Bishop Kenneth Carter

Denomination: United Methodist Church (UMC)
Organization: Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church

Bishop Kenneth Carter is bishop of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, headquartered in Lakeland, FL. Prior to his election as bishop in 2012, he served as Waynesville District Superintendent in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, a position he assumed in 2011.

For seven years he was senior pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC.

Ken is the author of several books and a contributor to many others, and he maintains a blog entitled “Bear Witness To The Love of God in This World”.   Most recently he contributed to The Wesley Study Bible, The Abingdon Preaching Annual,  and the Feasting On The Word commentary series.  Ken has spoken to groups across the country, and has preached in congregations ranging in size from very small mountain churches to congregations of more than five thousand members. 

He and his wife Pam have two daughters and their family also includes a young man from Haiti who is a student at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama.  Ken’s hobbies are exercise, listening to music, writing and reading.  He and his wife have enjoyed traveling to England, Ireland, Israel, Guatemala, Haiti, Canada and China, and supporting the pursuits of their daughters.

Day1 Weekly Programs by Bishop Kenneth Carter

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We Are Yet Alive!

Tuesday November 24, 2015
As Advent begins, Bishop Ken Carter uses Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians to help us become oriented to the journey ahead. He notes three themes prominent in the letter: reunion, encouragement, and imitation.

A Kingdom Not of This World

Tuesday November 17, 2015
Bishop Ken Carter helps us think through the implications of the reign of Christ. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world," and he calls us to follow him as servants in the world.

Call and Response

Tuesday December 13, 2011
On this final Sunday in Advent, the Rev. Dr. Ken Carter examines the important role that Mary, the mother of Jesus, plays in the story of our faith, and encourages us to listen for God's call to do extraordinary things.

The Hand of God on the Shoulder of a Troubled World

Tuesday December 06, 2011
For Advent 3, the Rev. Dr. Ken Carter shares a theme woven through the texts for today: the theme of joy in the good news of the coming of Jesus Christ.

To Make the Wounded Whole

Monday September 21, 2009
The Rev. Dr. Ken Carter examines the spiritual practices mentioned in James 5--confession, intercession, and healing--and helps us understand how to practice them in the 21st century.

Our Patience, God's Peace

Sunday December 07, 2008
The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Carter is pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC.

Our Hope, God's Faithfulness

Sunday November 30, 2008
The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Carter is pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC.

Increase Our Faith

Sunday October 07, 2007
The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Carter reminds us that Jesus is with us wherever there is even the faith the size of a mustard seed and calls us to put our faith into action.

Listening to Jesus

Sunday September 30, 2007
The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Carter firmly reminds us, as did Jesus, that how we are to be judged by God is based on how we treat the poor.

Creation as the Labor of God

Sunday September 03, 2006
The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Carter, pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, reminds us of the beauty of God's creation in the world around us.

A Survival Strategy for the Spiritually Homeless

Sunday August 27, 2006
The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Carter Jr. is pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC. He reminds us of the solace available to us in God's house.

Our Spiritual Bottom Line

Sunday November 20, 2005
The Rev. Dr. Kenneth H. Carter Jr., pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte, N.C., gives a thought-provoking sermon about judgment and the last day.

Articles by Bishop Kenneth Carter

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Ken Carter: How a scriptural imagination can help Christians face fear

Wednesday July 08, 2020
It is natural to be afraid at a time like this. But the spiritual practice of reading Scripture within a deep tradition can be grounding for us, and can help us be resilient in the face of fear, writes UMC Bishop Ken Carter.

Bishop Ken Carter: “As Much Unity as Possible”: Reflections on 1 Corinthians 12

Tuesday January 30, 2018
The apostle Paul is writing to a divided church. There were divisions in the church, even in the first century. In this instance, the divisions were about the gifts of speaking in tongues (glossalia) and prophecy (prophetea). Some saw themselves as being more spiritual than others. Paul speaks into the context of the church in Corinth by using the framework of God’s gifts and grace.

