The Rev. Dr. William H. Willimon

Denomination: United Methodist Church (UMC)
Organization: Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC

The Reverend Dr. William H. Willimon is Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at The Divinity School, Duke University. He retired after serving eight years as Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church, where he led the 157,000 Methodists and 792 pastors in North Alabama. For twenty years prior to the episcopacy, he was Dean of the Chapel and Professor of Christian Ministry at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Willimon is a graduate of Wofford College (B.A., 1968), Yale Divinity School (M.Div., 1971) and Emory University (S.T.D., 1973). He has served as pastor of churches in Georgia and South Carolina. For four years, beginning in 1976, he served as Assistant Professor of Liturgy and Worship at Duke Divinity School, teaching courses in liturgics and homiletics and served as Director of the Ministerial Course of Study School at Duke, and Presiding Minister in the Divinity School Chapel. When he returned to the parish ministry in 1980, he was Visiting Associate Professor of Liturgy and Worship at Duke for three years. He has been awarded honorary degrees from a dozen colleges and universities including Wofford College, Lehigh University, Colgate University, Birmingham-Southern College, and Moravian Theological  Seminary.  In 1992, he was named as the first Distinguished Alumnus of Yale Divinity School. He also serves on the faculties of Birmingham-Southern College as Visiting Distinguished Professor and as Visiting Research Professor at Duke Univeristy Divinity School.

He is the author of sixty books. His Worship as Pastoral Care was selected as one of the ten most useful books for pastors in 1979 by the Academy of Parish Clergy. Over a million copies of his books have been sold. In 1996, an international survey conducted by Baylor University named him one of the Twelve Most Effective Preachers in the English-speaking world.

His articles have appeared in many publications including The Christian Ministry, Quarterly Review, Liturgy, Worship and Christianity Today. He is Editor-at-Large for The Christian Century. He has served as Editor and Expositor (with his wife, Patricia) for Abingdon's International Lesson Annual. He has written curriculum materials and video for youth, young adults, and adults. His Pulpit Resource is used each week by over eight thousand pastors in the USA, Canada, and Australia. A 2005 study by the Pulpit and Pew Research Center found that Bishop Willimon is the second most widely read author by mainline Protestant pastors.

Bishop Willimon has given lectures and taught courses at many pastors' schools and at colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. These include the Belden Lectures at Harvard as well as lectureships at Princeton, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine, and Oxford. In 1998, he served on the theological faculty of the University of Bonn, Germany and in 1991, he was Distinguished Guest Professor at the University of Muenster, Germany. His books have been translated into eight languages.

He has served as vice chairman of the Board of Trustees, Wofford College; chairperson of the University Council Committee for the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale; and on the Board of Overseers for Memorial Church, Harvard University, and the Boards of Emory, Birmingham-Southern, and Huntingdon Colleges. He serves on the editorial boards of The Christian Century, The Christian Ministry, Preaching, The Wittenburg Door, and Leadership.

 

 

Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Dr. William H. Willimon

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Go for the Gold

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop William H. Willimon of the North Alabama Conference preaches a powerful sermon entitled "Go for the Gold" based on Matt. 13:44-46.

Extravagance

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop William H. Willimon of the North Alabama Conference preaches a powerful sermon entitled "Extravagance" based on Matt. 14:13-21.

How You Will Know If It's Jesus?

Friday October 24, 2008
United Methodist Bishop Willimon of the North Alabama Conference gives a compelling sermon entitled "How Will You Know If It's Jesus?" on Matthew 14:22-33.

Let The Little Ones Come Unto Me

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon examines Jesus' teachings about divorce and children, and shares powerful insights about God's limitless love.

The Peril (and the Promise) of Being Met by Jesus

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop William Willimon explores Jesus' encounter with a wealthy would-be disciple, and offers challenging insights on the cost of following Christ.

Good News?

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop William Willimon reveals how Jesus often shatters our expectations about what it means to follow him: "Jesus is not a technique for getting what we want out of God; Jesus is God's way of getting what God wants out of us."

Why Jesus? Part 1: Jesus the Vagabond

Friday October 24, 2008
In part 1 of his powerful series, "Why Jesus?" Bishop William H. Willimon introduces us to "Jesus the Vagabond"--God in motion, who calls us to "Go."

Why Jesus? Part 2: Jesus the Storyteller

Friday October 24, 2008
In part 2 of his powerful series, Why Jesus? Bishop William H. Willimon explores how Jesus teaches--and often confuses--his followers through the use of parables.

Why Jesus? Part 3: Jesus the Magician

Friday October 24, 2008
In part 3 of his challenging series, Why Jesus? Bishop William H. Willimon guides us through the signs and wonders Jesus performed during his earthly ministry as a way to reconcile the world to himself.

Why Jesus? Part 4: Jesus the Home Wrecker

Friday October 24, 2008
In the concluding part to his challenging series, Why Jesus? based on his new book, Bishop William H. Willimon explores Jesus' often perplexing teaching on the family--and reveals the larger and more demanding family he calls us into.

Will Willimon: One in Christ

Friday October 24, 2008
Regarding the division and disunity that seems to pervade our country these days, Will Willimon says this really isn’t anything new--at least a third of the New Testament deals with division and polarization, and that’s what Paul addresses in his letter to the Philippians. He tells them to act like Jesus, stop acting out of selfishness, and watch out for the good for others.

Articles by The Rev. Dr. William H. Willimon

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Bishop Will Willimon: A Faith Based on the Testimony of Women

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon offers insight on what Jesus told his disciples to do after his resurrection -- and what that means for our faith today.

