high quality content, it has been satisfying work, and I (David) am grateful to the Association of Methodist Professors of Mission for the opportunity to take this project and run with it. I hope the results have served and will continue to serve to build up the church as a diverse, global body, deeply engaged in God's mission.

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