Looking for a specific section of the interview? If you open the video in YouTube, you can hover over the bottom of the video, click a section on the progress bar, and jump to specific bookmarks or chapters in the video. The sections are:
00:00 | A “Preacher’s Kid” becomes a minister
03:24 | Howard’s first church
05:39 | Howard’s process for creating a sermon: a year’s worth of work in each one
10:58 | The terrifying and joyful aspects of preaching and teaching
14:28 | The churches Howard has served early in his career
15:23 | Growing a great church in “the heart of the City” in Orlando
18:45 | “Starting” a church in a gothic cathedral in NYC
21:03 | Emerging from retirement, Howard leads churches in Hilton Head and Houston
22:26 | Howard authors two very different books
26:45 | Howard’s motivation to create this website
29:38 | The website’s navigational tools to find the right sermon
33:28 | Howard’s vision for a “user-friendly” website
35:35 | Howard’s hope for the website
A sought-after speaker, educator, and author, Dr. Howard Edington has conducted preaching and teaching missions in every region of the United States and serves the larger Church with a creative and unique energy born of a deep commitment to the work of Jesus Christ.
Howard was born to preach. For four generations, members of his immediate and extended families have engaged in ministry. During his childhood, Howard’s father, Dr. David Edington, was a “circuit preacher,” serving the needs of 7 churches in southern Alabama. Every Sunday, he would preach at a minimum of three different churches, bringing Howard along with him. That “circuit riding” experience, over a period of five years, is when Howard realized the power of the preached word, and its impact on people’s lives. His uncle, Dr. Andrew Edington, was a longtime college president and a noted and popular Bible teacher. His book, The Word Made Fresh, was published in 1985 and conveys the message of Christ in a down to earth and humorous fashion, just the way Howard preaches.
Howard received his Master of Divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1967. He did post-graduate work at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, at the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies in Israel, and at Oxford University in England. His work at all of those institutions was designed to strengthen his knowledge of the Scriptures and his ability to communicate Biblical truth.
He has been awarded honorary doctorates by Arkansas College, Rhodes College, Presbyterian College, Florida Christian University, and Grove City College, as well as Montreat College.
Howard became the lead preacher on his first day on the job, leading the congregation at the First Presbyterian Church of Kilgore, Texas. He served in that role from 1968 to 1973. During his tenure at Kilgore, Howard was surrounded by remarkable people deeply committed to his ministry. The foundation they provided him has served as the underpinning for Howard’s ministry ever since.
Thereafter, Howard was called to lead the Shandon Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina. While at Shandon Presbyterian for five years, Howard’s congregation grew in size and in faith-based commitment to missions.
In 1978, Howard was called to serve the First Presbyterian Church of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. During that ministry in Arkansas, Howard developed a state-wide television ministry, cementing in his mind the value of television in the communication of the Gospel.
Beginning in 1982, Dr. Edington served as senior minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando. At the time he arrived, the downtown church was facing the same struggles as their neighbors. During his 21 year tenure there, First Presbyterian Church became one of the largest mainline churches in the United States–the membership growing from 1,200 to over 6,000 members. Dr. Edington’s sermons reached an even larger audience, as his sermons were televised weekly to millions of homes throughout Central Florida and Greater Atlanta.
Dr. Edington took a pro-active approach to building a different culture for the church, which became “the Heart of the City.” First Presbyterian set the standard for programmatic outreach, developing over 180 program areas to serve the people of Orlando, the nation, and the world. One of the most impactful outreach programs was the weekly televised sermons, as well as a series of 30-second “spots” filmed at various locations throughout the community. Those 30-second spots underscored the need to make a Biblical impact where people lived, as well as an invitation to come downtown to worship. Howard also initiated an after-school care program, one which provided neighborhood children with a safe place to learn, play, and enjoy a good meal. The Counseling Center, comprised with a staff of highly qualified Christian counselors that addressed the needs of significant marriage and counseling issues, was another impactful program started during Howard’s tenure.
As the Church’s programs brought more people downtown, the church became an equal partner with the City of Orlando and Orange County that symbolized the re-birth of downtown: a five-story parking garage. This partnership became the cornerstone for several additional joint efforts between the church and the local governments to help solve issues that were problematic in downtown Orlando.
Dr. Edington knew that changing the culture could not be done by one leader, but rather as a concerted and coordinated effort by all the ministers serving the church and preferably by some of the key lay leaders. His blueprint for changing the focus of the ministry, and the subsequent implementation of that program, changed the way other organizations viewed the church—and inspired the congregation to share the word of the Lord with their neighbors.
But Howard’s focus was not limited to Orlando. While the Senior Minister, he also encouraged members to share their faith and abilities through global mission excursions. The congregation supported 15 missionaries on 5 continents. Howard has led that global outreach, preaching in Korea, India, and Israel.
After his distinguished 21-year career leading First Presbyterian Church in Orlando, Dr. Edington deserved to remove his robe and retire … which he did for about a week. Little did he know the special assignments God had for him or the adventures that would come with continuing to use that deep baritone voice to praise Jesus Christ. Oh yes, God calls Howard to evangelize. And Howard answers.
