Rev. Hamilton discusses effective worship and preaching
June 3, 2016 / By Kathleen Rubino
After wrapping up some points from the first session, Rev. Adam Hamilton, founding pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., dove into the topic of the second Study Session: effective worship and preaching.
He began with examples of what he and his congregation do: having people pray during the week over the seats in the sanctuary for those who will sit in them, praying at the alter before worship, and beginning worship with an upbeat welcome, where he identifies himself and expresses his gratitude for those in attendance.
According to Rev. Hamilton, there are five components of preaching that connects:
- Teaching people something they didn’t know before. For example, Rev. Hamilton explained in one sermon how the image most people have of the crucifixion is incorrect and demonstrated what it actually looked like and showed photos.
- Sermons are meant to inspire people. One year for Mother’s Day, Rev. Hamilton and his church sought to bring mothers to the church. A photographer took photos, and there were free flowers and food. He preached about “the worst mother in the Bible,” Jezebel, to “make the mothers feel better about themselves afterwards,” he joked. Rev. Hamilton also showed a video, where fake interviews were conducted for a 24/7, no holiday breaks, zero-pay job, and the end of the video reveals that this job is the role of a mother, prompting emotional responses and gratitude for mothers.
- Call people to action. Rev. Hamilton’s professor told him the story of a man who preached each week, but he didn’t change anything. This man taped a paper with the words “So what” on it to the front of the pulpit to remind him to call people to action in each sermon.
- Relevant to daily life. Rev. Hamilton once undertook a six month-long adventure with farming, all to develop a sermon series. One sermon focused on “In life, manure happens.” His goal was to show people a plan for transforming and managing “manure” – life’s obstacles. He told his congregation about developing an MMP (manure management plan), and coincidentally, you have to turn manure every seven days to turn it into fertilizer. Rev. Hamilton was able to use an everyday object and relate it to not only the Bible, but also to daily life.
- It needs to be biblical.
In addition to these components, Rev. Hamilton also gave examples of the types of sermons, including pastoral care sermons, sermons that strengthen the church, and sermons that equip people to live out their faith in the world. He also mentioned giving people things to help them remember sermons, including a prayer tag and a compassion coin.