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The following are our ten most-viewed posts of 2009 (the date of each post date is in parentheses):

  1. Adam Hamilton: ‘We are in desperate need of excellent preaching’ (Oct. 12)
  2. In Mississippi Conference, testimony from lesbian couple stirs controversy (June 29)
  3. Ed Tomlinson: Proposed amendments would ‘decimate connectionalism’ (March 26)
  4. Proposed amendments would separate UMC into ‘national entities’ (Feb. 27)
  5. John Ed Mathison: Seven concerns about the UMC (March 4)
  6. Billy Abraham on United Methodism: ‘There is no common faith among us’ (Jan. 29)
  7. Board of Church and Society sex-ed writer: Sex outside of marriage can be ‘moral, ethical’ (Sept. 4)
  8. Maxie Dunnam, Eddie Fox release videos on proposed amendments (April 17)
  9. Bishop Robert Schnase on ‘The Five Practices’ (Jan. 14)
  10. Lyn Powell on the new United Methodist membership vows (Jan. 26)

The top video clip of the year was an address by Connie Campbell and Renee Sappington, two homosexual women who spoke about their relationship as part of a worship service at the 2009 session of the Mississippi Annual Conference (that video is part of the #2 post listed above).

The most-listened-to MethodistThinker Podcast during the past 12 months was a May podcast featuring a 1960 sermon by the late Methodist missionary, E. Stanley Jones.

Happy New Year — and thanks for reading MethodistThinker.com!

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The latest MethodistThinker Podcast features a sermon by Bishop James King, episcopal leader of the United Methodist Church’s South Georgia Conference.

Bishop James King in 2001

Before being elected to the episcopacy in 2000, James R. King, Jr. served as a pastor in Alabama, California, and Tennessee, and as a District Superintendent in the Tennessee Conference.

Prior to being assigned last year to South Georgia, Bishop King served for eight years as the leader of the Kentucky Annual Conference.

In August 2008, Bishop King was elected president of the General Commission on United Methodist Men.

Bishop James King blogs and posts photos at BishopKing.com.

This sermon on this week’s podcast was preached at the January 2001 Convocation for Pastors of African-American Churches held in Dallas, Texas — an event sponsored by the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship.

To listen, use the audio player below (21 min.) — or right click (Windows users) to download an mp3 (10MB).

For previous MethodistThinker Podcasts, click the Podcasts tab at the top of this page.

To subscribe via iTunes or other Podcast software, use this link to set up your feed: https://methodistthinker.com/category/podcasts/feed.


Related posts
A profile of Bishop James King
Bishop James King: ‘We are returning to God’

Related information
Bishop King celebrates first anniversary as episcopal leader in South Georgia | South Georgia Advocate (Sept. 14, 2009)
Bishop King to lead General Commission on United Methodist Men | United Methodist News Service (August 2008)
At Convocation for Pastors of African-American Churches, clergy focus on rekindling passion for ministry | United Methodist News Service (Jan. 18, 2001)

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At the 11th annual Leadership Institute, held last week at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, host pastor Adam Hamilton urged pastors and lay preachers to focus on improving the quality of their preaching. “We are in desperate need today of excellent preaching,” he said during the conference’s Oct. 9 morning session.

The Rev. Adam Hamilton

The Rev. Adam Hamilton

Hamilton, who founded the now-megachurch 19 years ago with only a handful of people, noted that the Methodist movement began and prospered as “a movement of preachers.”

“[People] went to the Anglican church for the sacraments on Sunday. But if [they] wanted preaching, [they] went to the Methodist ‘preaching house,'” he said. “And we had lay people and clergy — mostly lay people — who were trained to preach the gospel.”

Hamilton buttressed his point about Methodist preaching by quoting 19th-century Presbyterian revivalist, Charles Finney. Finney decried much of the preaching of his time, but had great admiration for preaching by Methodists.

It is evident that we must have more exciting preaching, to meet the character and wants of the age…. The character of the age is changed, and [most preachers] have not conformed to it, but retain the same stiff, dry, prosing style of preaching that answered half a century ago.

[But l]ook at the Methodists. Many of their ministers are unlearned, in the common sense of the term, many of them taken right from the shop or the farm, and yet they have gathered congregations, and pushed their way, and won souls everywhere. Wherever the Methodists have gone, their plain, pointed and simple, but warm and animated mode of preaching has always gathered congregations….

We must have exciting, powerful preaching, or the devil will have the people, except what the Methodists can save.

(From Finney’s 1835 Lectures on Revival of Religion,
Lecture XIV, “Methods to Promote Revivals.”)

In the past, Methodist preachers were known for “connect[ing] the gospel with daily life,” Hamilton noted. Their preaching was filled with passion, but not at the expense of intellect. “It was well-informed preaching but preaching that stirred the heart.”

leadership-institute09That same approach can work today — and it connects especially well with young adults, Hamilton said.