Bishop Will Willimon: Passing the Plate

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon explores the issue of church giving--and why there never seems to be enough.

Bishop Will Willimon: Advice for New Pastors Part 1

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon shares experiences from his personal journey from seminary to the parish, and offers cogent advice for all new pastors.

Bishop Will Willimon: Advice for New Pastors Part 2

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church continues his practical and thought-provoking series of advice for new pastors.

Bishop Will Willimon: Advice for New Pastors 3

Friday October 24, 2008
This past year Allan Hugh Cole, professor at Austin Presbyterian Seminary, has edited a book for new pastors, From Midterms to Ministry (Eerdmans). I was asked to write a chapter in the volume, recounting my own journey from seminary to the parish, drawing out any implications that my experience had for new pastors.

Bishop Will Willimon: Advice for New Pastors Part 4

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon continues with his wise advice for new pastors.

Bishop Will Willimon: It's All About Numbers

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon offers some insight regarding church statistics--and how we should respond to them.

Bishop Will Willimon: Claiborne's Call to Young Christians

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon interacts with some provocative thoughts expressed by emergent Christian leader Shane Claiborne.

Bishop Will Willimon: Thinking Like Christians About Health Care

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon offers his thoughts about how to handle health care reform from a faith perspective.

Bishop Will Willimon: Traditional or Contemporary?

Friday October 24, 2008
United Methodist Bishop Will Willimon focuses on the great worship debate: traditional or contemporary?

Bishop Will Willimon: Church Renewal as Theological Recovery

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon shares insights on the theology of church renewal from Tony Robinson.

Bishop Will Willimon: Christians as Consumers or Disciples?

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon shares insights from Tony Robinson on the common culture of many Christians today--who tend to act more as consumers than disciples.

Bishop Will Willimon: A Church Formed by the Power of the Word

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon reflects on the power of the Word of God in preaching and in building the church.

Bishop Will Willimon: If This Were a Real Church...

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon offers some biblical grace to churches that are going through difficult times these days.

Bishop Will Willimon: Money and Mission

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon shares insights on stewardship and mission support in the midst of an economic crisis.

Bishop Will Willimon: Don't Give Up Meeting Together

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon looks at the single most important sign of a church's spiritual vitality--worship attendance--and shares encouragement from Hebrews 10:24-25 on why it's so important.

Bishop Will Willimon: Through Faith-Colored Glasses

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon returns to his home church for its 175th anniversary, offering some lessons in how to be a faithful church.

Bishop Will Willimon: Preaching Politics

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon examines the line of separation between church and state, and offers guidance about how churches can engage in politics.

Bishop Will Willimon: Dare We Rejoice?

Friday October 24, 2008
In this sober season of Advent, surrounded by the pain of the world, Bishop Will Willimon dares us to be truly joyful in Christ.

Bishop Will Willimon: Awake in Advent

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon reflects on the One for whom we wait during Advent--the One whom we know, the One who knows and loves us.

Bishop Will Willimon: Ambiguous Good News at Christmas

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon says the Nativity is just as much about social dislocation, about confused parents, and dark forebodings. What can we learn from that?

Bishop Will Willimon: Four Questions for Pastors

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon shares the four questions for pastors that Dr. Lloyd John Ogilvie asks himself as a way toward stronger accountability.

Bishop Will Willimon: The Six Percent Solution

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon offers church leaders an interesting insight on how to become more effective--by working the numbers.

Bishop Will Willimon: El Viaje

Friday October 24, 2008
As ethnic congregations continue to grow, Bishop Will Willimon attempts his first sermon in Spanish--about our journey with Jesus.

Bishop Will Willimon: Words About the Cross

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon suggests that when we Christians are asked to say something profound about ourselves, to say something about the nature of God, this is what we say: "cross."

Bishop Will Willimon: Cruciform Preaching--Inglorious Talk

Friday October 24, 2008
A cruciform faith in the God who reigns from a cross requires a peculiar way of preaching that is foolishness to the world. When the speaker points to Jesus hanging helplessly on the cross and says, “Jesus Christ is Lord!” the predictable audience reaction is, “Why? How?”

Bishop Will Willimon: Preaching and the Cross

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon writes, "Christian theology has always affirmed that the cross is not only a window through which we see the true nature of God as the embodiment of suffering love but also the truthful mirror in which we see ourselves."

Bishop Will Willimon: Foolish Preaching

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon continues his exploration of "cruciform preaching," using "what is foolish in the world to confound the wise."

Bishop Will Willimon: Thinking Resurrection

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon explores a "curious passage" in which the Apostle Paul links the resurrection with preaching and preaching with resurrection.

Bishop Will Willimon: Easter Preaching

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon writes, "One of the things that occurs in the weekly preaching of the gospel is to lay the gospel story over our stories and reread our lives in the light of what is real now that crucified Jesus has been raised from the dead."

Bishop Will Willimon: The Effect of Easter on Preachers

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon writes, "The world, the flesh and the devil have a stake in our convincing ourselves that preaching doesn’t work – it’s one of the ways that the world protects itself from the reality of resurrection." Read on...

Bishop Will Willimon: Preaching and the Resurrection, Continued

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon writes, "If one considers the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus – the birth of the church from the once despondent and defeated disciples, the perseverance of the saints even unto today, last Sunday’s sermon that changed a life -- it is difficult to see why anyone would disbelieve it, except for two reasons..."

Ten Theses About the Future of MInistry

Friday October 24, 2008
Last fall I met with a group of Lilly Transition into Ministry fellows in Pennsylvania. These are some top recent seminary graduates who are in their first years of ministry. For our discussions I presented some of my hunches about the future of the pastoral ministry. This provoked a lively discussion among these new pastors.

