Festival Schedule


June 27, 2018

10:00 - 11:00 am


11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Greeting and Opening Session with the South Central Jurisdiction Bishops

12:00 - 1:00 pm

Lunch with Bishops

2:30 - 3:00 pm


4:30 - 4:45 pm

Water Break

6:15 - 7:15 pm


9:00 pm

Fellowship with the Bishops


June 28, 2018

9:00 - 10:30 am

10:30 - 11:00 am


12:30 - 1:15 pm


1:15 - 2:20 pm

2:20 - 2:35 pm

Water Break

2:35 - 3:40 pm

Preaching Evaluations

3:40 - 3:55 pm

Water Break

3:55 - 5:00 pm

Preaching Evaluations

Featured Sessions

Session 1

The Haunted Pulpit: Getting Rid of Preaching’s Unholy Ghosts

Preaching is one of God’s greatest gifts to the church, but walking into a pulpit often means facing some unholy ghosts. Fears of meeting other’s expectations, confusion about preaching’s goal, and the weight of our own histories can mute our voices and make us doubt our calls. The Holy Spirit is about the business of replacing these fears and shadows with a real relationship with a risen Savior.

What does preaching that testifies to that kind of embodied encounter look like? What are the marks of preaching that flows from a loving, living engagement with the scriptures, the gathered community and with God?

Jerusha Neal

Jerusha is Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Duke Divinity School and an ordained pastor in the American Baptist Church (USA). She recently served as a United Methodist Global Ministries mission partner in the Fiji Islands.

Session 2

Breaking the Color Barrier: Preaching Prophetically on Racial Reconciliation and Social Justice

Prophetic preaching in the 21st century must include an emphasis on racial reconciliation and social justice. Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour in America and such homogeneity will ultimately lead to the decline and death of many local churches as demographics change nationwide.

“Breaking the Color Barrier” will inspire leaders to incorporate racial reconciliation and social justice into their preaching rhetoric through a critical engagement with both Scripture and culture.

Kevin Murriel

Kevin is the senior pastor of Cascade United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

Session 3

Preaching as an Art Form

Writing a sermon is an art form. Each sermon has an arc and a storyline to it. As preachers, we are asking listeners to not just hear, but to participate in what we are saying. As the way we learn changes with the integration of technology into all parts of our lives, people can hear our sermons on a podcast or YouTube channel, so we cannot simply offer great facts, it is essential to make the gospel come alive in our own unique way. It may be true that someone else has preached a sermon on a particular scripture, but no one can tell it like you do.

There is a gospel that each of us carries around inside and the world desperately needs YOU to tell it. Together we will look at story structure as it is incorporated into sermon writing and how we present our messages.

Sarah Heath

Sarah is the lead pastor at First United Methodist Church in Costa Mesa, California.

Session 4

Unleashing the Word: Preaching with Relevance, Purpose and Passion

Senior Pastor Adam Hamilton will unpack the ideas presented in his book Unleashing the Word – Preaching with Relevance, Purpose and Passion. Sermon ideas will be presented to provide sermons for four years, including sermons for weddings and funerals, as well as ideas for Advent and Christmas. This session will cover:

  • How to develop a preaching plan
  • The three critical ingredients of a sermon
  • Designing a sermon series for “fishing expeditions”
  • Writing the sermon
  • The role of the worship planning team
  • Utilizing video in worship

Adam Hamilton

Adam is senior pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.

Session 5

Five Steps to Delivering an Inspiring Sermon

In this session, Charley Reeb will share the secret to great preaching and teach a simple 5-step process for delivering engaging and inspiring sermons time after time. He will share advice which would have been helpful in his younger days as a preacher:

  • Remember, most of your listeners did not go to seminary
  • Passion and conviction is the secret sauce
  • Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable
  • Less is more

Charley Reeb

Charley is senior pastor of Pasadena Community Church (UMC) in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Session 6

The Preaching Life

One of the most powerful components of Jesus’ ministry was that He was literally the Word of God enfleshed. Jesus’ words (preaching and teaching) were powerful largely because they were rooted in a life of love-filled action. There is real power in preaching and leading whenever it is accompanied by consistent action.

How do your sermons relate to your daily life? Are they connected, consistent? When it comes to living the life that God longs for us to lead, what I have found to be most useful to powerful preaching is actually living into the words before I ever think to speak them. In this way, my words can become enfleshed, like Christ’s, in a way that spurs others to go and do likewise or, at a minimum, to come and see.

Scott Chrostek

Scott is the campus pastor at Resurrection Downtown, a campus of Church of the Resurrection located in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri.