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 Church of the Nazarene will form preachers into peer cohort groups for mutual learning and support, offer coaching and produce online tools and resources on preaching, host intensive and immersive annual summits on preaching and effective communication, and develop a residency program focused on preaching for young pastors. Grant awarded in 2022.

City Seminary of New York will listen to and document examples of compelling preaching in its diverse forms, emphases, and settings in newer immigrant church communities located across the five boroughs of New York City, create and nurture opportunities for preachers to cultivate the practices of preaching that inspire congregants and nurture the spiritual lives of their congregations, and bring together different preaching voices into communities of mutual learning to support preaching in New York City congregations from diverse cultural and ecclesial traditions. Grant awarded in 2023.

Columbia Theological Seminary aims to strengthen and sustain preachers as they engage in the weekly task of preaching by hosting in-person regional workshops in which preachers of diverse racial, cultural, and denominational identities draw on various artistic practices to engage scripture in new ways, producing video resources and on-demand courses on preaching, facilitating monthly online peer learning groups focused on the craft of preaching, and offering guided retreats and pilgrimages to provide preachers with experiential opportunities for reflection and peer support. Grant awarded in 2023.

Corazón Puro, in collaboration with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and the National Institute for Ministry with Young Adults, will offer bilingual and bicultural training for parish ministry leaders in the Northeast, Texas, and the West Coast to equip them to preach in ways that engage the changing realities and increasing diversity of their communities. Corazón Puro will also refine its Advanced Preaching courses for the next generation of Latino/a Catholic preachers and expand access to these courses through a fully integrated online platform and mobile app. Grant awarded in 2023.

Covenant Theological Seminary aims to encourage and revitalize seasoned preachers, better equip and support young preachers and those aspiring to preach, and give opportunities for preachers of all experience levels, ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities to learn from each other. Programming will include peer learning cohorts for pastors in the St. Louis area, as well as for young pastors, church planters and campus ministers from across the country, semiannual preaching conferences, and a web-based resource containing sermons, articles, podcasts and lists of other recommended resources on preaching. Grant awarded in 2023.

Duke University, through Duke Divinity School, will strengthen and expand the training of preachers in its new hybrid Master of Divinity degree program with special attention paid to preaching in hybrid contexts, provide cohort-based formation for preachers through 12-month peer learning experiences focused on preaching effectively in diverse contexts, and expand learning opportunities for preachers through the creation of a new preaching certification program on Duke’s digital learning platform. Grant awarded in 2022.

Eastern University’s Palmer Theological Seminary will strengthen the content and delivery of sermons by convening community conversations between preachers and hearers and engaging multidisciplinary partners to explore preaching for diverse current audiences, building on the legacy of longtime professor Tony Campolo with the Campolo Legacy Initiative, which will offer masters classes and a certificate in preaching focused on prophetic and ecumenical preaching, and revising and expanding its preaching courses and experiential learning opportunities for preachers. Grant awarded in 2023.

Emmanuel Gospel Center, Inc., in collaboration with the Fellowship of Haitian Evangelical Pastors of New England, aims to strengthen the abilities of Haitian pastors to preach effectively both for recent Haitian immigrants and for second-generation Haitian-Americans. Initiative activities will include pairing newer and experienced preachers together for mentoring as well as with training, coaching and congregational feedback about their preaching. New resources and workshops will focus on preaching essentials, trends in Haitian communities, and the use of communications technologies. Grant awarded in 2023.

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas will work collaboratively with Backstory Preaching to connect preachers with each other for peer learning and to provide preachers with resources and support.  Programming will include new resources to meet the unique needs of lay preachers, a framework for individualized learning that identifies a preacher’s needs, establishes a growth plan, and recommends resources for improving preaching practices; and a library of exemplary sermons for reference and learning. Grant awarded in 2023.

The Episcopal Preaching Foundation (EPF) will help parishes and dioceses to form and enhance groups in which priests and congregants work collaboratively to develop sermons and share feedback. EPF will pilot these groups in 44 Episcopal dioceses and hopes to expand them in more Episcopal churches and other mainline Protestant congregations across the United States. Grant awarded in 2022.

The Evangelical Covenant Church will facilitate cohorts to help preachers develop healthy and sustainable preaching ministries. Project activities will include master classes, retreats, individual coaching, and spiritual direction for cohort participants. Participants will receive feedback from congregants and peers and eventually develop sermons that will be added to a digital library of theologically informed, contextually appropriate, and inspiring examples of compelling preaching. Grant awarded in 2023.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will equip the rapidly-growing number of Lutheran pastors without seminary training to communicate the gospel, deliver sermons that are appropriate for and reflect their congregations’ contexts, and offer hope for the future of their communities. The ELCA will work with an initial pilot cohort of 24 pastors and then roll its program out to as many as 2,010 pastors in the ELCA’s 65 synods across the United States. Grant awarded in 2022.

Every Nation Churches & Ministries will help preachers in diverse ministries in North America present faithful sermons that are compelling to new listeners. Initiative activities will include yearly Practicing Preachers Seminars with intensive seminary-level teaching and live sermon feedback, Preaching Practice Groups for ongoing growth in preaching skills, monthly Zoom trainings to help participants learn how to reach and inspire listeners from diverse audiences, one-on-one coaching for current and aspiring preachers, and the development and curation of online resources. Grant awarded in 2023.

The Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church will expand its year-long multi-session skills developmental program for preachers, add a series of pilgrimages for pastors to significant religious sites with a focus on preaching, offer workshops on topics of emerging interest relevant to preaching, develop regional preaching-focused colleague groups, host large events to hear exemplary preachers and leading preaching scholars, and convene small groups of preachers and preaching professors to explore together the possibilities and limits of preaching in this age. Grant awarded in 2023.

Fuller Theological Seminary will equip preachers—especially women and preachers serving communities of color—to preach effectively in increasingly diverse ministry contexts. Programming will include documenting practices of compelling preachers from Korean American, Latino/a, Black, and other Asian American church communities, creating resources to provide models of compelling preaching for preachers in each of these contexts, and offering conferences, peer groups and new courses to equip and support all preachers who preach to diverse audiences. Grant awarded in 2023.