About Me


PARTRICK_JOHNSONWelcome!

Lesslie Newbigin writes in The Gospel in a Pluralist Society: “How is it possible that the gospel should be credible, that people should come to believe that the power which has the last word in human affairs is represented by a man hanging on a cross? I am suggesting that the only answer, the only hermeneutic of the gospel, is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it.”  (p. 227)

My prayer is to see the church become a living parable of the kingdom of God, demonstrating the love and grace of Jesus Christ to the world through words and deeds in everyday life. My goal, by God’s grace, to help create that kind of church. Thanks visiting this site, and I hope you’ll look around. Read blog posts, read sermons, and check out links. And if you’d like to email me, please do.

About me

For as long as I can remember — at least back to age five or six — I’ve been a “preacher.” I would sneak into the sanctuary of the church beside my house, where my dad was a pastor, and pretend to preach in the pulpit.  It wasn’t always clear I was called to ordered ministry — I often thought of taking that preaching passion and using it in a courtroom or on a campaign trail — but just after college God called me clearly and persuasively. Following in that call, I attended Princeton Theological Seminary, earning an M.Div. in 2006 and Ph.D. in practical theology and homiletics in 2013. That calling, which began as a boy pretending to preach, has developed into an fulfilling and diverse ministry as a pastor, scholar, teacher, and writer.

Today my primary work is serving as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Asheville, NC. I also teach  in the summer at the Joe R. Engle Institute for Preaching. In addition to teaching, I serve on the Executive Council of the Academy of Homiletics.

My primary academic focus is the intersection of missional theology and homiletics. My work in this area is groundbreaking, bringing mission theology into serious dialogue with homiletics for the first time, casting the congregation as the primary preacher and the preacher as one who equips the congregation for witness.  The Mission of Preaching: Equipping the Community for Witness is available from Intervarsity Press Academic, and is a sustained development of this idea from homiletical, ecclesiological, and practical theological perspectives.

My wife Caitlin and I live in Asheville with our three children. In my spare time I like to play golf, hike, and make sawdust in the cellar.

The Header – Van Gogh’s “The Sower”

The header on this blog isn’t just a stock image–it’s a portion of Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Sower.” Van Gogh is portraying the parable told by Jesus as recorded in Mark 4. He has the sower scattering seed as the sun is rising over the field. It is important to see that for van Gogh the sun was a symbol for resurrection and life. To me, preaching is the proclamation of the gospel in the light of the risen of the Christ, at the dawning of a new creation, as God is bringing forth the great harvest, which is the redemption and transformation of the world. I believe preaching happens this way, and so does the whole proclamation of the church which scatters its words and deeds like seed in the field.

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