The Rev. Dr. Brett Younger
Denomination: Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF)
Organization: McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University, Atlanta, GA
Brett Younger became senior minister of Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, NY in June 2016. For 8 years he was the Associate Professor of Preaching at the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University in Atlanta. He teaches introductory and advanced courses in preaching as well as classes in writing and spiritual formation.
Before coming to McAfee, Dr. Younger served as a pastor for twenty-two years in Texas, Kansas, and Indiana, most recently at the Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth. He is the author of the not nearly popular enough Who Moved My Pulpit? He and his wife Carol co-authored Mark: Finding Ourselves in the Story and Living with Stress: Nurturing Joy in a Tension-filled World. Brett writes a monthly column, "The Lighter Side," for Baptists Today and half of the Formations Commentary. He has written numerous articles and sermons that have appeared in a variety of journals and periodicals that not many people read. He has a blog, peculiarpreacher.com, that needs better graphics.
He received his B.A. in religion from Baylor University, and his M.Div. and Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Brett and Carol (also a graduate of Baylor and Southern) have two sons.
Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Dr. Brett Younger
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Brett Younger: Life Is Short
Tuesday August 02, 2016
Dr. Brett Younger helps us realize that life is too short not to do the important things God gives us to do. And yet we spend so much time living as if we have nine lives to spend. It's time to get serious about following Jesus' advice to live our lives as disciples and make our lives really count.
Loving God with All Your Mind
Tuesday October 18, 2011
We are called to love God with heart, soul, and mind, but too often we fail to use our minds to know and serve God and others as fully as we could.
Longing to See God
Tuesday October 11, 2011
In his conversation with God, Moses is honest about his doubts and asks to see God's glory. How can we become more aware of God's presence in our own midst?
Articles by The Rev. Dr. Brett Younger
Brett Younger: People to Whom I Do Not Need to Listen
Wednesday May 31, 2017
The New York Times has too many pages. I download more podcasts than I can play. I cannot read half of what my friends post on Facebook””particularly one recipe-happy friend. I cannot hear, read, or notice a significant portion of what is calling for my attention.
Brett Younger: Underground Church Business Meetings–and God Shows Up
Wednesday April 26, 2017
Try to imagine the church business meetings that made this happen. During the early 1800s, the network of churches and individuals helping those escaping slavery was known as the Underground Railroad. My congregation, Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, was 'the Grand Central Depot of the Underground Railroad.'
Brett Younger: Dear President Trump, You could make things a lot easier for preachers
Tuesday February 28, 2017
Dear President Trump: I am sure you are getting letters from groups that feel like they are being mistreated. Muslims, Hispanics, African Americans, women, Jews, the poor, and the LGBTQ community have legitimate concerns, but have you thought about how you are making life difficult for preachers? Ministers are not usually considered an oppressed group, but preaching was easier before you became president.
Brett Younger: The Many Things I Do Not Know about Racism
Thursday January 26, 2017
Two years ago, Carol and I started attending a nearby African Methodist Episcopal Church. One other white person came from time to time. I liked it more when she was not there, because I enjoyed saying, 'We were the only white people at church.'
Brett Younger: Putting an End to Prayer Vigils
Friday December 09, 2016
I do not want to go to another vigil. Sometime soon someone will easily obtain a gun no hunter would ever use. He will open fire in a room full of innocent people. Clergy will organize a vigil where we read the names of the victims. We will grieve for the families of those who died. We will read scripture. We will pray for an end to gun violence.
Brett Younger: Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, and Adam Sander: Good Church Museums
Friday October 07, 2016
Years ago when attendance was pretty low, Plymouth Church brought in a consultant who said, 'You can either be a museum or a church.' The consultant had been going to the wrong museums. A good church is like a good children’s museum””a place to learn, explore, and discover.
Brett Younger: Too Busy to Sing
Friday September 23, 2016
I came to work on Tuesday with a detailed to-do list. If everything went perfectly, I would end the day writing something for the church blog. If I got through six of the ten items, it would be a productive day. If I got through five, I would have kept up. If I only got through four, I would be seriously behind.
