United Methodists are TEDheads

The Rev. Arthur Jones is a fan of TED Talks and gave one in April at a TEDx event in Plano, Texas, where he is associate pastor of St. Andrew United Methodist Church. ~ photo courtesy TEDxPlano

TED Talks, like the Chautaugua speaking tradition, offer up important ideas with heart-felt passion.

SAM HODGES
United Methodist News Service

The Rev. Arthur Jones is a fan of TED Talks. While he’s adamant that they’re no substitute for sharing the gospel, he’s just as sure that preachers can learn from them.

“TED Talks are the closest analogy to preaching in the secular world,” said Jones, associate pastor of St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas. “They’re a great source of ideas, content and presentation style.”

TED Talks — the acronym stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design — have found their way into United Methodist life. The talks influence preachers and are shown in a variety of church settings to spark discussion.

The talks are video-recorded in front of live audiences and shared worldwide through the Internet. They’re typically brief (about 18 minutes), anecdotal and focused on a single idea about which the speaker feels passionately.

Renowned figures across a range of professions and academic disciplines have given TED Talks. Pope Francis gave one in April titled “Why the Only Future Worth Building Includes Everyone.”

The all-time most popular TED Talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” by educator and author Ken Robinson, has had more than 46 million views.

The Rev. Donnie Wilkinson is among United Methodists who qualify as “TEDheads” or “TEDsters” — regular viewers of the talks.

“I schedule time in my week to watch at least one,” said Wilkinson, pastor of Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “I do it so I can stay informed, and just to stretch my mind and think thoughts I’ve never thought before.”

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