Bishop Ken Carter: Remembering Who We Are: Where covenant, justice and unity meet

Tuesday November 07, 2017
This is the second post in the series, 'Remembering Who We Are.'

Bishop Ken Carter: Remembering Who We Are: Finding our core

Monday November 06, 2017
In conversations with the Florida Conference cabinet and later with a small team of persons on the Commission on a Way Forward, we sought to gain more clarity and definition of what is at the core of who we are as United Methodist Christians.

Bishop Ken Carter: Luther's Reformation and ours

Tuesday October 31, 2017
A sermon taken from Romans 5. 1-11 and preached by Bishop Ken Carter at Friedenau Methodist Church, Berlin, Germany, on September 17, 2017, and Knock Methodist Church, Belfast, Northern Ireland, on October 22, 2017.

Bishop Ken Carter: Charlottesville and the call to be the Church of Jesus Christ

Wednesday August 23, 2017
Saturday before last I began to learn of the events of Charlottesville. I stated that, as a follower of Jesus and a graduate of the University of Virginia, I found this repulsive. Later that evening, knowing that many would worship in local churches the next morning, I invited us to lay our racism at the altar and ask God to remove it from us.

Bishop Ken Carter: When a new pastor arrives: Five essential keys to beginning a relationship

Wednesday July 19, 2017
Last month a number of men and women have left a community and a congregation and have traveled to begin a new ministry. This process is physically, emotionally and spiritually challenging.

Bishop Ken Carter: 2017 Ordination Sermon: Bridges

Saturday July 08, 2017
The image of a bridge is one that I want those being licensed and ordained to keep before you as you enter into this relationship and vocation today. Because, brothers and sisters, while you have traveled across bridges that others imagined and constructed, you will need to repair some of the bridges and build new ones.

Bishop Ken Carter: Subtraction: Lent and the art of learning to say no

Friday March 24, 2017
A sermon taken from Matthew 4. 1-11 and preached at Duke University Chapel on March 5, 2017, and Bethune-Cookman University Chapel on March 8, 2017, by Bishop Ken Carter.

Bishop Ken Carter: Faithful discipleship in a time of turbulence

Sunday February 05, 2017
Over the past two weeks our nation has experienced a turbulent transition in political leadership. While it has been a part of a larger and peaceful transfer of power, it has also surfaced deep divisions among our citizens; indeed, the state where I serve (Florida) is often described as a 'battleground state'. And yet beneath these divisions are threats to the common good and to the great commandments, that we love God and our neighbor (Mark 12).

Bishop Ken Carter: A Fractured Denomination

Wednesday February 01, 2017
A part of our future must be a re-focusing on what it means to be a disciple, and that is, in itself, grounded in knowing the life and teachings of Jesus. We cannot assume this. It is likely true that our decline is due to the increase and now loss of a large constituency of nominal constituents.

Bishop Ken Carter: Just Resolution as an Expression of Restorative Justice

Wednesday November 09, 2016
When a violation of the Book of Discipline occurs, related to overlapping marks of LGBTQ and Christian (United Methodist) community and identity, we might begin with a question: Who has been harmed?

Bishop Ken Carter: Why We Need Evangelicals

Friday August 26, 2016
So what does the word 'evangelical' mean? It is not a synonym for conservative. At the same time, liberalism has no future without it. It is not a subgroup within a political party or within a church. Whenever the word 'evangelical' is used in this way, something is deeply wrong.

Bishop Ken Carter: An Ordination Sermon: The Odor of the Sheep

Wednesday August 03, 2016
A sermon taken from John 21. 15-19 and preached by Bishop Ken Carter on June 18, 2016, upon the occasion of the licensing, commissioning and ordination of women and men for the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ, at the Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Bishop Ken Carter: Losing the Home Court Advantage

Wednesday April 06, 2016
The end of the home-court advantage is result of our own flaws -- we must confess, more honestly, our sins -- and it is the inevitable consequence of modernity and, more recently, post-modernity. Modernity wondered how Christianity could be true; post-modernity asked how Christianity could be authentic. Taken together, the faith seemed out of sync with culture.