Brett Younger: Holy Smoke: Barbecue with a Side of Faith
Sunday September 04, 2016
I think of my vegetarian friends like I think of my Jewish friends. I love and respect them, but we are of different faiths. I believe in barbecue. To the casual observer those who gather for a church barbecue have found an excuse to overeat, but to serious students of the Bible and church history, we are doing God’s work.
Brett Younger: The Problem with the Third Time across the Brooklyn Bridge
Friday August 05, 2016
I like running to Manhattan and I love running back to Brooklyn””though running may not be the right word. I have trotted across the Brooklyn Bridge three times. I go slow enough not to miss much.
Brett Younger: A Southerner Living in a Foreign Land ”” Brooklyn
Tuesday July 05, 2016
I have been welcomed into a church that has been given to Christ’s way for a long time. When the majority of churches in the south were defending slavery, Plymouth Church was leading the abolitionist movement. When my church in Mississippi was fighting against integration, Plymouth invited Martin Luther King, Jr.””a Southerner, by the way””to try out his I Have a Dream sermon before taking it to Washington.
Brett Younger: “If the church is so great, then why are you here?”
Wednesday June 08, 2016
During my first class as a professor at the McAfee School of Theology, I began waxing poetic on my years as a pastor and the glory of preaching. A student asked, 'If the church is so great, then why are you here?'
Brett Younger: Isn’t it a shame that Jesus never went on a marriage retreat?
Sunday April 24, 2016
Welcome to our Christian Marriage Enrichment Retreat! Good luck to all you happy couples! Calling it a 'retreat' makes it sound like we are losing the war, but this weekend will be an attack on all the ways you are not who you ought to be as a couple!
Brett Younger: Before I Die...
Saturday March 12, 2016
Bucket lists took an artistic turn in 2011 when Candy Chang painted the side of an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood. She had lost someone she loved and was dealing with depression when she used chalkboard paint and stenciled a grid with the sentence, 'Before I die I want to \_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_.' Anybody walking by could pick up a piece of chalk and share a dream.
Brett Younger: Religious Terrorism
Thursday February 04, 2016
I belong to a religious group that has been responsible for horrible acts of terrorism. The majority of us do not believe these terrorists are being true to our faith, but others insist on painting us all with the same brush. Religions that include terrorists are having a hard time, but I hope those with different religious heritages will treat us fairly.
Brett Younger: Seminaries Reluctantly Selling Their Souls
Sunday January 24, 2016
Seminaries are dealing with difficult questions about how to prepare ministers. The number of Master of Divinity students in the United States decreased 6% last year.
Brett Younger: How Can We Keep From Singing?
Saturday December 26, 2015
The persistent demand throughout the Bible that people of faith sing loud may seem cruel to those whose musical gifts do not fill the buckets in which we cannot carry a tune. Come Christians, Join to Sing would be less threatening if it was Come Christians, Join to Talk. Come Christians, Join to Eat would be nice.
Brett Younger: Jesus Loves Hippie Churches
Sunday November 01, 2015
Jesus loves congregations filled with peaceful souls who are willing to walk out of step from the crowd. We need more hippie churches, because most of us are too at ease in the world. We are not nearly uncomfortable enough with the way things are.
Brett Younger: The News from Lake Wobegon Baptist Church
Friday September 25, 2015
Each Saturday night for forty years, Garrison Keillor has shared the news from Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, the fictional town 'that time forgot and the decades cannot improve.' Keillor recently announced that next season will be his last as the host of 'A Prairie Home Companion,' a radio show with four million listeners.
Brett Younger: A Few Words Against Faith
Tuesday September 01, 2015
I have about had it with faith. When Paul says, 'And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three' (1 Cor. 13:13), I hope the order is alphabetical.
Brett Younger: The Bible in Just Six Words
Wednesday August 12, 2015
What if we tried to tell the stories in the Bible with only six words?
