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Season 6: Core Values of the Future Church | Episode 6

The Gifts of Wilderness


We conclude our season on Jacob’s Bones (the core truths, values and practices to carry forward in the new church) in the wilderness where identity and purpose can become clear. Bishop Palmer reflects on the gifts of this wilderness time in the church and through his no-nonsense, compelling way, challenges the church to move beyond navel-gazing to face out to the world. This inspired and hope-filled conversation invites us to consider what it really means to be the church today. Bishop Palmer embodies the passion and possibility of the church’s bold witness for the present and future church. What will be your bold witness for the church

In this conversation, you’ll hear:

  • Lisa and Gil answer the question: “What do you hope is true about the church 20-30 years from now?” (1:36)

  • Bishop Palmer reflects on the gifts of wilderness (10:08)

  • What Bishop Palmer means when he says the church “campaigned to be chaplains of the middle class” (16:50)

  • Helping the church face out to the world (23:45)

  • “We overvalued being respected and being nice” (32:25)

  • Bishop Palmer talks racism, mass incarceration, poverty (41:52)

  • What Bishop Palmer hopes is true about the church in 20-30 years (52:30)

Meet Our Guest

Rahel Billups

Bishop Palmer

Bishop Palmer is the Resident Bishop of the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church. Born and reared in Philadelphia, Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer is a “child of the church,” the son of a retired United Methodist pastor and a schoolteacher in the Philadelphia Public School system. A graduate of Duke University Divinity School, Palmer was ordained a deacon in 1977. In 1981, he was elected to full membership and ordained an elder. Palmer also served as superintendent. He was elected to the episcopacy in 2000. He has served as president of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and president of the Council of Bishops and he is currently a member of the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters and chair of the Comprehensive Africa Plan. He also is a board member of several organizations, including The United Methodist Publishing House, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, United Theological Seminary and OhioHealth. Married for 45 years to his wife Cynthia, they are the parents of two adult children, Monica and Aaron.

Read Gil Rendle’s paper “Jacob’s Bones” for free off our TMF website here.

Bishop Palmer’s Podcast (with Bishop Easterling and Bishop McKee) is The Unfinished Church. Visit their website here:

Bishop Palmer’s Leadership Clinics are inspiring! Find out more here:

This podcast is brought to you by the Leadership Ministry team at TMF and Wesleyan Investive. Leadership Ministry connects diverse, high-capacity leaders in conversations and environments that create a network of courage, learning, and innovation in order to help the church lean into its God-appointed mission.

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Episode 4

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Episode 3

The Power of Unconditional Love

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Episode 2

The Gravity of Joy

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Episode 1

Methodist Hope for What Comes Next

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