Bishop Ken Carter: Fresh Expressions of Church: The Missionary Holy Spirit Goes Ahead of Us

Wednesday December 16, 2015
Eleventh and last in a series on the Fresh Expressions Movement in United Methodism and beyond, and particularly in relation to the Nones, the Dones, and The Spiritual, but Not Religious.

Bishop Ken Carter: Fresh Expressions, United Methodism and "Saving the Institution"

Tuesday December 08, 2015
Tenth in a series of reflections on Fresh Expressions of church and our relation to the Nones, Dones, and the Spiritual but Not Religious.

Bishop Ken Carter: Discipleship as Spiritual Formation and Mentoring: The Heart of Fresh Expressions of Church

Tuesday December 01, 2015
Ninth in a series of reflections on Fresh Expressions of church and our relation to the Nones, Dones, and the Spiritual but Not Religious.

Bishop Ken Carter: A Deeper Dive into Making Disciples: Sustaining Fresh Expressions of Church

Tuesday November 24, 2015
Eighth in a series of reflections on Fresh Expressions of church, United Methodism and beyond, and our relation to the Nones, Dones, and the Spiritual but Not Religious.

Bishop Ken Carter: The Mission Field that Surrounds Us: Digging into the Data

Thursday November 19, 2015
Seventh in a series of reflections on Fresh Expressions of church, United Methodism and beyond, and our relation to the Nones, Dones and the Spiritual but Not Religious.

Bishop Ken Carter: Where We Actually Live and Gather: Networks and “Third Places”

Wednesday November 11, 2015
Sixth in a series of reflections on Fresh Expressions, United Methodism and beyond, and our relation to the Nones, the Dones and the Spiritual but Not Religious.

Bishop Ken Carter: Where We Actually Live and Gather: An Ordinary Sunday Morning

Saturday October 31, 2015
Fifth in a series of reflections on the Fresh Expressions movement in United Methodism and beyond, and its relation to the “Nones,” the “Dones” and the “Spiritual but not Religious.”

Bishop Ken Carter: From "Mixed Economy" to "Mixed Ecology" of Church

Saturday October 24, 2015
Fourth in a series of reflections on Fresh Expressions in the United Methodist Church and beyond, and especially in relation to the “Nones,” the “Dones” and the “Spiritual but Not Religious.”

Bishop Ken Carter: New And Emerging Forms of Church

Saturday October 17, 2015
Third in a series of reflections on Fresh Expressions of church in United Methodism in the Florida Conference and beyond, and our relationship to the “Nones," “Dones” and the "Spiritual but Not Religious."

Bishop Ken Carter: What Kind of Church Will They Inherit?

Saturday October 10, 2015
If the next generations have not inherited our church (because of mobility and limitations of the parish system), and if they have inherited a faith that is less robust than a generously orthodox, trinitarian and biblical one, where are we?

Bishop Ken Carter: Fresh Expressions: A Movement Begins

Sunday September 20, 2015
After two years of strategy, prayer, correspondence and time set aside in 'vision days', a small group journeyed to England in July 2015. We were there as disciples, students seeking to learn about a movement that God is using to renew the church. This particular movement, Fresh Expressions, has taken root over the past decade in the United Kingdom and beyond.

Bishop Ken Carter: Generative Christians, Generative Congregations

Sunday August 09, 2015
Well, we have a story about a sower and seeds and soil. I feel inadequate to bring any practical expertise to you. But I do love this parable of Jesus, in what it says to us and I am grateful to be able to reflect on it.