Bishop Will Willimon: Wesley for Everyone

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon writes: "Recently I asked a successful youth minister, 'What is the chief factor in the growth of your ministry with youth?' He replied, 'the spiritual needs of students match up perfectly with Wesleyan Christianity. They want to be transformed and they yearn for connectedness with others in their walk with Christ. Methodists know how to do that!'" Read on...

Bishop Will Willimon: Lucky to Be Here

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon writes, "Some of our pastors will be saying goodbye to their present congregations as they move to new congregations in the next few weeks. Here is my last sermon in Duke Chapel, a sermon about a student delivered with gratitude before a new group of Duke students on Orientation Sunday, students on their way in as I was on my way out."

Bishop Will Willimon: My First Sermon

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon writes, "Later this year Westminster John Knox Press will publish a collection of my sermons over the past forty years. Pouring through my old sermons has been a fun, humbling experience. I found the very first sermon that I preached at my very first church, Trinity, North Myrtle Beach, S.C. My father-in-law, Carl Parker had given birth to Trinity the year I was born, but the congregation had never thrived. So I went there in fear and trepidation, as witnessed in this first sermon..."

Major Moves in Ministry

Friday October 24, 2008
All of the gospels depict Jesus and his disciples as people on the move. They never stay anywhere long. Jesus teaches or performs some wonder, then immediately moves on.

Bishop Will Willimon: Numbers Aren't Important?

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon writes, "How do we Methodists define effective clergy? We do it with one word: growth. Effective clergy know how to grow the church in its membership, witness, and mission." That requires keeping track of the numbers...read on.

Bishop Will Willimon: Three Signs of a Miserable Job

Friday October 24, 2008
Miserable jobs, according to Patrick Lencioni’s book, Three Signs of a Miserable Job, share three things: Anonymity, Irrelevance and Immeasurement. How does this apply to the church? Read on...

Bishop Will Willimon: Going Out and Coming In (Ps. 121:8)

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon writes, "On a day last spring I returned home (the afternoon that I put Patsy on a plane to rush to the bedside of her dying mother). I opened the door and immediately realized that we had been robbed..." Read on.

Bishop Will Willimon: Let the Children Come

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon writes: "A couple of decades ago, in a sincere attempt to make our churches more accessible and welcoming to children, some of our churches adopted an innovation: the children’s sermon. Today the children’s sermon is, to my mind, a prime example of a noble effort but an unfortunate strategy." Read on...

Bishop Will Willimon: Gifts of God for the Work of Ministry

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon shares the ordination sermon he preached earlier this month: "It is theologically impossible for there ever to be a shortage of clergy, a dearth of leaders for the church, not enough people to do the mission Jesus has called us to do." Read on...

Bishop Will Willimon: Accentuating the Positive

Friday October 24, 2008
"It is unsurprising that there is much failure in the Christian church. After all, we are attempting to worship and to serve a crucified savior.... What is surprising, considering the mission of the church, is that we have churches...and pastors who are positive, fulfilled, excited, and fruitful." Read on...

Bishop Will Willimon: Jesus Is Better Than Politics

Friday October 24, 2008
"We have more important things to worry about than the purely [political] infatuations that worry the IRD. In a world that worships politics as divine, we have more important things to do than politics."

Bishop William Willimon: Impacting Church Attendance

Friday October 24, 2008
I have often noted the importance of Sunday attendance as an indicator of a congregation’s vitality. Each week I correspond with those pastors who... lead churches who show the largest gain in attendance.

Bishop Will Willimon: Church on the Move in the Power of the Holy Spirit

Friday October 24, 2008
The Acts of Apostles is addressed to a church in trouble. Reading between the lines of the text, here was a church that was constantly clashing with culture, a church that was holding on by its finger tips, a church with severe money problems. How does Luke, author of Acts, inspire and ignite a troubled church?

Bishop William Willimon: Making Membership Mean Something

Friday October 24, 2008
In our determination to start more new congregations among those who are under served by our church, we created The Community Church Without Walls on the west side of Birmingham. Read about what's happening.

Bishop William Willimon: To Bethlehem

Friday October 24, 2008
Do you want to get close to God? Then the story of Ruth, as well as the story of the babe at Bethlehem, suggests that we will meet God in our times of grief, when people leave us in untimely ways, people on whom we are dependent.

Bishop William Willimon: Praying Our Way Through Ministry

Friday October 24, 2008
The work that Jesus calls us to do is more than that which can be done through good technique, savvy leadership skills, or even wise corporate management. As Jesus said to his disciples..., “this sort of thing can’t be done without prayer.” (Mark 29)

Bishop William Willimon: A Prayer for the New Year

Friday October 24, 2008
Christmastide ends this week as we move into New Year’s. As Christians we are reminded through the mystery of the Incarnation that we cross the threshold into a New Year not alone – God is with us. Thanks be to God!

Bishop William Willimon: Pastoral Leadership Challenges

Friday October 24, 2008
Dr. Hugh Ballou has done some great work in his transformational leadership seminars. Last year Dr. Ballou interviewed me on church leadership issues. Here is a part of that interview...

Bishop William Willimon: Pastoral Leadership Challenges, Part 2

Friday October 24, 2008
Dr. Hugh Ballou has done some great work in his transformational leadership seminars. Last year Dr. Ballou interviewed me on church leadership issues. Here is Part 2 of that interview:

Bishop William Willimon: Family

Friday October 24, 2008
It didn’t take [Alabama's] new governor long to stumble with his comment that if you haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, “You’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”

Bishop William Willimon: Pastoral Leadership Challenges (Part 3)

Friday October 24, 2008
Dr. Hugh Ballou has done some great work in his transformational leadership seminars. Last year Dr. Ballou interviewed me on church leadership issues. Here is Part 3 of that interview.

