Don’t Be Afraid: St. Luke’s UMC Presents Pastor Adam Hamilton
By: Sherri Gragg
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church will host Adam Hamilton, pastor of Church of the Resurrection, Kansas City, on the evening of March 15, 2018, at seven o’clock. Hamilton will speak on the subject of fear: how it both hinders and helps us, and how to live courageously in an anxious world.
An Epidemic of Fear
Americans are suffering from an epidemic of fear. According to Hamilton, our heightened level of anxiety isn’t always in pace with our actual level of threat. “Since 911, ninety-four people died of terrorism, and nine thousand six hundred died of lightning strikes,” Hamilton said. “On the other hand, 560,000 people died in automobile accidents, but we still get in our cars and don’t think anything about it.”
As Senior Pastor of 20,000 member Church of the Resurrection, Hamilton began to hear story after story of how anxiety was impacting his parishioners’ lives. Sensing a trend, he conducted a church-wide survey on fear. The survey found that 87 percent of the men and women filling his pews each Sunday were struggling with a moderate level of fear on an ongoing basis. Hamilton knew then that fear was an issue he needed to address as a pastor.
Why So Anxious?
Hamilton believes the advent of the twenty-four-hour news cycle is one of the reasons our culture struggles with anxiety. Before the proliferation of the internet and cable news networks, most of us received our news once or twice each day through our local newspapers. Now phones, and even watches, beep constantly with the news of tragedies from around the world.
And bad news sells. As Hamilton researched the subject of fear, one of the revelations that surprised him the most was how often data is presented to us in a way that taints it toward the catastrophic in order to boost marketability. “Take cancer research for example,” he said, “Researchers need to convince us of the danger in order to raise money so we are presented the stats in a certain way. I can say that there is a 15 percent or 12 percent chance that you will die of cancer or I can say there is an 88 percent you won’t die. Often how we present data that leads us to be anxious about it.”
Proven Strategies for Peace
Hamilton’s deep study into scripture, married to research into the science of fear have yielded powerful tools to help his congregation learn how to live peacefully in a faint-hearted world. He believes God is still whispering the words, “Do not fear” to His people today, and Hamilton looks forward to sharing his findings at St. Luke’s.
“There is no silver bullet, but there are proven strategies,” Hamilton said. “My hope is that people will leave inspired, encouraged and equipped.”