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

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.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological School, in collaboration with the Association for Hispanic Theological Education (AETH), will strengthen preaching among Latino/a pastors and church leaders by hosting virtual and hybrid conferences on preaching, providing peer learning experiences for pastors with coaching and peer feedback, offering trainings for pastors on basic preaching skills, and developing a library of Spanish-language and bilingual audiovisual preaching resources. Grant awarded in 2022.

The General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina will work collaboratively with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina to offer a new jointly sponsored annual preaching conference focused on the challenges and opportunities facing contemporary preaching, diverse peer learning preaching cohorts that gather annually for “preacher camps,” a digital platform to share preaching resources, annual student preaching celebrations to encourage young people to explore vocations as future preachers, and small grants to enable pastors to participate in preaching festivals. Grant awarded in 2023.

George Fox University’s Portland Seminary, in collaboration with Religion for Her and The Leadership Center, will provide training for women who have not attended seminary to help them proclaim the gospel more effectively to multicultural audiences and to flourish as preachers. Annual cohorts of women preachers from diverse ethnic, racial, class, geographical, denominational, and socio-economic contexts will participate in a peer mentoring program focused on preaching. Grant awarded in 2023.

Georgia Central University (GCU) will serve current and aspiring Korean American preachers, primarily along the Atlantic seaboard through a new center that will facilitate two-year-long peer groups offering a blend of academic work, professional training and personal development all related to preaching. The programming takes into account the particularities of the Korean American immigrant contextGCU will also offer online resources and host regional workshops for Korean American pastors. Grant awarded in 2024. 

Global Impact, in collaboration with Urban Strategies, seeks to help Latino/a preachers use technology to reach and inspire listeners to engage in acts of justice and service in their communities. The program will gather preachers into learning cohorts that will meet both in person and virtually. The cohorts will reflect on the various purposes and key theological aims of preaching, examine the art of storytelling through preaching, and explore preaching for justice. In addition, the participants will learn how to produce high-quality videos and navigate a variety of media platforms to reach new audiences. Grant awarded in 2023.

Grace College will provide preaching training through its degree, non-degree, and enrichment offerings. Programming will include new courses, regional workshops, seminars, an annual preaching conference, preaching cohorts, an on-campus preaching lab, and preaching pilgrimages. Grace will launch a new, preaching-focused DMin as well. Grant awarded in 2024.   

Grand View University will help preachers improve their skills in traditional in‐person preaching and also use other media to deliver their messages to wider audiences. Cohorts will gather monthly to explore together their sense of vocation as preachers, receive guidance and mentoring from exemplary preachers, and learn how to craft messages for use on social and other emerging media. Grand View will begin with a pilot cohort of veteran preachers and then open up the project to serve both aspiring and active preachers. Grant awarded in 2023.