Bishop William Willimon: Making Clergy

Friday October 24, 2008
Of all Episcopal duties, the making of new clergy is the most sacred -- and the most daunting. Ordination is counter to just about everything that Americans believe.

Bishop William Willimon: People of the Cross

Friday October 24, 2008
Everything about Jesus is cruciform. The cross is not just an unfortunate event on a Friday afternoon at the garbage dump outside Jerusalem; it’s the way the world welcomed lover Jesus from day one.

Bishop Will Willimon: God Healing the Division Between Us and God

Friday October 24, 2008
When Jesus finally led his disciples into Jerusalem (on the day the church now calls “Palm Sunday”), many of his followers expected him at last to stand up and act like a Messiah, become King, storm the Roman garrison and set up a grand new “House of David” government. To their surprise, he bypassed City Hall and attacked the temple.

Bishop William Willimon: God on a Cross

Friday October 24, 2008
Of Jesus it can be said, “Truly he is the Son of God,” and yet he is no robot unflinchingly plodding toward his death on a cross. He is truly flesh and blood. He does not play-act in Gethsemane; he wrestles with his destiny, crying in anguished dereliction.

Bishop William Willimon: God's Peculiar Love

Friday October 24, 2008
In Gethsemane and on Calvary’s hill, Jesus redefined the sovereignty of God. The one we expected to be the royal Victor became the tortured Victim. The one who looked like the failed Victim became the divine victory.

Bishop William Willimon: Easter Comes to Us

Friday October 24, 2008
The Resurrection is not only an event in the past; it has present implications. Easter is a sign of what God is up to in the world. The same resurrected Jesus who came back to his defeated disciples continues to come to us.

Bishop William Willimon: Even Amid the Devastation, Christ Is Risen

Friday October 24, 2008
In the aftermath of deadly tornadoes: By God's grace, we believe we shall look back on the next few weeks as a time when -- even amid our tragedy -- we experienced the presence and power of the Risen Christ.

The Limits of Explanation

Friday October 24, 2008
In the past two weeks I’ve learned again that terrible, destructive, undeserved tragedies are, on the whole, inexplicable.

Bishop Will Willimon: Reading Job in a Whirlwind

Friday October 24, 2008
In the past weeks we in Alabama have had cause to renew our friendship with Job. We have witnessed, and many personally suffered, the havoc and calamity of a series of great and mighty whirlwinds.

Bishop Will Willimon: The Joy of Ministry

Friday October 24, 2008
All Christian leadership begins in God’s determination to have a people in motion helping God retake God’s world. For those of us in ordained leadership in our church, sometimes the great challenge is to believe in us half as much as God in Christ believes in us...

Bishop Will Willimon: Healthy Congregations

Friday October 24, 2008
One way to tell if a congregation is healthy is that it is on the move, trying to keep up with the machinations of the risen Christ.

Bishop Will Willimon: Don't Be Afraid

Friday October 24, 2008
This is my sermon for the Service of Ordination at this year's Annual Conference at Asbury UMC in Madison. We had a grand, informative, inspiring Conference. This sermon was my charge to our newest clergy.

Bishop Will Willimon: An Open Letter on Immigration

Friday October 24, 2008
Our state [has] passed the meanest immigrant legislation bill in the nation. The bill is an embarrassment to our state and does not represent the spirit of hospitality of our churches.

Bishop Will Willimon: Welcome Others as Christ Has Welcomed You

Friday October 24, 2008
Most mainline protestant churches are in decline, the churches of North Alabama are no exception. But not all. I’ve made it my business to visit our growing congregations in order to learn more about why they are thriving.

Bishop Will Willimon: Fred Shuttlesworth: The Passing of a Preacher

Friday October 24, 2008
Fred Shuttlesworth, who passed away this week, was not known as widely as some Civil Rights activists, mainly because he never stopped being a pastor who daily cared for an active congregation.

Bishop Will Willimon: Unnatural Gratitude

Friday October 24, 2008
"Christians are made, not born," said Tertullian. No Christian virtues are innate. Nothing about following Jesus comes naturally. Therefore, so much that the church does for us is formational, educational, and transformational.

Bishop Will Willimon: Turnaround at Helena

Friday October 24, 2008
I appointed Mike Edmondson to our Helena congregation in 2008. Since then, the church has experienced a remarkable turnaround. I have been studying Mike’s leadership and the moves that this congregation has made in the past few years and wanted to share some of what I have learned.

Bishop Will Willimon: When "Mine" Becomes "Thine"

Friday October 24, 2008
On this week of Thanksgiving, pray with me this prayer, Wesley’s poetic response to Acts 4:32, “The multitude of them that believed, were of one heart, and one soul; neither said any of them, that aught of the things which he possessed, was his own, but they had all things in common. Neither was there any among them that lacked.”

Bishop Will Willimon: Word Made Flesh

Friday October 24, 2008
It’s a story so strange we could not have dreamed it up by ourselves, this story of how God was incarnate in Jesus the Christ.

Bishop Will Willimon: A Christmas Parable

Friday October 24, 2008
A Christmas story, can’t remember where I heard it, but I tell it to you as you begin your own celebration of Christmastide.

Bishop Will Willimon: We Believe in Faith and Good Works

Friday October 24, 2008
Wesley’s orientation toward the practical is evident in his focus upon the “scripture way of salvation.” He considered doctrinal matters primarily in terms of their significance for Christian discipleship.

