Coffee House preacher
veers from traditional
in sermon that dares
By SHERON C. PATTERSON
He was edgy. He took risks.
He was on point. He was, perhaps,
the youngest preacher at one of the
North Texas Annual Conference
The Rev. Mike Baughman couldn’t be contained behind the pulpit during his sermon.
Photo by Mat Matthews
He is the Rev. Mike Baughman, 33, of Union Coffee House in
Dallas. His Sunday evening sermon lit a fuse that started the 2012
Annual Conference with a bang.
Those who packed into Custer Road
UMC in Plano on Sunday, June 3,
for the Opening Service may not
have known what they were in for.
Hopefully they did not expect a
traditional sermon with three points
and a poem.
His sermon, entitled “Who Can
Stop the Water?” based on Acts 2,
was all that and more.
A member of the New
Jersey Annual Conference,
Rev. Baughman is relatively
new to the North Texas Annual
Conference. But he is not new
to United Methodism. His
grandfather and great-grandfather were United Methodist
As the service opened, Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe commissioned the
North Texas interns from the Lydia Patterson Institute and Project Transformation.
Both groups will fan out over the NTC
to take part in service projects and programs in local churches. Filling the first
several rows of the sanctuary, they appeared
energized and eager to begin their summer
journeys of service. The youthful preacher
and the interns proved a positive combination, providing a look at the future of the
Rev. Baughman’s sermon, so popular
that it was quickly posted on websites,
served up theology, hope, challenge and
humor with an edge. He began on the topic
“As the heat of summer began, I was
watching the news. I had this sermon on my
mind and heard a report about the symptoms of dehydration. Let’s see if they sound
familiar, body of Christ,” he said, as he
- Rapid heart rate associated with stressful situations.
- Skin that lacks elasticity
- The inability to expel waste and
cleanse the body.
- Aches and pains, especially in the
- Serious cases may result in delirium
and body systems progressively shutting
“Any of that sound like our churches?”
he asked. “We serve thirsty churches in a
Then a comical video of Rev. Baughman appeared on the screen. He sat in a
tiny, inflatable kiddie pool, on the beach,
while two of his children taunted him
for choosing the tiny pool over the huge
ocean. He drove home the point of the
video with these words:
“I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit in
the kiddie pools of faith while the waters
of God roll behind me. I’ll be damned if
I’m going to swim in bottled water when
God is calling us to get our hands, feet,
souls, hearts and selves dirty.”
The Rev. Mike Baughman had the congregation snapping along with him.
Photo by Mat Matthews
There were chuckles as the preacher
asked an audience member to check on
Bishop Bledsoe’s reaction to the use of
damn. And the next image on the screen
was the Hoover Dam.
“By dam, I mean a large, perhaps
brick structure used to block the flow of
All jokes aside, Rev. Baughman
closed his sermon with the hope of a young adult, fresh and ready for the work required to revive Methodism.
“I have hope for The United Methodist
Church because I believe that God is building
up a generation of leaders to bring us to the
Promised Land, young people to offer visions
and prophecies, just as Joel predicted and
Peter commands,” he said. “I look at our
Lydia Patterson interns and believe that
Moses is among them. She may not talk all
that much, but God is stirring something
inside of her as she learns to live across
multiple cultures. Miriam is singing songs
of the Promised Land in the choir, and
Aaron is that Project Transformation intern
who talks way too much.
A Project Transformation
the end of
Photo by Sheron C.
“I think the next John and Charles
Wesley are in our youth groups right now,
and next weekend they’ll be giving each
other wet willies in the back of the church
van to Six Flags. I have hope because you,
North Texas Conference, are called to
equip them for the journey.”
The worship service ended with
Renewal of Baptism vows. Large containers of water were stationed around the
sanctuary. Worshipers streamed toward
them, cupped the water into their hands
and poured it on their heads. They remembered their baptisms, and they remembered
the sermon that lit a fuse in so many hearts