Duke Chapel dean Sam Wells says a first step toward inspiring health in a congregation is to affirm the people who are there and stop lamenting the people who aren’t.
Dean Wells, a world-class preacher, prolific writer, gifted theologian, and devoted pastor who’s worked in a variety of ministerial settings, is incredibly hopeful about the Church and particularly inspiring about where it’s going.
In this interview Dean Wells also talks about his forte – preaching – from start to finish. This is one interview you’ll want to watch more than once.
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Sam Wells likes to say that for the Christian, the future is always bigger than the past. It is this hopefulness that typifies his style, and has endeared him to so many. Here are my notes from the interview:
In an age of jittery transition, Dean Wells says don’t try to be a poor version of someone else. God has called each faith community to a unique place in The Body – what’s yours?
Every age has its advantages – Dean Wells reminds us that the Babylon Captivity brought us much of the Old Testament. How might Jesus be using our present challenges to His glory?
Head, Gut, Heart and Hand
This is the informal checklist Dean Wells uses to assess his sermons – is he touching these places? Are you?
About Sam Wells
Sam Wells has been the Dean of Duke University Chapel and Research Professor of Christian Ethics at Duke Divinity School since 2005. He is a widely-respected preacher, theologian, spokesperson, and convener of conversations on faith. He guides the ministry and music life of the Chapel, preaching and leading worship, overseeing the diversity of campus ministries, interacting with students, faculty, administrators and staff, teaching in the divinity school and the school of public policy, and promoting the Chapel’s initiatives, especially interfaith interaction and incarnational ministry in Durham, North Carolina. Sam has published 17 books including Transforming Fate into Destiny, Improvisation, God’s Companions, and The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics. Dean Wells holds degrees from Merton College-Oxford, New College-Edinburgh, and Durham University. Before seminary, he was a community organizer in Liverpool. In the summer of 2012 Sam will leave Duke for a position at St. Martin’s in the Fields, London.
Sam is married to Jo Bailey Wells, who is a former Dean of Clare College, Cambridge and is now Director of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies at Duke Divinity School. They used to have hobbies, but now they have children. Their golden retriever fills most idle moments.
Sponsors I Mentioned
Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest Episcopal Seminary in the U.S., forming men and women for leadership in the church. In addition to the MDiv, Anglican Studies and DMin degrees are their Masters of Arts degrees with a fous on Theological Studies, Christian Formation, Religion & Culture, and Biblical Interpretation. Check them out at vts.edu.