Bishop Will Willimon: We Believe That Faith Is Known By Its Fruits

Friday October 24, 2008
The Social Principles, along with our General Rules, are testimony to the continuing role of disciplined holiness – personal and social holiness – in the United Methodist way of being Christian.

Bishop Will Willimon: Disturber of the Peace

Friday October 24, 2008
Our Lord Jesus preached peace, but “not as the world gives.” Peaceful Jesus was from the first a disturber of the status quo. Alas, too often Jesus’ followers have been on the side of peace at any cost, peace as the world gives in opposition to Jesus.

Bishop Will Willimon: We Believe in Discipleship in Action

Friday October 24, 2008
Any truly Wesleyan vision of the Christian life includes direct, personal, sacrificial encounter with suffering persons – simply collecting money for someone else to work with the poor is not enough.

Bishop Will Willimon: We Believe in Social Righteousness

Friday October 24, 2008
John Wesley preached “practical Christianity.” Few United Methodist practices illustrate our practical Christianity more vividly than our Social Principles(which have their roots in the “social creed” of our church which dates from the early Twentieth Century).

Bishop Will Willimon: Our Spanish-Speaking Churches in the Aftermath of HB56

Friday October 24, 2008
Though almost all of our fledgling United Methodist Christians were documented, in just two months we saw our congregations decimated and all of our prayerful work destroyed.

Bishop Will Willimon: The Cross

Friday October 24, 2008
Really now, Lord Jesus, is our sin so serious as to necessitate the sort of ugly drama we are forced to behold this day? Why should the noon sky turn toward midnight and the earth heave and the heavens be rent for our mere peccadilloes?

Bishop Will Willimon: The Cross and Ministry

Friday October 24, 2008
I was having a difficult time in my previous congregation. A stormy board meeting was followed by a poorly received sermon, which was then succeeded by a none-too-pleasant public confrontation with the chair of the church trustees. What had I done to so badly manage the congregation?

Bishop Will Willimon: The Cross: Our Way to God

Friday October 24, 2008
Despite our earnest efforts, we couldn’t climb all the way up to God. So what did God do? In an amazing act of condescension, on Good Friday, God climbed down to us, became one with us. The story of divine condescension begins on Christmas and ends on Good Friday.

Bishop Will Willimon: The Cross: The Measure of Love

Friday October 24, 2008
As we move through Lent, season of the cross, here is another meditation related to the theme of the cross.

Bishop Will Willimon: "Father, Forgive"

Friday October 24, 2008
Don’t you find it curious that the first word, the very first word that Jesus speaks in agony on the cross, is “Father, forgive”?

Bishop Will Willimon: Resurrection

Friday October 24, 2008
A student, asked to summarize the gospel in a few words, responded: in the Bible, it gets dark, then it gets very, very dark, then Jesus shows up. I’d add to this affirmation, Jesus doesn’t just show up; he shows up for us.

Bishop Will Willimon: Following Jesus After Easter

Friday October 24, 2008
I am still haunted by a long conversation I had with a man who was a member of one of my early congregations. He told me that one evening, returning from a night of poker with pals, he had a stunning vision of the presence of the risen Christ. Christ appeared to him undeniably, vividly.

Bishop Will Willimon: Nonviolent Resurrected Jesus

Friday October 24, 2008
“Those who take up the sword die by the sword” is one of the truest proverbs of Jesus. Both the victor and the vanquished must finally submit to the power of the sword. The sword we thought we were using to secure ourselves becomes our ultimate defeat.

Bishop Will Willimon: Lost and Found Loving the Lost

Friday October 24, 2008
One reason that Christians tend to move toward those on the boundaries, tend to feel responsibility for the hungry and the dispossessed is because we worship the sort of God who has moved toward us while we were famished and out on the boundaries.

Bishop Will Willimon: Jesus' Family Values

Friday October 24, 2008
Our families, as good as they are, are too narrow, too restricted. So in baptism we are adopted into a family large enough to make our lives more interesting.

Bishop Will Willimon: Fear of God

Friday October 24, 2008
When Jesus rose from the dead the disciples were told, “Don’t be afraid.” Those who knew Jesus best, and were in turn known best by him, knew that, while friendship with Jesus is sweet, it is also demanding, difficult, and, at times, even fearsome.

Bishop William Willimon: Sent--An Ordination Sermon

Friday October 24, 2008
There are less demanding ways to serve Jesus, surely. But forgive me for thinking few more adventuresome than a life commandeered by Jesus into sent ministry.

Bishop Will Willimon: Christ and Leadership

Friday October 24, 2008
Everyone agrees that we currently suffer a “crisis of leadership.” Our numbers indicate that we have been under led, or led in the wrong sorts of ways. Our indicators of institutional health say that we need to do some things differently.

Bishop William H. Willimon: Last Word

Friday October 24, 2008
A few years ago I was asked to contribute a “last sermon” to a collection that was being published. Here is that sermon offered as my last “Bishop’s Email.”

Will Willimon: Ministry as Difficult as It Ought to Be

Friday October 24, 2008
After two quadrennia as a church bureaucrat, slogging in the muck and mire of ecclesiastical trenches ”” sending pastors to remote, unappealing locations where Jesus insists on working ”” I’m again teaching in that amazing countercultural phenomenon called a seminary.

Will Willimon: Mentoring Into Ministry

Friday October 24, 2008
As Bishop I met regularly with my new and young pastors, asking them how I could support their leadership. Their most frequent request: give us more mentors. Their request made me feel old.

Will Willimon: City Churches

Friday October 24, 2008
A key factor in any thriving urban church is preaching. The urban church is in a competitive environment in which many members may have to drive past many other congregations on their way to the church.

Will Willimon Reviews 'Overflow' by Lovett Weems

Friday October 24, 2008
Overflow attempts to 'give people hope that they can improve their attendance' by offering encouragement and practical steps for 'planning, implementing, and evaluating worship that can produce greater fruitfulness.' The book exudes encouragement and hope and is packed with practical advice.

Lillian Daniel Interviews Will Willimon: Flawed and Fallen Folk

Friday October 24, 2008
After publishing 64 books on theology, worship and church leadership, William H. Willimon wrote a novel,Incorporation (Wipf and Stock), about a large suburban congregation, its dysfunctional staff and its narcissistic senior pastor. We wanted to know what led Willimon to try his hand at fiction. Or is it fiction? We asked Lillian Daniel to find out.

Will Willimon: Stanley's Gifts

Friday October 24, 2008
In four decades, Stanley Hauerwas has reframed theological discourse and has had a marked impact upon the church’s life. He has also been my friend. I wanted to offer my enumeration of a few of key contributions Stanley has made to the life of the church

Will Willimon: Incarnation: Thinking About God With Us

Friday October 24, 2008
Incarnation: The Surprising Overlap of Heaven and Earth has been published by Abingdon Press. I’m hoping that his is appropriate reading for the season of Advent, the season of the Incarnation. Below is a selection from my book on Incarnation.

Will Willimon: Resurrection: Getting What God Wants

Friday October 24, 2008
With all Christians, United Methodists proclaim Christ’s resurrection as the point of our faith, the hope of the world. What we believe about Easter is the core of our faith. Here are some Easter thoughts on Christ’s resurrection along with some citations from the UM Book of Discipline that show what resurrection means to us.

Will Willimon: 'Resident Aliens' at 25

Friday October 24, 2008
This year Abingdon Press has released a new edition of Resident Aliens on the book’s twenty-fifth anniversary. Stanley Hauerwas and I have written a foreword and afterword for the new edition. Here is the first part of my foreword.

Will Willimon: 'Resident Aliens' at 25, Part 2

Friday October 24, 2008
This year Abingdon Press has released a new edition of Resident Aliens on the book’s twenty-fifth anniversary. Stanley Hauerwas and I have written a foreword and afterword for the new edition. Here is the second part of my foreword.

Will Willimon: Bishop: The Body of Christ in Motion

Friday October 24, 2008
This is the season for Annual Conferences, for the appointment of United Methodist pastors, in short, it’s a season of bishops. Bishop, published in 2012 by Abingdon, contains some of my thoughts and insights from my eight years as active bishop in the United Methodist Church. These are some of my thoughts from the first chapter of that book.

Will Willimon: Being Bishop

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop, published in 2012 by Abingdon, contains some of my thoughts and insights from my eight years as active bishop in the United Methodist Church. These are some of my thoughts from the first chapter of that book. The book caused much interest among many denominations but does not seem to have been too well received by my fellow UM bishops even though I lauded our bishops as a key to the future vitality of our church.

Will Willimon: Bishops, District Superintendents, and Change

Friday October 24, 2008
My book, Bishop, published in 2012 by Abingdon, contains some of my thoughts and insights from my eight years as active bishop in the United Methodist Church. Here are some of my thoughts on the ways that bishops work with DSs.

Will Willimon: Ambiguous Good News at Christmas

Friday October 24, 2008
The old church calendar, in its wisdom places immediately after the joyful feast of the Nativity, the day of St. Stephen (December 26), first martyr of the Church in Acts and the gospel text as Matthew 2:13-18, story of the bloody massacre of the boy babies. New birth and nativity, the cross and sacrifice get all mixed up in the gospel. When will we ever learn that nothing truly new, no large move of God occurs without some pain. Blood and birth go together.

Will Willimon: The Art of Preaching

Friday October 24, 2008
A number of years ago a distinguished homiletics professor wrote a bookon the science of preaching. He noted those insights, techniques, andmethods that are required to preach well. His book was a massive exercise in the explication of the precise steps on the way to a good sermon.

Will Willimon: Declaring What She Sees: Harper Lee’s 'Go Set a Watchman'

Friday October 24, 2008
Many have condemned the publication of Go Set a Watchman as a brutal defamation of our beloved Atticus Finch or as an unedited, sloppy novel that detracts from the reputation of Harper Lee. While Go Set a Watchman lacks the literary perfection of her first novel, I am bold to believe that Watchman, particularly when read in the context of Mockingbird, confirms the artistic genius of Lee.

Will Willimon: The Best of Times for Church Leaders

Friday October 24, 2008
A consultant told one of my churches, 'Your church staff is intelligent, spiritually astute, but don’t know how to do the things that need to be done to give this church a future. Worse, they have a well-developed theology to justify their lack of leadership.'

Will Willimon: The Holy Spirit, by Willimon and Hauerwas, Part 1

Friday October 24, 2008
This Fall Abingdon Press will publish The Holy Spirit, a new collaboration by Stanley Hauerwas and me. We hope the book will be read by pastors and their congregations that they may have a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit. It’s been said that the Holy Spirit is the most neglected aspect of the Trinity. We hope that our book, in some small way, helps to change that neglect!

Will Willimon: The Holy Spirit, by Willimon and Hauerwas, Part 2

Friday October 24, 2008
This Fall Abingdon Press will publish The Holy Spirit, the latest collaboration by Stanley Hauerwas and me. In this book, we attempt to lure fellow Christians into the riches of Pneumatology, thinking about the Holy Spirit. We hope the book will be read by pastors and their congregations that they may have a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit. Here's a second excerpt...

