Lack of Access to UM Resources
For the most part, UM churches in North America and Western Europe enjoy access in varying degrees to an abundance of quality resources for Christian learning. Not so in most Central Conferences where, ironically, our churches are growing most rapidly in numbers. One African leader put the dilemma this way:
"We are growing wide but not deep for lack learning with the help of UM resources. Up until now, the Christian resources our people found to read were more likely to be Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, or Baptist at best, than Methodist or Wesleyan in outlook and balance."
Pastoral leaders find themselves asking: "What does it mean to live and to lead as a United Methodist Christian? How are we to fulfill the UM mission and form people as Methodists without Methodist resources?"
DRI wants to help leaders in as many Central Conferences as possible to expand their access to the key resources for learning and leading in the church. The intent is not to provide the resources for Central Conferences; that would be infinitely unaffordable and disempowering. The intent is to assist Central Conferences leaders committed to create the internal means by which to make the resources they need more available, affordable and appropriate to the churches in their contexts.
Where invited and when called for, DRI works hand-in-hand with leaders in Central Conferences (at Conference, Episcopal Area, or Central Conference levels) to form, equip, and seed publishing teams. Those publishing teams then lead small-scale publishing operations in service to the church's mission in their areas.
DRI adds capacity to local teams in a variety of ways that are unique to each situation. Those include direction in building publishing plans, team training, a pool of content resources from which to draw and adapt, seed money, ongoing support and consultation, mediation with vendors and publishers, and access to a global resource-sharing network of partners on the same journey toward sustainable church publishing.
DRI links a growing number of publishing teams and related Christian publishing initiatives in various parts of the world. Through the DRI connection, DRI publishing teams in Central Conferences accross a continent or around the world enjoy the benefits that come from resource sharing and peer learning with one another.