Distributing Power with Joerg Rieger


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The fourth of five muscles the church needs to strengthen in order to be fit, agile, and ready for God’s now is Distributing Power. Dr. Joerg Rieger is the Distinguished Professor of Theology and the Cal Turner Chancellor’s Chair of Wesleyan Studies at Vanderbilt University. He has spent the last two decades addressing the relation of theology and public life, reflecting on the misuse of power in religion, politics, and economics.

In this conversation, Joerg reminds us that distributed power is at the heart of Jesus’ ministry and the ministry of John Wesley and the people called Methodists. He connects spiritual practices with distributing power, inviting us to do the work of theology so that we might grow in holy power not to hoard it but to channel it. This conversation with Joerg is full of that holy power. We can’t wait for you to listen!


  • “I remember years ago there was some theologian who wrote a book saying we have to ask more God questions and less me questions. And everybody was really excited about this book. ‘We have to ask more God questions and less me questions.’ In the Perkins faculty where I was teaching at the time was really excited, and I said ‘What if your God questions are really your concealed me questions?’ Is that possible, right, that you talk about God, and you’re really talking about yourself.” -Joerg Rieger [13:41]
  • “Power is not a dirty word, but it’s a different sort of power. If you want to use modern language, you could say it’s more democratic. It’s more shared. It’s something that brings people together. Something that builds relationships. Something that builds solidarity.” -Joerg Rieger [15:00]


  • [00:00] Intro
  • [01:14] Current conversations with congregations
  • [05:23] Meet Joerg Rieger
  • [07:06] Highlights from the interview
  • [10:51] What comes to mind with “distributing power”
  • [17:04] The issue of power in the US right now
  • [20:58] Ways to build those power muscles
  • [25:42] Practices to get a better grip on the notion of power
  • [33:26] Signs of hope
  • [38:55] Outro


Visit Joerg Rieger’s website to find out more about his books and other recent podcast interviews.

Joerg’s book “No Religion but Social Religion” reflects on the Wesley’s understanding of grace, God, and religion.

Read more about the Five Muscles on our website and download a PowerPoint presentation to share with your leadership.

“God Has Work for Us To Do” music and lyrics by Mark Miller. Visit Mark’s website at markamillermusic.com or find him on YouTube at youtube.com/c/markismusic67.

This podcast is brought to you by the Leadership Ministry team at TMF and Wesleyan Investive. Leadership Ministry connects diverse, high capacity leaders in conversations and environments that create a network of courage, learning, and innovation in order to help the church lean into its God-appointed mission. For more information and to support Leadership Ministry, visit tmf-fdn.org/leadership-ministry.

41 episodes