In July 2003, he joined Providence Presbyterian Church in Hilton Head Island, SC, as Senior Minister. During his 4-year tenure, membership increased by 40% and a sustainable and substantial reserve fund was established. In 2006, Dr. Edington launched a new outreach ministry to bring nationally recognized Christian speakers and teachers to the Island. He recruited his colleague, Charles W. Colson, and long-time friend, Rich DeVos, to headline the inaugural Cross Currents event.
Add “revive a dying church” to Dr. Edington’s list of accomplishments. In 2008, now twice “retired,” Dr. Edington was asked to serve as “Preacher-in-Residence” at the Central Presbyterian Church on Park Avenue and 64th streets on the Upper East Side of New York City. On that first Sunday, 14 hearty Christian souls attended worship in a Gothic cathedral built by John D. Rockefeller in 1922.
From that point, the church began to grow. Two years after he had first set foot in that church’s pulpit, Central Presbyterian grew from one weakly attended service to three Sunday services packed mostly with young singles and young families. What began as a Coffee Hour on Sunday mornings grew into a faith-based public outreach program. Now the church hosts Bible Study Groups all over the five boroughs of New York. Dr. Edington further solidified Central Church’s role in the community through a robust music ministry, led by a dynamic and talented young couple.
Sometimes God saves the greatest adventure for last: to nurture a church where a long-time and beloved pastor retired. The Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston called Dr. Edington in 2013 to serve what became an extended tenure as interim senior pastor. The church has a long history of evangelism and mission, which was enhanced during Dr. Edington’s two-year term.
Dr. Edington has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to the development of young people at all education levels. Dr. Edington responded to appeals from young families expressing a need for Christ-centered education for their children. He then became the founding chairman of The Christ School, an elementary and middle school that operates on the campus of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando. When budget cuts led to the elimination of summer school for public middle schools in Orlando, First Presbyterian stepped in to fill the gap, offering both summer school sessions and after-school ministry during the year for at-risk students from the downtown schools. The success of this program has made it a model for similar partnerships around the country.
During Dr. Edington’s tenure at First Presbyterian, 253 students received more than $525,000 in college scholarships. Thirty-two seminary students received over $200,000 in scholarships and have gone on to notable ministries of their own.
Dr. Edington served for ten years (1992-2002), nine as chairman, of the Montreat College Board of Trustees. In 2018 he returned to service on that board. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by Arkansas College, Rhodes College, Presbyterian College, Florida Christian University, and Grove City College, as well as Montreat College.
Throughout his ministry, Dr. Edington has been committed to the ecumenical notion that no single denomination holds all the answers. He has regularly staffed his church with ministers from other traditions, including Southern Baptist, Episcopalian, and Salvation Army. Further, he has led pastor-training conferences for denominations including the Missouri Synod Lutherans, the United Methodists, the Southern Baptists, and the Nazarene church, as well as the Interdenominational Pastor Training Events at the Crystal Cathedral and through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
A leader in the global mission community, Dr. Edington has committed his life to serving God by ministering to women and men from all walks of life.
During his ten-year tenure on the board of the Outreach Foundation (the evangelistic mission arm of the First Presbyterian Church), three years as its chairman, Dr. Edington led numerous mission trips– including a two-week evangelistic mission in India and a two-week preaching mission in Korea.
Having taken extended journeys to the Middle East, where strong ties were developed with leaders in the region, Dr. Edington was instrumental in forming and fostering a unique relationship between First Presbyterian Church of Orlando and the Bethlehem Bible College in Israel. This bond served as the basis for efforts to build unity among Christians, Jews and Muslims in Central Florida, and led to the signing of a Twin Cities agreement between the mayors of Orlando and Bethlehem.
Downtown Church: The Heart of the City was Dr. Edington’s first book. Building on his experience at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, the book became a blueprint for other downtown churches to turn their mission around. It had tremendous success with churches of all denominations from every state and has been used in seminary curricula, as well as in classes he taught at the Crystal Cathedral in California. Dr. Edington was a contributing author to the volume, Beyond Belief, published by The Gathering/USA.
His most recent book, The Forgotten Man of Christmas, was prominently featured in the December 19, 2005, issue of TIME Magazine. In 2018, the book was revised and greatly expanded by Dr. Edington. The book is a deep exploration into the life of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. In addition, the book is a deeply personal reflection on the impact Joseph has had upon Howard’s life.
To know Howard is to know Trisha, his beloved wife of more than 50 years. Howard and Trisha both attended Rhodes College in Memphis, where they met and fell in love. Howard’s partner in every sense of the word, Trisha is an ordained Deacon, active in Circles and Women’s Ministries, served on the board of the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando Children’s Center, taught Sunday school, and facilitated women’s Bible studies. Trisha has accompanied Howard on many of his ministry trips, including mission travels to the far reaches of the world.