Bishop Ken Carter: What Social Media Teaches Me About the Church

Thursday October 03, 2013
If I am honest, I accept that Christians have little power to shape how we are portrayed. And yet when we pattern our lives after Jesus--as recently with Pope Francis--the world pays attention. All of that---not only his actions but the perceptions of them---has been like rain falling on dry ground.

Bishop Ken Carter: "God Hath Bid All Humankind": Generous Orthodoxy and our Mission with Gays and Lesbians in the United Methodist Church

Wednesday August 07, 2013
This reflection is written primarily for those who are seeking to understand their own participation in the Christian life, or in a local church, as gay and lesbian United Methodists, and for those in ministry with them. I am also speaking, secondarily, to a smaller group of United Methodists who have an additional interest in the denominational conversation around this subject.

Bishop Ken Carter: Always Being Reformed According to the Word of God

Thursday November 01, 2012
On the calendar that most of us live by yesterday was Halloween, and the sugar highs that strike at our brains render us almost helpless in thinking about anything else. I know that, but yesterday has another meaning as well and I wanted to reflect on that you. It is Reformation Day and whether we know it or not, this has shaped our lives in profound ways.

a christmas eve prayer for those who do not go to church

Wednesday December 21, 2011
the inner lives of those who make the annual pilgrimage to our christmas eve services, and why they matter

to walk fast or to walk far

Thursday October 20, 2011
a simple meditation on shared vision

conformity and the ten commandments

Thursday September 29, 2011
can we perceive the ten commandments to be more than doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong?

bearing fruit implies connection

Thursday September 01, 2011
the meaning of a friendship with jesus

by your spirit make us one

Wednesday June 15, 2011
This is a Day1 Key Voice article by The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Carter.

a psalm for the end of the world, or not

Friday May 20, 2011
four words of assurance in a unpredictable times

a very simple lenten spiritual practice

Monday April 11, 2011
you really can do this

our hands are too full

Monday March 28, 2011
what does it really mean to give up something for lent?

t.s. eliot and the meaning of lent

Monday March 14, 2011
rediscovering a resource for these 40 days


Friday March 04, 2011
a spiritual reflection on following jesus up and down the mountain

facing a decision

Thursday January 27, 2011
how recovering the ancient path is, paradoxically, the way into the future

remembering martin at the end of a violent week

Sunday January 16, 2011
a holiday to remember martin, a preacher of the gospel of non-violence comes on the heals of a murder on our national public stage

A Christmas Prayer for Those Who Don't Go To Church

Friday December 24, 2010
a common prayer for christmas eve

the chaotic joy of a flash mob: do you hear what i hear?

Thursday December 16, 2010
an incognito choir in a mall food court can be a chorus of angels

the peaceable kingdom

Friday December 10, 2010
a prophet and a painter give us God's vision of peace

the renewal of the church

Friday November 12, 2010
for those who care about the renewal of the church and wonder about its future

from preaching to meddling: the other six days

Wednesday September 22, 2010
what happens when the gospel begins to shape the culture: when sunday begins to influence monday through saturday?

shelter from the storm

Thursday August 26, 2010
remembering katrina, and reflecting on passage through the storms

how to leave a congregation: lessons from paul

Tuesday August 17, 2010
a personal statement about how to end a ministry

in necessary things, unity

Thursday August 05, 2010
how christians move beyond division to the heart of what is most important

jesus had a beard

Wednesday June 30, 2010
retrieving a pastoral conversation about ministers, jesus and the appropriateness of growing a beard!

why the bp gulf ecological debacle was inevitable

Sunday June 20, 2010
the confluence of poverty and marginalization, greed and despair: it is enough to move one to sing the blues

summer reading: some unconventional possibilities

Saturday June 05, 2010
so, what are you planning to read this summer?

why the trinity matters

Sunday May 30, 2010
it turns out that doctrine does, in fact, shape our daily lives

what is good for the world

Monday May 17, 2010
what is good for the world is good for us, and not vice versa.