Brett Younger: When the Klan Came to Our Revival
Wednesday August 05, 2015
Melanie was””depending on who you talked to””sharing the love of Christ or trying to cause trouble. 45 years later I like to think it was both. Nixon was president, gas was 36 cents a gallon, and everything in my hometown was separate and unequal.
Brett Younger: How Not to Give a Children's Sermon
Sunday July 19, 2015
Children’s sermons must be hard, because most of us have heard more bad ones than good. Eager preachers hope the children will say funny things so the grownups will think the preacher is clever. Desperate preachers use party hats, horns, leis, popsicles, and cats.
Brett Younger: Confessions of a Seminary Professor
Friday July 03, 2015
Followers of Christ are to become uninterested in position, prestige, or publicity””even if they are seminary professors.
Brett Younger: How To Give Your Testimony
Wednesday May 27, 2015
The well-dressed man standing at the pulpit is sharing his testimony. The pastor, Brother Will B. Done, sits behind him....
Brett Younger: The Itawamba County Times: The Only Newspaper in the World that Cares about Itawamba County
Saturday March 21, 2015
If I had to choose between The New York Times and The Itawamba County Times, I would pick my parents’ weekly newspaper.
Brett Younger: Leaving Fred Craddock’s funeral, yearning just to be Christian
Friday March 13, 2015
I was early to Fred Craddock’s funeral. Cherry Log Christian Church is less than two hours from Atlanta, but a trip to Appalachia seems farther so I gave myself way too much time.
Brett Younger: Your World Is Too Small
Tuesday February 10, 2015
Less than 10% of the world’s population speaks English as their primary language. Less than 5% of the world lives in the United States. Less than 2% of the world is Baptist. Less than 1/100 of 1% of the world is a member of a CBF church. I have spent most of my life in a good but tiny corner of the world.
Brett Younger: Movies in English with Subtitles in Spanish: PelÃculas en InglÃ©s con SubtÃtulos en EspaÃ±ol
Friday January 23, 2015
We have been living in a country where 99% of the population speaks Spanish. I am solidly in the 1%.
Brett Younger: Wild Horses
Saturday January 03, 2015
I picture us sitting on the veranda sipping whatever passes for lemonade in Chile. We are planning a peaceful day at the Walbaums’ farm an hour west of Santiago. Then Paul asks a question that changes the picture, 'Would you like to go horseback riding?'
Brett Younger: My Canterbury Tale
Sunday November 09, 2014
Our congregation, Santiago Community Church, polished the silver and pulled out our wedding outfits for Rev. Justin Welby, the 105th in a line that goes back more than 1400 years to Augustine of Canterbury. The diocesan bishop of Southern Argentina exclaimed, 'What a show!'
Brett Younger: Blood, Sweat, and Shears
Sunday October 12, 2014
We were the only two people in the barber shop””which makes sense now””so I decided to practice my Spanish.
Brett Younger: Fumbling the Bread of Life
Friday September 19, 2014
One of the requirements for coming to the table is admitting that we are not as smart as we wish. We are part of the church because we are imperfect. Christ’s table is for those who need a place to go when they do something wrong.
Brett Younger: Felices son los estÃºpidos
Saturday August 23, 2014
Carol and I are serving for five months as the interim ministers at Santiago Community Church, a delightful, international, interdenominational, English-speaking congregation in a decidely non-English speaking country. Before we came to Chile, I prepared.
Brett Younger: Your Complete Guide to the Trinity
Saturday August 16, 2014
The Trinity is confusing. We usually say Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but sometimes you hear Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer; or Almighty God, Incarnate Word, and Holy Comforter. I heard this one recently””Womb of Life, Word in Flesh, Brooding Spirit. This may become your new favorite: Primordial Nature, Consequent Nature, and Superjective Nature.
Brett Younger: Worship?