The Edingtons have two adult daughters who reside in Orlando. Meg Edington Sefton has a son, Penn. Beth Edington Hewitt has two children, Hunter and Sarah Beth. John David, the Edingtons’ son, was killed in a tragic car accident in December of 1994, when he was only 22. The grandchildren lovingly refer to Howard and Trisha as “Big Daddy” and “Honey”.
No matter where Howard preached, he always viewed his congregation—those people sitting in the pews or watching at home on television, as part of his extended family. No matter whether he was preaching his sermons in Pine Bluff, Arkansas or in the very center of New York City, he gave all of himself, and all he knew about his Savior, to that family—to us. That commitment to give his very best to us, in the name of Christ, is perfectly encapsulated in a Benediction he frequently used to end his church service. It states:
Write this on your heart.
May the living Lord Jesus Christ go with you.
May He go above you to watch over you,
Behind you to encourage you,
Beside you to befriend you,
Within you to give you peace, and
Before you to show you the way
Now and forevermore. Amen.
The Churches Howard Led
The sermons included on www.TheWordMadeFresh.org were delivered over the course of Dr. Edington’s 52-year career while he served at the following churches:
1968-1973 | First Presbyterian Church, Kilgore, Texas
1973-1978 | Shandon Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina
1978-1982 | First Presbyterian Church, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
1982-2003 | First Presbyterian Church, Orlando, Florida
2003-2007 | Providence Presbyterian Church, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
2008-2010 | Central Presbyterian Church, New York City, New York
2013-2015 | Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas
The Word Made Fresh exists to celebrate Jesus Christ as Savior for all who look to Him in faith and to apply great Biblical truths to the world in which we live.
The Word Made Fresh is a charitable organization dedicated to spreading the word of our Lord as expressed through the sermons of Dr. Howard Edington during his incredible 52-year career. Our organization is comprised of former parishioners of Dr. Edington, who know the power and the grace of his ministry and want to share it with the rest of the world. This “band of believers” internally raised the monies necessary to launch the site, as well as spending countless hours organizing the sermons in such a way that would make it easy for anyone on the website to find the sermon or series of sermons, they sought for their inspiration, redemption, awarenesses of God’s unconditional love, or any other spiritual need they might have.
Our efforts have been 100% funded by volunteers, so the public can have access to Dr. Edington’s sermons at no cost to them. This is our gift.
We hope to expand this gift in the future. As we receive more donations, we will translate Dr. Edington’s sermons into different languages, including Spanish. We also are working to create a daily devotional book comprised of 365 of his most memorable sermons.
The Word Made Fresh.org contains the work and legacy of Dr. Howard Edington: his hundreds and hundreds of sermons and class lectures, each of which is on a specific sermon “page” within the website. All of the sermons and class presentations are available to you at no charge.
To help you find the sermons (and thus the sermon pages) you wish to read, listen to and/or watch, we have created some navigational tools. These navigational tools are found on the website’s Home Page. Each of the navigational tools is depicted with a graphic, such as an open Bible, and a title, such as “Sermon Series.” Those same titles are also found at the top of the Home Page and on the header for each sermon page.
Bible Verse: Dr. Edington’s sermons are organized here by the books of the Bible, and then by chapter and verse within each book. Click on this graphic to be directed to the Bible Verse page where you can view each sermon categorized by books of the Bible. To find every sermon associated with a book of the bible, simply select the desired book of the Bible, and all the sermons pertaining to that book will appear in a list.
Sermon Series: Dr. Edington frequently preached multiple sermons (known as a sermon series) on a particular book of the Bible, or characters, themes and events found within the Bible. The sermon series are grouped together by sub-categories focusing on Christian events (such as Christmas; Lent), and on topics relevant to today (Home and Family; Christian Life; Generosity). Dr. Edington’s adult teaching series are also found here.
Topics: Like so many of us, you may be experiencing loneliness, disappointment or searching for God’s love. Dr. Edington has spent his career addressing these issues. Many of his sermons are grouped together into several specific topics, such as “Finding purpose for your life”, “God’s unconditional love”, and others. Press this graphic to see the list of topics. Then select a specific topic from the list of topics. That selection will then take you to a list of specific sermons on that particular topic.
Events: The Christian calendar identifies several special events such as Christmas, Easter, Lent and others. We also celebrate American holidays such as Thanksgiving, and solemnly remember July 4 and 9/11. Use this navigational tool to connect with Dr. Edington’s sermons devoted to each of 15 different events.
Illustrations: One of Dr. Edington’s special gifts is the selection of illustrations that illuminate perfectly the points in each sermon. Some of these illustrations are humorous, while others are shocking. All are thought provoking. Those seeking to tie the acts and words of the Lord to the acts and words of our contemporaries should visit this section, when it is completed in 2021.
Donate: This website is 100% funded by donations, so that all who come to this website, at no cost, will be able to learn more about God’s love and Christ’s redemptive power. There is no paid staff. All donations are used to grow this website and to pay the costs for its continued operations. Please consider joining with us to financially support this wonderful ministry, by simply pressing this graphic to make your gift to thewordmadefresh.org.
THE IMPACT OF DR. EDINGTON’S MINISTRY
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