The Compelling Preaching Coordination Program celebrates the unique contributions that very different kinds of institutions— congregations, denominations, seminaries, universities, colleges, non-profit organizations, informal peer leader learning groups— can make to strengthening the ecology of North American Christianity, while discerning how we can collaborate for greater fruitfulness.

Compelling Preaching Initiative Grantees

The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, working collaboratively throughout all 13 of its Episcopal Districts in the United States, will provide skill development and spiritual formation for at least 1,000 AME clergy and 1,000 lay ministers. Led by Scholars-in-Residence, each district’s program will include quarterly learning labs, sermon construction webinars, focus groups, and conferences. Grant awarded in 2022.

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church will work with preachers in each of its conferences nationwide to host national and regional workshops and events for pastors that feature exemplary preachers and help clergy strengthen their preaching practices, form pastors into peer learning cohorts to work together to improve their preaching, develop accessible print and online resources to inspire and educate AMEZ preachers. Grant awarded in 2023.

The Allegheny Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will work collaboratively with the Northwestern Pennsylvania and Upper Susquehanna Synods of the ELCA to strengthen preaching in congregations across the Appalachian region. Together, they will equip ordained and lay preachers to utilize traditional and non-traditional preaching techniques to make their sermons more compelling for listeners, educate aspiring preachers to use a variety of preaching strategies, and work with congregations and new community audiences to help them provide helpful feedback to their preachers. Grant awarded in 2023.

The Allen Temple Leadership Institute (ATLI) will provide comprehensive educational opportunities in preaching through its Bay Area Academy of Responsible Preaching for current and aspiring preachers who don’t have access to traditional theological education appropriate to their contexts. ATLI will also host lectures and conferences and develop a digital library of resources, sermon clips, articles, and the BAARP Master Class via a mobile application. Grant awarded in 2024.   

The Alliance for Christian Media, known for broadcasting sermons on its Protestant Hour radio program for the last 75 years and now making those and other sermons available on its Day1 media platform, will improve accessibility and functionality of the Protestant Hour/Day1 archives for preachers and teachers of preaching. Also, the Alliance will develop teaching tools for preaching via new media, and equip lay leaders, both to partner with preachers in sermon preparation and evaluation and to engage in pastor search activities more effectively. Grant awarded in 2022.

America Evangelical University (AEU) will work in a collaborative manner with ministers and laypeople from Korean American congregations to develop a diagnostic tool for pastors to use in identifying the spiritual status and needs of church members and the most optimal combination of traditional and non-traditional methods of preaching to serve them. This will lead to coached innovation in preaching for a larger network of Korean American churches. Grant awarded in 2024. 

America Media, a Jesuit media organization that is a trusted resource for Catholic priests and lay leaders, will develop “The Word” mobile application that will provide preachers with easy access to 50 years of content from America’s long-running column focused on sermon preparation. Through the app, America Media will launch a weekly podcast that will feature great homilies with commentary and occasional interviews with the participating preachers, and expand the production and distribution of the popular video series, One-Minute Homilies. Grant awarded in 2022.

Anderson University (Anderson, IN) will establish a new Center for Compelling Preaching that will engage in research to assess the state of preaching in the Church of God (Anderson) and other churches affiliated with the school, host preaching workshops and national clinics that will encourage and support preaching that is theologically informed, biblically focused and contextually appropriate, and facilitate preaching cohorts of six to 12 pastors each that will work with preaching coaches to strengthen communication skills and spiritual formation. Grant awarded in 2023.

Anderson University (Anderson, SC) will establish the new Clamp Center for Preaching Excellence. Working collaboratively with Preaching magazine and Anderson’s Center for the Study of African American Preaching, this new center will create content and curriculum to equip preachers to serve their churches and reach beyond their own congregations, form peer learning preaching cohorts for newer and veteran pastors, who will be equipped to establish their own cohorts regionally, and expand Anderson’s National Conference on Preaching. Grant awarded in 2023.

The Aquinas Institute of Theology will develop and launch an academy for the mastery of preaching with individual tracks focused on Hispanic/Latinx communities and the Black Catholic Church. The New Frontiers in Preaching Program will provide permanent deacons and lay pastoral associates with the skills necessary to offer preaching that is meaningful, theologically and pastorally insightful, and personally transformative within their own communities. Grant awarded in 2022.

The Archdiocese of Chicago will launch a foundational preaching skills program to educate priests in effective communication practices, develop a centralized digital preaching platform to curate and promote homilies as well as other preaching resources for priests and others who preach and equip clergy and laity to initiate non-judgmental spiritual conversations with nonchurchgoers to help them encounter Jesus. Grant awarded in 2022.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles will expand and enhance its training programs on preaching for deacons and laypeople who are increasingly tasked with preaching responsibilities in local parishes. Programming will be offered in English and Spanish and will include retreats on preaching, the formation of small peer learning cohorts of preachers, the production of preaching resources, and opportunities for new and experienced preachers to practice delivering sermons in different settings throughout the Archdiocese. Grant awarded in 2023.

Ashland University will work with the Galilean Theological Center to support pastors who serve marginalized communities. Program activities include nine-month, cohort-based certificate programs in basic and advanced preaching, which incorporate discussion, mentoring, workshops and hands-on training, annual public symposia on preaching featuring a variety of exemplary preachers and scholars, and cross-cultural travel opportunities to help preachers understand effective preaching practices in different contexts. Grant awarded in 2023.

Assemblies of God Theological School (AGTS) will offer workshops on preaching at the Assemblies of God’s biennial gatherings and host major national preaching conferences featuring AG’s most exemplary preachers in the Pentecostal tradition. AGTS also will develop a new cohort-based certificate program in preaching, facilitate ongoing preaching peer groups and produce digital preaching resources for AG pastors. Grant awarded in 2022.

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary aims to help preachers in smaller congregations reach their listeners more effectively and inspire them to live out their faith in their churches and communities. They will provide extensive coaching for both ordained clergy and lay preachers serving small congregations, equip preachers to help and encourage their congregants to share their own testimonies, and train preachers to communicate faith-instilling messages that reach listeners outside the walls of the church. Grant awarded in 2023.