Innovative finances aside, Church of the Resurrection has managed to form a unified community, and mostly with traditional ideas. "We have 36,000 United Methodist churches in America," Pastor Adam Hamilton says. "I am convinced that the Methodist approach, with its emphasis both on the evangelical and social spirit, is perfectly situated to reach Gen-Xers if we remember what it is we believe."

Hamilton says that he fostered one goal from the beginning: to reach nonreligious and nominally religious people for Christ. "The dream was to start a church for thinking people who had felt like they believed in God at one point but found church irrelevant," he says. "We wanted to reach them through their head first, and then through their heart."

Recognizing that many contemporary churches had worked to make worship less "churchy," Hamilton says he found that people are not afraid of traditional things like choirs or clerical vestments as much as they are weary of irrelevance, judgmentalism, and hypocrisy.

"Gen-Xers are looking for something that feels like it's linked to something older than 25 years," he says. "The forms of worship—some of the pieces that make us feel like we are connected with something sacred—are very important."

Some members of other local churches attend Church of the Resurrection periodically just to hear Hamilton. "He's amazingly engaging," says Jim Ensz, a member of nearby Village Presbyterian Church and an attorney. "I'm impressed with the way he researches, whether it's the Constitution or golf." Hamilton frequently mixes reading Scripture with the latest business books.

When complimented on his leadership skills, Hamilton cites the past as his wellspring of inspiration: "The stuff that we are doing that is causing us to bloom is taken right out of the playbook of John Wesley from 250 years ago."

Related Elsewhere

Be sure to read today's related story "The Business of Resurrection | A fast-growing Kansas City church builds on success by using an innovative plan for real-estate development."

Visit the Methodist Archives at the John Rylands University Library of Manchester

Do a virtual tour of the chapel and home of John and Charles Wesley in Bristol.

Read Wesley's notes on the Bible or access Wesley's sermons from Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Read an excerpt from a Wesley biography about his first time preaching outdoors.

Read "A Short History of Methodism" by John Wesley.

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