He mentioned an informal Facebook-based survey in which respondents ages 16-to-35 listed “preaching” as the number one reason they attend Church of the Resurrection.

“Preaching is something that can touch them and connect with them — if the preaching is thoughtful, if it’s helpful, if it’s inspiring.”

Adam Hamilton reminded his audience that the ability to excel in preaching isn’t something people are born with, but “we can learn,” he said. Hamilton called on pastors and lay preachers to work on improving their preaching by devoting sufficient time to learning, study, reflection, and prayer.

“The enemy of great preaching is busyness — when we don’t have enough time to devote to preparing a meal that’s satisfying to people,” he said. “And sometimes [the problem is that we’re not] clear what that meal might look like.”

Hamilton then laid out five goals for every sermon. “If you do these five things, the chances of somebody wanting to some back next week, the chances of somebody wanting to invite a friend, go up exponentially.”

He said an effective sermon will:

  • Inform — teach at least one thing people didn’t know before;
  • Inspire and motivate — use illustrations that move people;
  • Invite — ask for a response;
  • Be practical and relevant — relate to daily life;
  • Be biblical — reinforce that the text, not the preacher, is the authority.

Adam Hamilton again reminded his hearers that an effective sermon must be “passionate.” He quoted a ministry colleague who said, “People come to see our convictions. They come to see what we really, really believe.”

Use the audio players below to listen to excerpts from Adam Hamilton’s teaching on preaching and worship at the 2009 Leadership Institute.

Excerpt 1: ‘We are in desperate need of excellent preaching’ (5 min.)


Excerpt 2: ‘Five goals for every sermon’ (12 min.)

The annual Church of the Resurrection (COR) Leadership Institute, launched in 1999, is designed to teach “practical, translatable principles” that have helped COR grow from four people in 1990 to 16,000 today.

DVDs of this year’s general sessions are available through The Well, the Church of the Resurrection bookstore.


Related posts
Podcast: John Wesley on ‘The New Birth
Podcast: Bill Hinson on ‘The Making of a Minister’
Podcast: Sir Alan Walker on ‘Christianity at the Crossroads’
Podcast: Dr. James Heidinger on ‘United Methodist Renewal’
For the pastor on your Christmas list: Preaching for a Response by Lathem and Dunn
Astonishing preaching

Related articles and information
The church offers ‘what’s desperately needed’: A conversation with Adam Hamilton (video) | Faith & Leadership (Duke Divinity School) (March 31, 2009)
Institute gives UM churches renewed hope | Robin Russell, UM Reporter (Aug. 22, 2008)
How to grow a church: Kansas pastor offers tips at Methodist gathering | David Yonke, The (Toledo) Blade (via Google Newspapers) (June 16, 2007)
Fewer whiffs: Too many sermons are ‘swing-and-a-miss’ strike outs | Adam Hamilton, Leadership Journal (Fall 2007)
4-H sermons: Connecting with your audience | Adam Hamilton, Leadership Journal (Summer 2007)
Reaching the unchurched | Adam Hamilton, Leadership Journal (Spring 2007)
‘Should we fret the back door?’ Why the departure of church members hurts me so | Adam Hamilton, Leadership Journal (Spring 2006)
Opening closed minds | Adam Hamilton, Leadership Journal (Spring 2004)
Large Leawood church getting even bigger | KMBC-TV (March 31, 2004)
Adam Hamilton and his bright vision for United Methodism | Kathleen K. Rutledge, Good News (July/August 2003)
Christmas Eve at Adam’s house: Adam Hamilton’s Church of the Resurrection enjoys the fruit of the season | Kendrick Blackwood, The Pitch (Dec. 19, 2002)
Purpose, passion drive church growth, pastor says | Michael Wacht, United Methodist News Service (Feb. 26, 2002)
Everyone gets ‘mugged’ at booming Kansas City church | John A. Lovelace, United Methodist News Service (April 20, 2000)

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While production continues on the upcoming fall season of The MethodistThinker Podcast, we’re highlighting several podcasts from our spring season.

This week, a sermon by the late Dr. Bill Hinson, long-time pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Houston, Texas.

Dr. William H. Hinson

Dr. William H. Hinson

During his 18-year tenure at First UMC-Houston, more than 3,000 people joined that congregation on profession of faith.

In 1985, Dr. Hinson was honored with Denman Evangelism Award. In 2000, the National Association of United Methodist Evangelists recognized him with the Philip Award for Outstanding Leadership in Evangelism.

A native of South Georgia, Bill Hinson attended Boston University, where he earned a Master’s degree in Sacred Theology, and the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, where he graduated with the Doctor in Sacred Theology degree.

The sermon on this podcast, “The Making of a Minister,” was preached in June 2004 at a North Georgia Conference Service of Ordination and Commissioning. Five months later, Bill Hinson suffered a massive stroke. He died on Dec. 26, 2004.

