A Review of Leading Beyond the Walls


Lovett Weems reviews Adam Hamilton’s Leading Beyond the Walls in which the author presents ideas about the Church of the Resurrection, a United Methodist mega-church.

Adam Hamilton was my pastor for thirteen years. He is a remarkable pastor and preacher and one of the most gifted leaders in the United Methodist Church today. He has given us in this book the outline of what led this church to become such a beacon of light to mainline Christianity in the U.S.

Two years after completing seminary, Adam was appointed to start a new congregation. Today, the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection (COR) is one of the fastest growing mainline congregations in the United States. This church and Adam himself are as complex as the contemporary context. You seldom find just what you expect.

While many “mega-churches” downplay their denominational identity, this church makes denominational identity obvious and important. Those who come from churches where they have experienced traditional worship find COR to be innovative. Those who visit from churches with “seeker services” find COR fairly traditional. People who see themselves as conservative find Adam a bit liberal. Those who see themselves as LeadingBeyondCoverliberal see a clear evangelical direction.

Leading Beyond the Walls is the captivating story of a remarkable church led by an unusually effective pastor. Leadership makes a difference when linked with commitment to God and a fitting mission. Any pastor and church seeking to reach the nonreligious and nominally religious would do well to explore the roadmap described here by one who has done that with faithfulness and integrity.

Adam Hamilton’s book, Leading Beyond the Walls: Developing Congregations With a Heart for the Unchurched (Abingdon, 2002) is available at Cokesbury and Amazon.

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About Author

Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

Lovett H. Weems Jr. is senior consultant at the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, distinguished professor of church leadership emeritus at Wesley Theological Seminary, and author of several books on leadership.

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