Telling the Good News

In conjunction with Paraclete Press’ upcoming republication of my early book The Gospel for the Person Who Has Everything, I’m hosting a webinar with them called Telling the Good News, talking about why the Gospel is good news, who needs to hear it, and how to get it to them.

The webinar will run from 9:00AM to 3:00PM EST on Friday, November 13. For more information, see their Eventbrite, and contact Rachel McKendree at rachelm@paracletepress.com. I look forward to seeing you there.



Aging Well

Baptist Standard has published a favorable review by Karl Fickling of my recent book Aging: Growing Old in Church. It begins:

Will Willimon quotes John Wesley as saying, “Christianity is a social religion; to turn it into a solitary affair is to destroy it.” These timely words, however, are not about quarantines or shutting down churches due to a pandemic. Instead, they refer to just one of the many challenging realities of our retirement years—and Aging wants to take on all of them.

Willimon, the retired dean of the chapel at Duke Divinity school, tells it like it is. He’s like a doctor who walks into the exam room and bluntly tells you some unfortunate diagnosis: “You’re old!” He delves into a long list of crises, including health, finances, isolation and faith. Aging tells many stories from literature and life to make some very difficult, even harsh, observations about the last chapters of life.

You can read the rest of it here or go ahead to buy the book below.

Continue reading “Aging Well”

Preaching and Leadership: Today!

The first session of Duke Divinity’s Virtual Convocation is today from 12-1pm EDT, and I’ll be leading off with a webinar about Preaching and Leadership with an eye towards the strange situation we find ourselves in. It’s not too late to register! Sessions are free, but the Divinity School has asked participants to register at this link. Hope you can join!

Good News!

Paraclete Press has released a trailer for their upcoming republication of one of my first books, The Gospel for the Person Who Has Everything.

As part of the book (re)launch, I’ll also be doing a webinar with Paraclete called “Telling the Good News.” We’ll talk about what evangelism looks like today and what I’ve learned about it over the course of my time in ministry. Hope to see you there. There’s also more information about the webinar on the Eventbrite page, the ticket form for which is embedded below.

As part of the book (re)launch, I’ll also be doing a webinar with Paraclete called “Telling the Good News.” We’ll talk about what evangelism looks like today and what I’ve learned about it over the course of my time in ministry. Hope to see you there. There’s also more information about the webinar on the Eventbrite page, the ticket form for which is embedded below.


Virtual Convocation and Pastors’ School

Every year, in partnership with the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church and The Duke Endowment, Duke Divinity School invites clergy (not just Methodists) for a couple days of enriching lectures and worship. This year, it’s been spaced out throughout September and October and moved to Zoom because of the pandemic, focused around the timely theme “Christian Leadership in Turbulent Times.”

For the first of these webinars, I’ll be speaking on Preaching and Leadership, considering how pastors can shepherd their flocks during this season from the pulpit and take them where they need to go. My webinar will be Monday, September 14 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm. Like all the webinars, it’s being made available free of charge, but advance registration is required here.

You can find plenty more information about Convocation and Pastors’ School on the Divinity School’s website here.

This is the full schedule:

September 14, 2020 12:00pm-1:00pm

Preaching and Leadership led by Dr. William Willimon

September 28, 2020 12:00pm-1:00pm

Navigating the Future in the Midst of Heavy Fog led by Dean L. Gregory Jones

October 15, 2020 12:00pm-1:00pm

Light to the Nations: Old Testament Resources for Missional Ministry led by Professors Stephen Chapman and Laceye Warner

October 19, 2020 12:00pm-1:00pm

Leadership and Trauma led by Professor Alma Tinoco Ruiz

October 28, 2020 12:00pm-1:00pm

Mental Health Impact of COVID-19 and Racial Divisions led by Dr. Warren Kinghorn and Rev. Regina Graham

Preachers are a Pain

Faith and Leadership posted this week an article adapted from my recent book Leading with the Sermon. It begins:

Leadership is necessary only if an organization needs to go somewhere and if an organization is accountable to a mission more important than its own survival.

Many people in leadership positions vainly try to foster warm relationships or strive to be efficient managers rather than risk-taking leaders, not because they are so nice but rather because institutions crave the placidity of the status quo and reward those who keep them comfortable.

Amicable caregiving (the default mode of most of us pastors) is always less costly than courageous leading.

Trouble is, no human gathering survives or thrives without continual transformation, refitting and repositioning, particularly an institution that’s accountable to a living God.

A leader puts an organization in pain that it has been avoiding — utilizing its very best resources of avoidance — in the faith that the organization can marshal the resources to have a future.

As G.K. Chesterton said to the church of his day, if you like the look of a fence post and want to preserve it as it is, you must repaint the post every year.

Read the rest here.

Leading with the Sermon: Preaching as Leadership

Purchase from Amazon

Purchase from Fortress Press

In this addition to the new Working Preacher Books series, prolific author William H. Willimon makes the compelling case that two key pastoral tasks–preaching and leadership–complement, correct, strengthen, and inform one another. Preaching is the distinctive function of pastoral leaders. Leadership of the church, particularly during a challenging time of transition in mainline Protestantism, has become a pressing concern for pastors.

This book shows how the practices, skills, and intentions of Christian preaching can be helpful to the leadership of a congregation. It will also show how leadership is an appropriate expectation for sermons. In preaching, pastoral leaders can help a congregation face its problems and coordinate its God-given resources to address those problems. Sermons can be an opportunity to articulate, motivate, and orchestrate God’s people in doing God’s work in the church and in the world.

Leading with the Sermon includes chapters on why pastors must be leaders, why preaching is such an essential task in telling the truth about the gospel, how preaching makes better leaders, and how better leaders make better preachers.

Shaped by the Bible

My book Shaped by the Bible is back in print with Wipf and Stock not quite thirty years after it was published. It offers sound information about the ways congregations are formed and reformed by the biblical message and the living Word. I discussed the ways Scripture can form us, reform us, and challenge us, as well as the ways we hide from, close our ears to, and evade the Bible’s claims on us.

Reading More Barth Together: Session III

In our third session of the Reading More Barth Together webinars, we looked at “The Gift of Freedom,” in which Barth sketches the understanding of freedom he thinks necessary for evangelical ethics, and Stanley and I answered some of your questions. You can watch it here on my YouTube channel.