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 Greater New Jersey Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC) will work with the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the UMC to help preachers meet the increasing diversity within their congregations and make use of emerging social and other communications media. Programming will include a certificate program for preachers to hone their craft alongside exceptional preachers and instructors, support for pastors to develop feedback loops with listeners about their sermons, and online courses to help preachers deliver sermons that are effective and contextually appropriate. Grant awarded in 2023.

American Baptist Assembly, Inc., commonly known as Green Lake Conference Center (GLCC), will host summer programs for young adults who are aspiring preachers in which they will practice preaching and receive mentoring and feedback, hold two weeklong preaching innovation labs each year for active preachers to provide them with instruction and coaching about how to use new technologies and communication techniques to reach diverse audiences, and collaborate with its educational and denominational partners to develop tools and resources for preachers in local congregations. Grant awarded in 2023.

Gustavus Adolphus College will help new and experienced preachers refine and sharpen their preaching skills using digital and other media to reach churched and non-churched audiences, engage lay preachers in a coordinated education process to learn theological frameworks for preaching and develop their preaching skills, and connect college students with seasoned pastors to introduce them to the basics of preaching and to explore vocations in the ministry. Grant awarded in 2023.

Hampton University will convene national roundtables and regional listening tours on African American preaching, establish the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference Repository of Exemplary African American Preaching in digital form, record and make available the “Beautiful Feet” series of videos featuring interviews with well-established and up-and-coming preachers, and create the Scholars, Sages, and Scribes Series Oral History Project on African American Preaching to preserve the wisdom and genius of African American preaching for future generations. Grant awarded in 2022.

Hastings College seeks to help preachers deliver compelling sermons to diverse audiences—especially young adults—by communicating Biblical teaching in ways that are timely, relevant, and inclusive of contemporary culture. Hastings will launch a new certificate program for undergraduate students to develop preaching skills, host intergenerational, annual preaching conferences that bring together current pastors, seminary students and undergraduates, offer summer preaching programs for high school students interested in ministry, and create a digital sermon library with contributions from participants. Grant awarded in 2023.

Hellenic College will develop a new website with significant Greek Orthodox preaching resources, launch podcasts of effective preaching practices, offer webinars about preaching on the great feast days of the Orthodox liturgical calendar, organize annual in-person clergy workshops on preaching, host annual preaching-focused conferences for priests and seminarians, and hold a preaching contest for seminarians at all Orthodox seminaries across the United States. Grant awarded in 2023.

Howard University will work through its Black Congregations Resource Center to launch a national podcast designed as a resource for current pastors and student preachers, host an annual preaching symposium to equip leaders for preaching within diverse congregations contexts, develop preaching curriculum for its DMin program, and institute two preaching certificate programs in African American preaching at Howard University’s School of Divinity. Grant awarded in 2024. 

Ignatian Spirituality Center will offer two new programs: 1) the Francis Xavier Program for Ignatian Preaching—a teaching and learning community for emerging preachers—offering training, support, and spiritual formation opportunities, especially for BIPOC and younger preachers and 2) the Women’s Companions of Color, which will support newer preachers, particularly BIPOC women, through mentorship and leadership growth opportunities. Grant awarded in 2024.  

Insight for Living will significantly enhance the preaching resources it offers through the Church Leaders section of its website, make available 1,000 exemplary sermons from the ministry of Chuck Swindoll on its mobile app, YouTube, and (in addition to providing resources and references with each message), and provide webinars, in-person summits and virtual gatherings for preachers. Grant awarded in 2024. 

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship-USA will form preacher cohorts for a number of the many Asian American women participating in its programs that will help participants develop their preaching skills, expand opportunities for women to preach in Asian American churches, and establish a multi-year Emerging Virtual Spaces Think Tank that will provide opportunities for students and InterVarsity alumni/ae to experiment with approaches for communicating the gospel in popular virtual spaces and through emerging communications technologies. Grant awarded in 2023.

Johnson University will establish the Fred Craddock Center for Preaching Excellence to help preachers develop and adopt innovative and effective approaches to preaching. Targeting preachers in the Appalachia region near the university’s main campus and in a largely Hispanic region near its central Florida campus, the center will host two-day interdisciplinary retreats for pastors to strengthen preaching skills, organize lectures, workshops and seminars on preaching, form peer mentoring groups for preachers, and collect and curate resources on preaching from the life and ministry of Fred Craddock. Grant awarded in 2023.

Latin American Bible Institute College will cultivate, promote, and support Hispanic preaching by launching new preaching training opportunities for Latina preachers through its Women’s Leadership Institute, hosting annual preaching conferences focused on using new technologies and online platforms, developing a new certificate program for pastors in Hispanic Preaching Arts, building a Preaching Lab to provide students more practical experiences and encouraging innovative approaches to preaching, and establishing a preaching library to make available newly created and existing resources in preaching. Grant awarded in 2023.

Lee University will establish a new Center for Exemplary Pentecostal Preaching which will support preachers through peer learning cohorts, mentorship, workshops, webinars, and annual preaching conferences. Lee will also create a new undergraduate minor in homiletics and develop a digital platform to provide educational opportunities for Pentecostal and other preachers across the United States through low-cost, fee-based programs offered in Spanish and English. Grant awarded in 2023.

Lexington Theological Seminary, working collaboratively with Creation Justice Ministries and the BTS Center and building on a successful pilot program, will support preachers as they learn to address climate-related issues from the pulpit in ways that build understanding and consensus in addition to contributing to positive changeYearlong Ecopreacher cohorts will serve ~150 preachers per year. Grant awarded in 2024.   

Life Pacific University seeks to support aspiring and active preachers by establishing a Preaching Institute that will pair undergraduate students and seasoned preachers to provide students with mentoring and preaching practice, developing and curating digital resources about how to craft and deliver effective sermons, and hosting annual conferences designed to strengthen the communication skills of current and future preachers. Grant awarded in 2023.