At the time of his death, Dr. Hinson was serving as president of the Confessing Movement Within the United Methodist Church.

To listen to the podcast, use the audio player below (23 min.) — or download an mp3 (10MB).

The fall season of The MethodistThinker Podcast will begin after Labor Day.


Related information
Bill Hinson, Confessing Movement leader, dies at 68 | United Methodist News Service/Good News magazine (March/April 2005)
A resolution honoring the life and ministry of Dr. William H. Hinson | Georgia State Senate (March 29, 2005)
Lord, He Went: Remembering William H. Hinson, by Stanley R. Copeland | Abingdon Press (2006)
A charge to keep (an excerpt from Lord, He Went) | Stanley R. Copeland, Good News magazine (Sept./Oct. 2007)
Conversation with Bill Hinson on the Issues Etc. radio program — May 10, 2004 | Topic: Retrospective on the 2004 General Conference

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The Reverend Mr. John Wesley (actor Alan MacNaughtan)

The Reverend Mr. John Wesley(actor Alan MacNaughtan)

Over the next several weeks, while production continues on the upcoming fall season of The MethodistThinker Podcast, we’re highlighting several podcasts from our spring season, beginning with our debut program below.

We could think of no better person to feature on our premiere program than the founder of the Methodist movement: Anglican clergyman John Wesley.

To listen, use the audio player below (12 min.) — or download an mp3 (5.5 MB).

The fall season of The MethodistThinker Podcast will begin after Labor Day.


Related posts
First anniversary: Looking back, looking ahead
Coming soon: The MethodistThinker Podcast

Related information and resources
Biography of actor Alan MacNaughtan
34 U.S. libraries that have the BBC-TV film, John Wesley: Preacher
Text of John Wesley’s sermon, “The Almost Christian”
Text of John Wesley’s sermon, “The New Birth”

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This week’s MethodistThinker Podcast features a sermon by the late Dr. Bill Hinson, long-time pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Houston, Texas.

Dr. Bill Hinson

Dr. Bill Hinson

During his 18-year tenure at First UMC-Houston, more than 3,000 people joined that congregation on profession of faith.

In 1985, Dr. Hinson was honored with Denman Evangelism Award. In 2000, the National Association of United Methodist Evangelists recognized him with the Philip Award for Outstanding Leadership in Evangelism.

A native of South Georgia, Bill Hinson attended Boston University, where he earned a Master’s degree in Sacred Theology, and the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, where he graduated with the Doctor in Sacred Theology degree.

The sermon on this week’s podcast, “The Making of a Minister,” was preached in June 2004 at a North Georgia Conference Service of Ordination and Commissioning. Five months later, Bill Hinson suffered a massive stroke. He died on Dec. 26, 2004.

At the time of his death, Dr. Hinson was serving as president of the Confessing Movement Within the United Methodist Church.

To listen to the podcast, use the audio player below (23 min.) — or download an mp3 (10MB).

Next week, a sermon by Bishop Al Gwinn of the North Carolina Conference.

For previous editions of the MethodistThinker Podcast, click the podcasts tab at the top of this page.


Related information
Bill Hinson, Confessing Movement leader, dies at 68 | United Methodist News Service/Good News magazine (PDF) (March/April 2005)
A resolution honoring the life and ministry of Dr. William H. Hinson | Georgia State Senate (March 29, 2005)
Lord, He Went: Remembering William H. Hinson (ordering information) | Abingdon Press (2006)
A charge to keep (an excerpt from Lord, He Went) | Stanley R. Copeland, Good News magazine (Sept./Oct. 2007)

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Posted below is this week’s MethodistThinker Podcast, featuring an Easter sermon by Dr. Bill Bouknight.

Bill Bouknight

Bill Bouknight

Dr. Bouknight retired in 2007 after serving 41 years as a Methodist pastor, first in South Carolina and later in Tennessee.

He is the author of The Authoritative Word: Preaching Truth in a Skeptical Age (Abingdon, 2001) and If Disciples Grew Like Kudzu (Bristol House, 2007).

This week’s sermon was preached on Easter Sunday 2007 at Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tenn., as part of a series on the Apostles’ Creed. Dr. Bouknight’s text is Luke 24:1-12.

To listen to this week’s podcast (16 min.), use the audio player below — or download an mp3.

Next week, a sermon by North Georgia Bishop Mike Watson: “We Wish to See Jesus.”


Related posts
Podcast: John Wesley on ‘The New Birth’
Coming soon: The MethodistThinker Podcast
Bill Bouknight: The bad news from General Conference ‘08
Bill Bouknight: The good news from General Conference ‘08

Related information
Biography of Dr. Bill Bouknight
Dr. Bouknight leaves Christ United Methodist Church vibrant in its faith | The (Memphis, Tenn.) Commercial Appeal (May 21, 2007)

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