Will Willimon: The Holy Spirit, by Will Willimon and Stanley Hauerwas, Part 3

Friday October 24, 2008
This Fall Abingdon Press will publish The Holy Spirit, a new collaboration by Stanley Hauerwas and me. We hope the book will be read by pastors and their congregations that they may have a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit. It’s been said that the Holy Spirit is the most neglected aspect of the Trinity. May this book be used by the Holy Spirit to address that!

Will Willimon: The Holy Spirit, by Willimon and Hauerwas, Part 4

Friday October 24, 2008
Excerpt part 4 from Will Willimon and Stanley Hauerwas' new book, The Holy Spirit, published this fall.

Will Willimon: Daniel Darling’s The Original Jesus, reviewed in Christianity Today

Friday October 24, 2008
Darling takes deadly aim at a score of popular but fake Saviors: Guru Jesus, Red-Letter Jesus, Braveheart Jesus, Dr. Phil Jesus, Prosperity Jesus and more. No matter how biblically faithful you are in your thinking about Jesus, Darling will snag you with at least one of his pseudo Christs.

Will Willimon: How Odd of God--The Calling of St. Matthew

Friday October 24, 2008
My book, How Odd of God, is my attempt to show the relevance of Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Election for today’s preachers. Here is an excerpt from that book that gives you an indication of the encouragement and critique I hope to give contemporary preachers...

Will Willimon: How Odd of God–God is the primary agent of preaching

Friday October 24, 2008
My book, How Odd of God, is my attempt to show the relevance of Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Election for today’s preachers. Here is an excerpt from that book that gives you an indication of the encouragement and critique I hope to give contemporary preachers...

Will Willimon: How Odd of God–our listeners have been graciously elected by God to be for God

Friday October 24, 2008
My book, How Odd of God, is my attempt to show the relevance of Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Election for today’s preachers. Here is an excerpt from that book that gives you an indication of the encouragement and critique I hope to give contemporary preachers...

Will Willimon: How Odd of God-- Talk about the gospel tends to produce conflict

Friday October 24, 2008
My book, How Odd of God, is my attempt to show the relevance of Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Election for today’s preachers. Here is an excerpt from that book that gives you an indication of the encouragement and critique I hope to give contemporary preachers...

Will Willimon: Churches Need to Take Care of Business

Friday October 24, 2008
American churches have been languishing in an 'attendance recession.' Fewer Americans go to church. Now, from the Pew Research Center, comes word that Americans who identify with a specific religion declined six percent in the past seven years. Belief in God, praying daily and religious service attendance have dropped since 2007.

Will Willimon: The Wesleys, Holiness, and Life in the Spirit

Friday October 24, 2008
In this excerpt from their book, Holy Spirit, Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon show that John and Charles Wesley sought to renew the Church of England by having Christians take seriously that they were called to live holy lives.

Will Willimon: Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Leadership (Revised Ed.) - Excerpt

Friday October 24, 2008
Abingdon has published the revision of my book, Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Leadership. For the past couple of years I’ve been working on this revision, guided by my classes in Introduction to Ordained Leadership at Duke Divinity School and informed by a decade of interesting research in pastoral ministry. Here is an excerpt...

Will Willimon: Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love (An Excerpt, part 1)

Friday October 24, 2008
Competing attempts among politicians to leverage our fear of others into votes for them led to the idea of a book that thinks as Christians about the Other. Let the politicians do what they must to be elected by people like us, though I think they are selling us short. My job is not to worry about opinion polls, or what nine out of ten Americans can swallow without choking. My peculiar vocation is to help the church think like Christians so that we might be given the grace to act like Jesus.

Will Willimon: Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love (An Excerpt, part 2)

Friday October 24, 2008
This month Abingdon Press publishes my book, Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love. It is my attempt to think through the sin of Xenophobia, fear of the other, in a Christian, biblical way. The book has discussion questions for individuals and groups after each chapter, so I hope it will be useful in churches for study and growth.

Will Willimon: Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love (An Excerpt, part 3)

Friday October 24, 2008
This month Abingdon Press publishes my book, Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love. It is my attempt to think through the sin of Xenophobia, fear of the other, in a Christian, biblical way. The book has discussion questions for individuals and groups after each chapter, so I hope it will be useful in churches for study and growth.

Will Willimon: Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love (An Excerpt, part 4)

Friday October 24, 2008
This month Abingdon Press publishes my book, Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love. It is my attempt to think through the sin of Xenophobia, fear of the other, in a Christian, biblical way. The book has discussion questions for individuals and groups after each chapter, so I hope it will be useful in churches for study and growth.

Will Willimon: Preaching to Confront Racism

Friday October 24, 2008
An excerpt from 'Who Lynched Willie Earle? Preaching to Confront Racism' (forthcoming from Abingdon Press, February 2017)...

Will Willimon: Pastoral Care for the Holiday Blues, 2016

Friday October 24, 2008
Seasoned pastors know to be prepared, this time of year, to minister to the so-called 'Holiday Blues,' 'December Depression,' that ennui that occurs in many people who feel let down during Christmas. While others are celebrating the Nativity full of joy to the world, Holiday Blues sufferers feel the pain of some recent loss, or experience conflict in their families and find that the realities of the holiday don’t meet their expectations.

