The Rev. Stephen McKinney-Whitaker

Denomination: Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA)
Organization: United Presbyterian Church, Peoria, IL

The Rev. Stephen McKinney-Whitaker is pastor/head of staff of United Presbyterian Church in Peoria, IL, where he has served since 2009. Previously he served as the solo pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Delavan, Il.

Stephen has written sermons and writes sermon reviews for Lectionary Homiletics, and has published articles with The Wittenburg Door, Preaching, and Relevant Magazine.

Stephen earned a bachelors degree in religious studies from the University of South Carolina, his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a D.Min. from McCormick Theological Seminary.

Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Stephen McKinney-Whitaker

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We of Little Faith

Tuesday June 16, 2015
Stephen McKinney-Whitaker says we tend to believe in Jesus enough to worship him, we trust him with our lives, we trust in his words and his power to bring life and cast out sin and death, but we--like the disciples in Mark 4--don’t trust in his power in us.

Big Enough

Tuesday June 09, 2015
Stephen McKinney-Whitaker says the mustard plant remains lowly--while it grows big enough for birds of every kind to find a home, it also reflects the humility of the kingdom of God, which stoops to wash feet, kneels by wounded strangers on the roadside, and so forth. It’s a helpful image for us as we seek to serve in the world as people of the kingdom.

How Do We Get to Holy?

Tuesday September 27, 2011
In light of Paul's teaching in Philippians, the Rev. Stephen McKinney-Whitaker explores the question, how do we get to holy? And discovers we may already be there.

Articles by The Rev. Stephen McKinney-Whitaker

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Stephen McKinney-Whitaker: A Review of Do Something Else by Nate Phillips

Thursday March 17, 2016
Do Something Else is not a blueprint for what churches should do. It is not a step-by-step guide for creating new ministries, reaching into the community, or crafting a hip worship service. It is a book grounded in a terrific theology of the church that tells the stories of church leaders who have found the courage and inspiration to do something else.

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Friday April 03, 2015
The centurion may not have realized the truth, but we can say with faithful certainty, “Truly, this man IS God’s Son.”

Failures Are Not Final

Thursday April 02, 2015
Holy Thursday reminds me that failures are not final. Failures are part of life, part of my life and part of yours. Failures are opportunities for us to experience grace and resurrection.

An Unreasonable Act

Wednesday April 01, 2015
It’s Wednesday of Holy Week. We know who Jesus is, and we know what is coming. What do we have to break open for Jesus today, if not our hearts?

Because There Are Widows

Tuesday March 31, 2015
It's Tuesday of Holy Week. How can we live, what can we do, because there are widows? Who is giving their last? Who needs to know they are not last in the Kingdom of God, but first?

Think of the Ravens

Tuesday March 31, 2015
In light of "Religious Freedom" laws like the one recently passed in Indiana, we need to think of the ravens.

Is It Time to Turn Over Tables?

Monday March 30, 2015
It's the Monday of Holy Week, so is it time to follow Jesus' example and start turning over some tables?

Dying In Someone Else's Armor

Wednesday August 06, 2014
When staring down the giants, will you die in someone else's armor, or face the giants with your own assets: your unique gifts, skills, and experience.

An Open Letter to My Church on Same-Sex Marriage and Every Other Kind There Is

Monday August 04, 2014
An open letter to my church in response to our denomination passing legislation that permits pastors officiating at same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Choose the Form

Friday July 12, 2013
The Ghostbusters had the choose the form Gozer of the Destructor. God chose the the form of a servant. As Christians, we have to choose the form of the church.

Star Trek: Into Darkness and Out of Clothes

Wednesday June 05, 2013
Did the writers of Star Trek Into Darkness really trust their story? Does the church trust its story?

A Man Who Never Would

Thursday April 18, 2013
What should be the foundation of our world and our lives? A dialogue between Doctor Who and Genesis might just give us the answer.

To Fight Monsters

Tuesday April 16, 2013
Fairy Tales teach us that there are monsters and bad things that may want to hurt us. The great ones tell the story of a hero who fights monsters without becoming one.

Fool's God

Thursday October 18, 2012
In order for us not to worship a fool's God we need to accept that the foolishness of the cross is the wisdom and power of God. Wisdom doesn't equal certainty, wisdom is trusting in the crucified God. If you'd like to watch the video of this sermon as your read you can go to

Labor Day and the Kingdom

Friday September 02, 2011
The dangerous message in some parables you probably don't want to preach about around Labor Day.

Taking Stock

Monday August 15, 2011
Fear and hope drive the stock market up and down, but they don't just affect our investing decisions. Fear and hope stand as opposites throughout the scripture, like a bull and bear glaring at each other. When we take stock of our lives, what role have fear and hope played?

Isn't It Ironic

Wednesday April 20, 2011
A look at the Irony of Mark's Passion story, especially the centurion's last statement about Christ on the Cross.

Death as Gift

Thursday April 14, 2011
Was death always part of God's plan? Is it possible to see death as a gift rather than an enemy?

Not the Speech I'd Hoped For

Wednesday March 30, 2011
When Peter rebukes Jesus and Jesus says, "Get Behind Me Satan," I always hope for a triumphant and inspirational speech to follow that would bring everyone back together. Jesus gave a speech, but it isn't the comforting speech I'd hoped for.

Lent Reflection: The Great Do Over

Thursday March 17, 2011
Like Phil from City Slickers,we are offered a great do over. Lent is the time to reflect on what that means for our lives.

Lent Reflection: The Sharp Knife of a Short Life

Thursday March 10, 2011
A reflection on the popular song "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry for Ash Wednesday and Lent, and a word of hope from the Apostle Paul.

At the End of the Day

Friday December 11, 2009
We typically can fall into the trap of thinking that every day is the same and there is nothing new under the sun, but Advent breaks us of this way of thinking by promising a new day is coming at the end of the day. Mary, perhaps in Broadway style, sings of this certain hope.

Safe in the Sanctuary

Friday June 05, 2009
What has your church done to make sure the sanctuary truly is a safe place on Sunday morning? How do we balance the desire to protect our flocks while living out of faith rather than fear?


Sunday May 24, 2009
Do you ever yell at the television or a book because you cannot believe what a character is doing or about to do? Sometimes characters in stories can be so foolish, but nothing compares to the foolishness on display in the pages of scripture.

He Will Make It Enough

Saturday May 16, 2009
Bring what you have to Jesus and he will make it enough.