Don't Look Back

Methodist Hope for What Comes Next

Don't Look Back
Author Bishop William H. Willimon
Publisher Abingdon Press
Publication Date 9/2022
Binding E-Book
ISBN 9781791027902
Retail Price $18.99
Discount Price $12.79 (33% discount)
Hope and help for pastors and congregations who are asking, What now? And What’s next?

Some pastors and congregations have managed remarkable innovation, creation of new ministries, courageous pruning of old programs, and rediscovery of core Wesleyan convictions in recent years. Others have experienced a long, slow-motion, downward cycle of loss.

We might be tempted to ‘sit down’ wherever we are, looking back at all that’s happened, shaking our heads in disbelief. But it’s time to stand up, to move forward. Will Willimon shows what that could look like. He spent a year committed to asking questions and careful listening in conversations with clergy, organizational leaders, and parishioners across the U.S. What’s next for Methodist church folk?

As you read, join in the process of asking and listening. The honesty, wisdom, and inspiration you find here may point you in new directions. What do you think God is up to in the present moment? What should we stop doing and begin doing, responding to God’s call now? What are the biblical texts, stories from our past, and core Wesleyan convictions that might guide us from this point?

And are we at Good Friday or at Easter?

As Willimon writes in his Introduction, “Let’s have a decent burial for yesterday’s good intentions and then partner with the Holy Spirit in creating tomorrow’s church.” This is a book to read and reflect on with colleagues, congregants, and Methodist friends.

What others are saying!
“Based on his lifetime as a Methodist, Will Willimon takes us on a personal journey through the formation of the Wesleyan movement, a painful critique of the forces that are now tearing apart The United Methodist Church, and ultimately, biblical hope for the future. This book blends history, theology, personal narrative, and biblical scholarship to offer pastors and congregations concrete ways to move forward to a reformed church of which John Wesley would be proud.”
—Andy Langford, senior pastor, Central United Methodist Church, Concord, NC; scholar and expert on worship, evangelism, and preaching; editor of The United Methodist Book of Worship

“Don’t Look Back brings good news for weary, sad, and cynical Methodists: You are loved and chosen. There is a place and future for you in the relentless renewing work of God in our world. Drawing deeply from wells of ministry and faith, Will Willimon shares the wisdom we need for this season. His insights are tough and encouraging, practical, clear eyed, honest, relational, humble in service, Christ-centered, and so hopeful! This book invites us to dig deeper into our faith and ultimate mission beyond denominational mechanics and brokenness—bearing witness to what God is doing. This is a word not only for Methodists but for anyone who shares a radical Christian commitment and calling.”
—Joni Sancken, professor of homiletics, United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH

“In Don’t Look Back Will Willimon is an ‘equal opportunity’ truth teller. No one and nothing is off limits, including himself and especially not the institutional church. He encourages healthy grieving for what is no more but eschews syrupy nostalgia. He preaches, teaches, meddles, prods and probes all in the hope that we will fasten our attention on the resurrected Jesus and join him where he is at work.”
—Gregory V. Palmer, resident bishop, Ohio West area, The United Methodist Church