Will Willimon: Herod in Trouble

Friday October 24, 2008
Jesus is born in Bethlehem, City of David, fulfillment of the messianic hopes of Israel. And yet the first to recognize and to worship him are the magi, Gentile stargazing magicians, immigrants from the east. An even greater irony: compromised, corrupted, lackey-for-the-oppressive-Romans Herod, though he knew little of the scriptures knows enough to be 'troubled' along with nine-out-of-ten Judeans. What does the future hold? Can a baby threaten the government?

Will Willimon: Christian Talk about the Sin of Racism

Friday October 24, 2008
In February Abingdon Press will publish my book, 'Who Lynched Willie Earle? Preaching to Confront Racism.' The book is a labor of love, a tragedy that has captured my imagination over a lifetime, a topic that has been one of my major concerns.

Will Willimon: The Way Things Are: Conversations on 'Who Killed Willie Earle?'

Friday October 24, 2008
We had a wonderful day at Wofford College focused upon the issue of the Willie Earle Lynching and Preaching to Confront Racism. The many clergy, students, and scholars who gathered there explored the subjects of our racist past and our responsibilities for race and bias in the church today and tomorrow. Who Lynched Earle? Preaching to Confront Racism...

Will Willimon: Protest & Public Witness - Video Presentation

Friday October 24, 2008
Earlier this year, I had the chance to share a few thoughts and theological reflections through the General Board of Higher Education & Ministry about protest and public witness. Given the time we are in and the renewed place protest has in our public conversations, I hope you might find it helpful!

Will Willimon: Don't. Lie.

Friday October 24, 2008
When he received an honorary degree at the University of Aberdeen this past summer, my friend Stanley Hauerwas gave what may be the shortest commencement address on record. He said, in about five minutes, 'Do not lie.'

Will Willimon: Reflecting on Bishop Goodson - New Book Review, "Go And Be Reconciled"

Friday October 24, 2008
William E. Nicholas, professor emeritus at United Methodist-affiliated Birmingham-Southern College, and an active member of the conference Archives and History Committee, provides a wonderful treatment of Alabama Methodist racial history in his new book Go and Be Reconciled: Alabama Methodists Confront Racial Injustice: 1954-1974.

Television by The Rev. Dr. William H. Willimon

View All Day1 Television...

William Willimon - "What's Right" - 30 Good Minutes

Friday October 24, 2008
United Methodist Bishop, William Willimon, says the Bible's concept of justice is about putting things right in this fallen world. When God's ideas of gracious, generous love clash with our practices of parsimony, we need to recognize that God's ways are not always our ways.

Conversation with Bishop William Willimon - 30 Good Minutes

Friday October 24, 2008
Hosts Daniel Pawlus and Lydia Talbot in conversation with William Willimon, who says the Bible gives the poor the dignity of being special objects of concern, and the rich, Jesus says, have special responsibilities because of the gifts they've enjoyed.

Bishop William H. Willimon (Part 1) - Day1 Conversations with Peter Wallace

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop Will Willimon returns to Day1 and sits down with Day1 host Peter Wallace to discuss the future of the church, the work of his career, equipping pastors as a Bishop in a fractured world and much more.

Bishop William H. Willimon (Part 2) - Day1 Conversations with Peter Wallace

Friday October 24, 2008
In part two of Bishop Will Willimon's interview with Day1 host Peter Wallace we cover topics ranging from the Bishops calling early in life to the inspirations of his life and what should you ask for from your parishioners. An interesting conversation only on Day1.

Bishop William H. Willimon (Part 3) - Day1 Conversations with Peter Wallace

Friday October 24, 2008
Day1 host Peter Wallace sits down for a third installment of his interview with Bishop Will Willimon and discusses his book "Who will be saved?" and the question of that book, more of his recent writings and his work on a new blog. Peter also asks if something gets lost in this new technology world, or is this a change for the better?

God on the Prowl - Bishop William Willimon on 30 Good Minutes

Friday October 24, 2008
William Willimon, United Methodist Bishop for North Alabama, reflects on the love of God through Christ, who is the seeking shepherd that does not wait, but reaches out to embrace and have us.

Conversation with Will Willimon - A 30 Good Minutes Interview

Friday October 24, 2008
Hosts Lillian Daniel and Lydia Talbot in conversation with William Willimon, who says "I'm a Wesleyan Christian, a Methodist. John Wesley advised early Methodists: don't worry too much about eternity, worry about here and now, living with Jesus so you'll be ready to live with him for eternity. And I think that is good advice."

One Day God Will Finally Get What God Wants - The Rev. Dr. William Willimon on 30 Good Minutes

Friday October 24, 2008
The Rev. Dr. William Willimon, Bishop of the United Methodist Church for North Alabama, talks about heaven as the place where God will someday be all in all; that time and place when God at last will get what God wants.

Conversation with William Willimon - A 30 Good Minutes Interview

Friday October 24, 2008
Daniel Pawlus and Lydia Talbot in conversation with William Willimon, who says, "It's a great comfort in the Christian faith to realize that, in a sense, my relationship to God is God's self-assignment, God's problem and not mine, earnest efforts and all. I love those moments where God just kind of cuts through and gets to us."

Bishop William H. Willimon - Day1 Conversations with Peter Wallace (2010)

Friday October 24, 2008
Long time friend of Day1 Bishop William H. Willimon sits down with our host Peter Wallace to discuss the work of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, his love for the art of preaching and the challenges to the modern family. Join us for a delightful conversation!

Bishop Will Willimon (Part 2) - Day1 Conversations with Peter Wallace 2010

Friday October 24, 2008
Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, William H. Willimon, sits down for an in depth look at his new book "Why Jesus?" and discusses the roles of Jesus and how our society continues to grow in its understanding of Christ.