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

Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS), working collaboratively with the Nevertheless She Preached network and The Gathering—a Womanist congregation, will offer peer-to-peer learning, seminary education, and a residency program for hands-on experience, all of which will center women’s, Womanist, and Queer insights. CTS will build insights from the program into new degree and non-degree offerings. Grant awarded in 2024. 

The Christian and Missionary Alliance seeks to train and deploy lay preachers from ethnically diverse backgrounds to serve in volunteer or bivocational roles in new and existing small-membership churches across the United States. The program’s educational opportunities will leverage emerging digital technologies and will be offered in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Hmong, Korean, French, and Arabic. Grant awarded in 2023.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will develop a robust preaching resource library, host biennial preaching conferences featuring exemplary preachers from the denomination and other churches; invite pastors to join clergy cohort groups for collegial support, learning and resource sharing; and provide financial assistance to enable bi-vocational pastors to participate in programs that will strengthen their preaching skills. Grant awarded in 2022.

The Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church will work collaboratively with Phillips School of Theology to provide training to early career preachers who have not had access to graduate theological education.  Programming will include preaching cohorts in each CME district led by experienced preachers, an online resource library that includes exemplary sermons, templates, research materials and other relevant resources, and regional conferences, preaching labs, and certificate programs to encourage life-long learning in effective preaching practices. Grant awarded in 2023.

Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) will—in connection with its PhD in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric—identify and invite 12 of the most outstanding and exemplary African American preachers in the United States to participate in an 18-month preaching program through which they will also each mentor two cohorts of eight pastors each. CTS will also host a major Mixed Methods Preaching Conference and develop new video resources for its Legacy Series in African American Preaching. Grant awarded in 2022.

Christianity Today will update its digital platforms and website to make its Preaching Today resources more accessible and develop new content and educational opportunities for preachers (e.g., forming online peer communities, producing videos, developing educational courses, hosting webinars, sharing insights about effective preaching through podcasts). Grant awarded in 2022.

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.

common cathedral, a congregation for the unhoused in Boston, will serve 224 active and aspiring preachers through a new preaching fellows program. Cohorts of 12-16 participants will go through a 4 month experience blending asynchronous and experiential learning to help preachers learn from the kind of dialogical preaching that has become a hallmark of common cathedral’s engagement with unhoused worshippers. Grant awarded in 2024.  

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.

Denver Seminary will serve 200 current and aspiring preachers through peer groups of eight to ten participants, meeting either in-person or online. Each peer group gathering will feature a short video (8-12 minutes) about sermon creation or delivery to educate and spark group discussion. Various Denver Seminary faculty, local pastors, and the program director will develop and deliver video content. Grant awarded in 2024.  

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.