Saturday July 19, 2014
Consumer driven worship leads people to the misunderstanding that worship is about our likes and dislikes and not about our commitment to God. Worship is not supposed to be easy. If worship was easy, everyone would worship.
Brett Younger: Learning How to Eat the Lord's Supper
Friday July 04, 2014
When I was five years old, we visited my grandmother's church when they were having the Lord's Supper. The worship service had nothing to do with Communion, but after the long invitation that closed the service, the preacher said, 'It’s a fifth Sunday so we're going to have the Lord's Supper”” just like in the Bible.'
Brett Younger: Mixed Dating and Ill-Fated Love
Friday June 13, 2014
Any Baptist arguing for unity has the credibility of Donald Sterling speaking on equality. For most of our four hundred years, Baptist contributions to the ecumenical movement would fit in a thimble and still rattle around like a bb in a boxcar.
Brett Younger: Letter to the Guest Preacher
Friday May 23, 2014
Dear Martha, I am glad you are coming to preach for our congregation and I am excited about getting a break. I want to tell you a few things that might be helpful....
Brett Younger: My Speech to Seminary Graduates
Friday May 02, 2014
Once again, no seminary has chosen me to give the speech at their graduation service. My mother and I don’t get it.
Brett Younger: True Beliebers
Saturday March 15, 2014
Do we believe that God turns around egg-throwing nineteen-year-olds? Can we imagine that God helps rich kids who drive under the influence? Should Biebtacular be on our prayer lists? Has anyone offered the Biebernator the use of their baptistery?
Brett Younger: Losing It
Saturday March 08, 2014
Scientists used to claim baldness was due to one’s mother’s genetic makeup, but now they are unsure. Baldness could be the next step in our evolution from a furry ape.
Brett Younger: Longing for Home
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Our search for home leads us to blessed people, holy places, and sacred memories.
Brett Younger: Church Without People!
Sunday February 02, 2014
Anyone who knows someone at church with whom they would rather not share a hymnal, pass the peace, or high five while lifting holy hands knows the feeling. We love the church, but some of the people make us crazy.
Brett Younger: How Seminaries Fail
Friday January 03, 2014
New students show up on the first day of class ready to take up a cross and die for their faith. Then faculty members begin teaching them to exegete 2 Timothy, conjugate Greek verbs, and compare and contrast Calvinism and Arminianism.
Brett Younger: Going to Church with Jimmy and Rosalynn
Tuesday November 19, 2013
At first glance a supply preacher might turn it down. The church is 183 miles away. The congregation is smaller than most church choirs. The service is on Sunday evening. But this Sunday night service was at Jimmy Carter’s church. How could I say no when the directions include: 'The church is just past the only red light and the giant peanut'?
Brett Younger: White Preaching Professor, Black Preaching Students
Wednesday October 16, 2013
George White, III, Dihanne Moore, and Joshua Scott are three of the best and brightest at the McAfee School of Theology. We sat down recently to talk about seminary, race, and what would happen if I preached in their churches.
Brett Younger: Lucky Strikes
Friday September 27, 2013
Bowling is a great sport for talking to yourself: 'Keep your mind out of the gutter.' 'I am Don Carter' (the only bowler I can name). 'You don’t have another frame to spare.' 'Let the pins fall where they may.' 'Call me butter cause I’m on a roll.”
Brett Younger: Snake Charmers
Monday September 02, 2013
If you have been searching for a new favorite show since Matthew Crawley, heir of Lord Grantham, died on Downton Abbey, you should mark September 10 on your calendar. That is when Snake Salvation debuts on the National Geographic Channel.
Brett Younger: And Justice for All
Sunday August 25, 2013
I was recently honored to receive notice that I had been named Juror Number #145308. Like you would be, I was excited to get my invitation to report to the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.
