The African American Legacy Preaching Series Launches New Season
In the realm of religious discourse, African American preaching stands as an art form and a source of inspiration, capturing the hearts and minds of listeners with its fervor, depth, and rich history. For years, it was often misunderstood and underappreciated. The African American Legacy Preaching Series, an integral component of the PhD Program in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric at Christian Theological Seminary, is on a mission to change that narrative. This video interview series, which recently announced its second season, aims to shed light on the history, beauty, depth, power, and genius of black preaching by featuring renowned preachers and leaders who have significantly impacted the pulpit and beyond. Season 2 debuted on October 30, 2023 with “A Conversation with Bishop Walter Scott Thomas, Sr., hosted by Dr. Frank A. Thomas.” In the interview, Bishop Thomas shares his reflections on preaching, friendship with Dr. Charles Edward Booth, his preaching method, sermon preparation process, insight on over forty years of pastoring, support for the PhD Program in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric, the moment God used him the most, his most difficult preaching experience, and all things preaching.
The Legacy Preaching Series has had the privilege of featuring prominent preachers and leaders, each sharing their unique perspective on the art of preaching. Past interviews from Season 1 included individuals like Dr. Howard-John Wesley, Rev. Dr. Claudette Anderson Copeland, Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes III, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, and Bishop Cynthia James. Season 2 promises more insightful conversations with preachers like Rev. Dr. Carolyn Ann Knight, Bishop John Richard Bryant, Rev. Reginald W. Sharpe, and more to be released throughout 2023 and 2024.
The African American Legacy Preaching Series has received a warm reception within and beyond the Christian Theological Seminary community. The existing 20 interviews have collectively garnered an average of over 23,000 views per video on YouTube. Dr. Howard-John Wesley’s interview alone has resonated with over 90,000 viewers. This substantial viewership underscores the hunger for the wisdom, experiences, and insights that these preachers bring to the forefront. Their messages are helping individuals improve their preaching methods, cultivate a deeper understanding of African American preaching, and contribute to a revitalized American Christianity.
The African American Legacy Preaching Series is more than a collection of interviews; it’s a movement that seeks to revitalize American Christianity by celebrating the extraordinary legacy of African American preaching. The series brings to life the experiences, insights, and wisdom of notable preachers who’ve made a mark on congregations, communities, and society as a whole. These preachers discuss not only the art of preaching but also the complexities of pastoring, leadership, and activism within the context of the African American church.
This initiative is closely tied to the core mission of the PhD Program in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric. It’s dedicated to fostering a preaching renaissance that challenges stereotypical perceptions of African American preaching as emotionalism and buffoonery. Instead, it aims to revive American Christianity in the 21st century by showcasing the intellectual depth, spiritual power, and historical importance of black preaching. Dr. Frank A. Thomas, the Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Homiletics and Director of the Compelling Preaching Initiative (CPI), envisioned this series as a means to amplify and honor African American preaching through renowned voices, thus inspiring people worldwide to elevate their preaching practice.
In a world where the spoken word has the power to transform lives, the African American Legacy Preaching Series stands as a testament to the enduring impact of black preaching. Through this series, the PhD Program in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric showcases the past, present, and future of an art form that has the potential to reshape the Christian landscape and beyond. By honoring more voices of impact and renown through video interviews accessible to preachers everywhere, Season 2 paves the way for a brighter and more inclusive future in the world of preaching and religious discourse.