Adam Hamilton: Effective Worship and Preaching (Session 2)
In his second session at Annual Conference, Adam Hamilton began by asking us “How’s your food?” He shared the results of a study in which many people indicated that they do not find fulfillment during a worship service, nor do they expect to!! We were invited to think about the worship service as a “Soul Food Cafe.” He offered some tips for leading worship such as using transitions sentences to briefly explain the meaning of hymns, connecting prayers to the needs of the people, and describing the instructions for communion or baptism so that visitors know what to expect.
Rev. Hamilton stated that the purpose of preaching is to use the sermon to fulfill the goals or mission of the church. Preaching is to do everything a sermon can do to fulfill the church’s mission or goals. He introduced three components of preaching that will connect to people: One: teach people something that they did not know. Two: inspire them. Three: we need to call others to action.
The most unforgettable example that he used was about a sermon that he did on MANURE. He said that there are several things we can do with all of the manure in our lives-we can let it sit there and it gets bigger. We can try to bury it, but it will still be there. We can use chemicals to get rid of it, but this will cause destruction. Or, we can compost, turn it over every seven days by coming to worship, and let God make something useful out of it!! During Advent, he interviewed some carpenters about why God would choose a carpenter to be the foster father of Jesus. Each of the carpenters gave a testimony and then came to church that Sunday.
Another part of the presentation related to the sermon planning process. He identified different types of sermons such a fishing expeditions (which target unchurched or nominally religious), pastoral care, discipleship, and equipping and sending. There is a great deal of emphasis placed on planning ahead and getting information from as many sources as possible. A worship team can be used to help the shepherd know how to feed the sheep.
There was a contrast between a style of preaching which moves from Bible, to exegesis, application, and illustration AND a style which moves from the human condition to exegesis and illustration. When we begin with the human condition, we can connect with the unchurched and the nominally religious more effectively.
In his closing comments on this session, Adam offered DVDs, books, and small group studies that are available in the Cokesbury store. Throughout the presentation, Adam inspired us to connect with people who attend worship, those who are one the fringes and those who do not believe in God at all. As I panned across the crowd, there were moments whenI saw some people in tears and others where people were laughing. Adam provided inspiration to the people of the United Methodist Church who love God and want to share their faith so that others will know God’s love.
Article by Laurie Ann Rookard.
Rev. Adam Hamilton’s presentations will be available as a download beginning June 1 or on DVD. More info on how to order will be forthcoming.