the trouble with normal

Friday April 30, 2010
a bad week for goldman sachs, the pope, bp...and us


Wednesday April 28, 2010
what do those on the outside really think about christians, and where do these perceptions come from?

not the church of your grandparents, or your grandchildren

Wednesday April 14, 2010
why re-thinking church is a required exercise for all of us who care


Thursday April 01, 2010
the relation of love to betrayal on holy thursday

overwhelmed and undernourished

Monday March 08, 2010
what does communion really mean to you?

the longings of a crazy heart

Friday February 26, 2010
how country music expresses our need for redemption

"fargo" and the winter olympics

Friday February 19, 2010
parallels between a great movie and a current television obsession

standing in the light

Monday February 15, 2010
when we have stood in the light, we have a deep desire to see the light in other people.

flawed thinking about haiti

Tuesday January 26, 2010
the assumptions we make about haiti lead to particular outcomes: some good, some not so good

haiti and the strengths of the mainline chuches

Saturday January 16, 2010
in an already challenged country, recent developments call for our engagement, collaboration and prayers.

personal reflection on haiti

Thursday January 14, 2010
random thoughts about the last 48 hours in haiti

is jesus real?

Saturday December 19, 2009
the question becomes: is any of this real?

peace is possible

Monday December 07, 2009
what does it mean to light the advent candle of peace, year after year? is peace possible?

the critique of faith

Saturday November 21, 2009
why those most critical of the faith are in good company!

a detour through hot springs

Sunday November 08, 2009
making a virtue out of necessity by stopping by a small mountain town

climate change: should christians care?

Saturday October 24, 2009
October 24 is the International Day of Climate Action; should Christians care?

without wilderness

Monday October 05, 2009
watching the ken burns series on our national parks reminded me of a spiritual truth

who is my neighbor? health care in america

Tuesday September 08, 2009
In a culture that is saturated with religious communication and obsessed with the topic of health care, why are we not talking about the parable of the good samaritan?

a graveside service

Sunday August 30, 2009
a holy moment at the graveside service for ted kennedy

Can Mainline Christians Be Joyful?

Friday August 21, 2009
what a mainline pastor learned, again, from african brothers and sisters

healing the health care debate

Friday July 31, 2009
It's not that the government needs to get out of health care; it's that Christians need to get into it.

help...stay away!

Tuesday July 21, 2009
we often need help, and yet we resist the very help that we need.

when icons are destroyed

Saturday June 27, 2009
A reflection on a difficult week in our popular and political culture.

an arranged life

Friday June 19, 2009
An unnoticed film reveals important truths about relationships and tradition.

The Non-Violent Conscience

Friday June 05, 2009
The murder of a physician in a Lutheran sanctuary calls for renewed reflection on non-violence and the importance of conscience.

who needs the church/the wisdom of crowds

Tuesday May 19, 2009
I reflect on a basic question: why do we need the church?

Abortion, Torture and Integrity

Friday May 15, 2009
I am reflecting on the varied issues that divide the church and yet call for consistency and, yes, integrity.

Words, The Word and Getting on with Your Life

Thursday May 07, 2009
Ken Carter reflects on the importance of words, words that define who we are and words that send us forth into the world, in the context of a rainy graduation ceremony.

Radio by Bishop Kenneth Carter

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Dr. Ken Carter: Churches and the Economic Crisis

Wednesday September 23, 2009
The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Carter, United Methodist pastor and author, shares practical insights for church leaders on dealing with money and stewardship in the midst of an economic crisis.

Day 1 Podcast Extra-Carter

Wednesday December 26, 2007
In this Day 1 Podcast Extra The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Carter, pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC., shares his personal insights and experiences.

The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Carter - Day1 Podcast Extra

Tuesday September 05, 2006
In this podcast extra, the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Carter, pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, shares his personal insights and experiences of preaching.