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 North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, in collaboration with Curanopy Ministries, will offer preachers short sabbatical experiences to renew their passion for preaching, provide six to eight-week intensive training preaching courses, host retreats to deepen preachers’ relationships with God and scripture, facilitate peer gatherings for preachers to build relationships and write sermons together in community and organize preaching-focused pilgrimage experiences for pastors. Grant awarded in 2023.

The Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation will establish a new center to cultivate and support effective preaching practices in congregations in Mid-America. Program activities will include annual in-person preaching intensives for seasoned preachers, an online certificate program in preaching for congregational lay leaders and commissioned pastors in training, and peer learning cohorts for pastors to strengthen and support effective preaching practices. Grant awarded in 2023.

Pepperdine University will host intensive preaching workshops for active preachers, produce preaching-focused podcasts and newsletters for preachers, expand its Next Gen Preacher Search programs for high school and college-aged Christians considering the preaching vocation, develop programming on effective communication practices for youth and youth ministers, create video training series for pastors on effective communication practices. Grant awarded in 2022.

Point University will launch a new center to foster more powerful and relevant preaching. The center will gather preachers into communities of practice to receive feedback on their sermons, try out new modes of preaching, and experiment with delivering sermons through new social and digital media. In addition, the center will facilitate retreats for preachers, organize annual preaching conferences, and host smaller seminars on preaching. Grant awarded in 2023.

Presbyterian Theological Seminary in America will enrich the preaching practices in Korean American immigrant churches by developing and offering new classes and seminars focused on effective methods of preaching in Korean American contexts, launching new courses for pastors on how to use digital and other media to reach people in post-pandemic church environments, designing new classes specifically for lay leaders to help them become compelling preachers, and conducting research to evaluate shifts in Korean American preaching. Grant awarded in 2023.

The Presbytery of Philadelphia aims to strengthen the preaching practices of and give encouragement to lay leaders who are more frequently filling pulpits in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and help pastors adapt their preaching practices to rapid cultural changes. The program will offer learning cohorts, retreats, monthly workshops, one-on-one sermon coaching and preaching conferences as well as opportunities to learn from experts about digital technologies and their use. Grant awarded in 2023.

The Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) will build sessions into its national gatherings as well as its Eastern, Midwestern, Southern and Southwestern regional meetings that feature exemplary preachers and teachers who will make presentations about effective preaching and lead workshops. The PNBC will also offer two-day events in 15 cities across the United States that will provide pastors with peer evaluations and serve as the launchpads for the formation of peer-to-peer preaching groups in local areas. Grant awarded in 2022.

Redeemer City to City will build on its established national network of urban congregations to train pastors who come from and serve in diverse ministry contexts. Program activities will include annual peer learning cohorts of preachers, immersive events focused on preaching in different contexts, coaching and sermon feedback for preachers, in-depth virtual training events on effective preaching, and annual symposia on preaching for cohort participants as well as additional local preachers. Grant awarded in 2023.

Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary will produce weekly preaching commentaries on the Scripture readings, host workshops that foster pastoral understanding about how parishioners listen to sermons and develop practical skills in key areas of preaching, create mentoring teams to provide customized learning and personalized support for priests and deacons, hold annual preaching festivals, organize community-focused conversations and preaching events to take preaching beyond parishes, and develop a web portal to share the resources and work of the Institute. Grant awarded in 2023.

Saint John’s University will engage priests, religious members of the community, and scholars of the Benedictine traditions to explore particular values and practices that shape Benedictine methods of preaching, gather preachers and community members to practice these communal methods of preaching, integrate these methods into the seminary’s teaching of preaching, and expand opportunities for preachers to learn these preaching methods through workshops, courses and consultations. Grant awarded in 2023.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, in collaboration with the Church Anew network, will bring together a group of preachers from different racial, ethnic, theological and national backgrounds to learn from one another about their different preaching practices. Participating pastors will work with preaching exemplars and experts in communication, participate in preaching retreats, and receive small grants to implement innovations in their own preaching practices. The program will also produce digital preaching resources, organize webinars and host national preaching festivals. Grant awarded in 2023.

St. Nersess Armenian Seminary seeks to establish preaching as a more significant component of pastoral leadership and spiritual life for Armenian clergy in the United States. Programming will include online webinars on preaching to instill confidence in Armenian Orthodox preachers and to build shared preaching and communication practices, in-person regional preaching workshops and larger annual preaching retreats to enhance the preaching skills of diverse clergy, and the creation of an interactive library of resources that adapt the treasures of Armenian preaching for modern preaching needs. Grant awarded in 2023.

Saint Paul School of Theology seeks to foster courage among preachers and encourage them to preach sermons that address issues of wholeness, justice and peace in divided times. Programming will include peer learning preaching cohorts for mutual learning and for receiving coaching on preaching practices, annual conferences to sharpen preaching skills and nurture the wellbeing of preachers, and podcasts featuring well-known preaching exemplars as well as cohort participants to share insights from the preaching cohorts with wider audiences. Grant awarded in 2023.

St. Thomas More Catholic Church in St. Paul, MN will work collaboratively with Discerning Deacons and the Center for Spirituality at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame to prepare and support women for current and future preaching opportunities in Catholic contexts. Program activities include two-year, low-residency experiences featuring in-person intensives, virtual lectures, peer learning and mentorship, preaching festivals for Catholic women preachers, and communication efforts with the wider Catholic Church. Grant awarded in 2023.

St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary will invite 75 priests to participate in a two-year program to cultivate the rhetorical skills, spiritual practices, and theological and apologetic insights needed for compelling preaching. The program also will include coaching and peer support for priests. In addition, St. Vladimir’s will develop online resources for priests and conduct ongoing interdisciplinary research and host conferences about what makes preaching compelling in Orthodox contexts. Grant awarded in 2022.