PEN participates in the Colloquium on Strengthening Christian Preaching

Jun 18, 2014 | Pastoral Excellence Network


In what ways might peer learning strengthen the teaching of preaching today so that preachers are better prepared for the opportunities and challenges facing the North American church?

This was the central question that brought Chris Braudaway-Bauman and Lawrence Peers of the Pastoral Excellence Network (PEN) to the Colloquium on Strengthening Christian Preaching, which was hosted by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship in Grand Rapids on May 28-29, 2014.

Most of the 24 organizations invited to the Colloquium were seminaries that are incorporating peer learning into their preaching pedagogy. Additionally, a few organizations that provide online and media resources to preachers were present. Over 50 people were present.

The participants addressed topics such as:

(a) Adaptive challenges and opportunities that current pastoral leaders face in congregations and in their broader cultural context,

(b) Innovations that have already been tested, and are strengthening and expanding preaching pedagogies,

(c) Implementation of peer learning approaches to preaching and pastoral formation,

(d) Online and media resources currently available to preachers and peer learning groups.

The conversations will help launch a learning community among the organizations, most of which are part of Lilly Endowment’s new Initiative to Strengthen the Quality of Preaching. All participants recognized that seminaries from many different traditions are rethinking the way preaching is taught today.

Participants learned about peer learning approaches that are widely used in Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Programs, as outlined in the book So Much Better: How Thousands of Pastors Help Each Other Thrive. Additionally, they received two books on preaching co-authored by participants in the Colloquium: A Sermon Workbook, by Thomas H. Troeger and Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, and Reading for Preaching, by Cornelius Plantinga Jr.

The Pastoral Excellence Network looks forward to the ways it can help resource this exciting Initiative and participate in the emerging learning community.

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  1. 1 Viola Morris-Buchanan 24 Jun
    Definitely interested in learning more about this new concept of teaching, learning and growing in "preaching" the gospel message, particularly as our congregations are becoming more diverse, and the cultural nuances of preaching are as varied as our communities!  Thanks for including in the article publications that will aid our work with our Pastoral Residents as they continue developing their "Preaching Voice."
  2. 2 paris lee smith 23 Jun
    ....having been practicing the art of preaching for some 28 years, I find it interesting the movements of preaching have not changed yet the approaches have....while the art of preaching evolves from preacher to preacher, the imput of the feminie voice is needed in a often male dominant vocation....the balance is empowering and I am personally excited to read of such diversity for the pulpit in the art of preaching....please count me in...Paris Lee Smith, Sr. MDiv., candidate for DMin @ UTS.