Brett Younger: Attention, Salute, Pledge
Monday July 08, 2013
Some people’s fondest VBS memories are the intricate Play-doh, sugar cube, and popsicle stick replicas of Nazareth, the flannel graph robbers beating up the traveler on the road to Jericho (which led, on occasion, to inappropriate applause), or the bathrobes and beach towel dramas of Zacchaeus coming down from the balcony (which were far superior to the puppet shows which made Howdy Doody seem like Hamlet in comparison). The best memory for me is the liturgy.
Brett Younger: Insightful Questions Preachers Neglect to Ask
Thursday June 06, 2013
Every once in a while a first semester seminary student not yet adroit in the dance of theological education will, with an embarrassing lack of sophistication, ask, “Dr. Preaching Professor, can you give us a list of simple steps to a sermon?”
Dr. Brett Younger: The World Is Too Big for Small Ministers
Thursday April 04, 2013
Ministers are tempted to spend our lives stealing the scenery, rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, fiddling while Rome burns, and handing out aspirins while the world explodes.
Dr. Brett Younger: Scattered, Smothered, and Covered 24/7
Sunday March 17, 2013
If you got to take Jesus to lunch, where would you go? WWJD? Where would Jesus dine? If you went to a fancy restaurant, Jesus might think you were showing off. A hamburger place could indicate a lack of appreciation. You should take Jesus to Waffle House. Waffle House does good things for your soul.
Brett Younger: The All-American Worship Quiz
Saturday March 02, 2013
How formal, informal, traditional, contemporary, spirited, scripted, classical, or rock and roll is your church? These scientific questions will answer all your questions.
Dr. Brett Younger: Listening for the Blessing
Saturday February 23, 2013
Dr. Brett Younger reviews some of the familiar--and not so familiar--blessings we hear in church.
Brett Younger: The Perils of Peer Groups
Monday November 05, 2012
When we moved to Atlanta four years ago, I joined one of the 140 Cooperative Baptist Fellowship ministerial peer groups because I thought I needed to be around smart people. My peer group is excellent, but for a while I feared that we had lost our way.
Dr. Brett Younger: Why I Had an Egg McMuffin This Morning
Tuesday August 07, 2012
I boycotted Chick-fil-A for years. This is not an excuse, but I grew up in Southern Baptist churches in the Deep South. I am embarrassed as I look back on my narrow-mindedness, but this is what I truly believed: Cows who write “Eat Mor Chikin” on poster board are not natural.
Brett Younger: My Month of Living Dangerously
Sunday June 17, 2012
Did it make sense for a person who has never voluntarily done a pushup to sign up for “Operation Boot Camp”? Should someone for whom tying his shoes feels like an aerobic exercise be paying money to take orders from the cast of American Gladiators?
Dr. Brett Younger: GCB: Good Christian Baptists?
Friday March 30, 2012
GCB does not stand for “Good Christian Baptists.” ABC’s new, unfunny, and uninteresting sitcom was named “Good Christian Bitches” just long enough to get attention for offending the easily offended.
Dr. Brett Younger: A warm spot for benchwarmers
Thursday December 08, 2011
God understands that most of us spend a significant amount of time on the bench. Some of the best Christians in the sanctuary never sit on the platform.
Dr. Brett Younger: Thanksgiving
Thursday November 24, 2011
For all the trouble undertaken, Thanksgiving doesn’t really happen for everyone. Many will be glad that they have what they have, but gladness is not gratefulness. The people having turkey and dressing will outnumber those having a real experience of gratitude.
Dr. Brett Younger: Preachers' Soles
Saturday November 12, 2011
She asked as though it is a common concern, “Do I have to wear shoes when I preach?” Seminary students pose odd questions before preaching in class... This was the first question on footwear.
Dr. Brett Younger: Up in the Air
Saturday October 08, 2011
I now know all about flying between Atlanta and Wilmington, North Carolina, thanks to the gracious people at First Baptist Church, where I am serving as the interim preacher. This column is just a small percentage of what I know.
Dr. Brett Younger: A Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Church Behavior
Friday August 05, 2011
Good rules come in handy. They help things go smoothly. What would Judith Martin include if she decided to help church people with Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Church Behavior?