Compelling Preaching Initiative
CTS’s Compelling Preaching Initiative is an 18-month certificate program for Exemplar preachers to engage in cohort learning about the theology and pedagogy of preaching while further developing their own preaching method. During this program, Exemplar preachers produce their own published work and help lead participatory workshops, teaching labs, and preaching labs at the Mixed Methods Preaching Conference to help participants enhance their preaching style. The program culminates with Exemplar preachers going forth to mentor and coach aspiring Apprentice preachers in the hopes of advancing the collective impact of compelling preaching.
The Compelling Preaching Initiative was created to serve those who love preaching, desire to continuously improve with cohort support, and are interested in learning more about African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric. Through this initiative, Exemplars and those they mentor will be become more compelling and effective preachers in order to share the message of God’s liberative, restorative, and life-affirming love for all.
- This phase consists of 4 intensive courses, 3 of which Exemplars attend on campus at CTS with their cohort
- Each course is less than a week long, taking place from mid-day on a Monday to mid-day on Thursday
- PhD students from the African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric Program assist with teaching courses during the residency periods. This gives Exemplars a wonderful opportunity to learn from and with PhD students while pursing their non-degree certificate.
This begins with a 2-day writing colloquy in January which Exemplars attend on campus at CTS with their cohort. Over the next 6 months, the Exemplar works with a writing coach to develop a published work
Mixed Methods Preaching Conference
Mixed Methods Preaching Conference
This phase gives Exemplars the opportunity to work with aspiring preachers during the Mixed Methods Preaching Conference, which occurs at Christian Theological Seminary in September of Year 2
This stage marks the Exemplar’s completion of the Compelling Preaching Initiative program. Exemplars who complete the program will receive a Certificate of Completion during a celebration ceremony.
- Upon completing the previous phases, each Exemplar will develop a group of aspiring preachers they will mentor and teach what they have learned
- The goal of this phase is for Exemplars to go out and inspire Compelling Preaching in a sustainable, effecting, and engaging way
- Exemplars will share their love, method, and knowledge of preaching in their congregations and the broader community
- Student Liaisons from the PhD Program in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric will work directly with Exemplars during this phase to help them employ the Compelling Preaching model when coaching Apprentices.
- Learn about the theology, history, biblical hermeneutics, and pedagogy of preaching
- Learn how to teach preaching to others
- Rediscover and invigorate your own preaching style
- Take your preaching to the next level
- Work collaboratively with writing coaches to translate your oral skills onto the written page
- Master the writing process
- Publish a preaching memoir or workbook
- Host teaching labs at the Mixed Methods Preaching Conference
- Build a group of Apprentices and mentor aspiring preachers
- Teach and develop compelling preachers
- Build networks of community and support to advance compelling preaching beyond the program
- Five or more years of preaching experience
- Willingness to develop a publishable product relevant to preaching
- Commitment to an eighteen-month process of mentoring and instruction
- Commitment to the tenet that academic study improves the quality, depth, and truthfulness of one’s faith and the preaching that comes out of that faith
- Must be an aspiring preacher seeking to improve preaching method
- Desire to learn about and practice compelling preaching
- Willingness to be mentored by Exemplars and participate in networking group(s)
- More info about the Apprentice Program will be released in 2024!
The CTS Compelling Preaching Initiative welcomes and affirms persons of all denominations, ethnicities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations to apply and participate in the program. The only requirements are for participants to have a love of black preaching and five or more years of preaching experience.
Apply for the Program
Please complete and submit the Apply form below to indicate your interest in applying to be an Exemplar in the Compelling Preaching Initiative. If you are not ready to apply to be an Exemplar but would like more information, click the Information Request tab below and submit your contact information so that we can reach out.
*Applications to be an Exemplar in the Compelling Preaching Initiative program are not being accepted at this time. Please click the Information Request tab to share your interest in applying for a future cohort, request information, or ask a question.
I have a question or would like to learn more.
- Fill out and submit the Apply tab to the left
- Receive application form via email
- Complete and submit your application
- Zoom interviews scheduled with finalists
- Cohort members selected
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
- March 22: Application period for initial cohorts opened to the public
- April 28: Application for Cohort 1 closed (application period for Cohort 2 continues until filled)
- April 20-May 12: Zoom Interviews for Cohort 1 finalists
- May 19: Cohort 1 selected
- June 6: Zoom Orientation for Cohort 1
- July 10-July 13: First class on campus at CTS
Hours and Fees
Length of Program: 18 Months
Anticipated Workload: Some prep work on off weeks required (+/- 2 hours per week)
Cost: At this time, there is no cost to attend this program. However, travel fees and accommodations are not provided. Need-based scholarships for travel are available by request and on a first-come first served basis.
Support the Initiative
There are several ways that you can support the Compelling Preaching Initiative
- Want to become an apprentice? Click the information request tab above and let us know you would like more information
- Attend the Mixed Methods Preaching Conference
- Like and Subscribe to the Legacy Preaching Series on YouTube
- Follow CTS on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter
- Click below to support the Compelling Preaching Initiative and similar work by making a gift to CTS
“For years and years African American preaching was stereotypically considered ignorance, buffoonery, and emotionalism. I believe the history, beauty, depth, power, and sheer genius of black preaching can generate a preaching renaissance to revive American Christianity in the 21st century. The Compelling Preaching Initiative seeks to involve non-degree students and preachers in the improvement of preaching method, practice, and cohort-based mentoring relationships to further the impact of such a renaissance.”
– Rev. Dr. Frank A. Thomas
There are several ways those interested can help advance Compelling Preaching and be involved in the initiative.
- Apply to be an Exemplar and complete the 18-month non-degree program
- Share your interest in becoming an Apprentice who will be mentored by a Compelling Preaching Exemplar
- Attend the Mixed Methods Preaching Conference to improve your preaching method
- Watch the Legacy Preaching Series videos on YouTube to learn more about Compelling Preaching from renowned preachers
Mixed Methods Preaching Conference
The annual Mixed Methods Preaching Conference helps preachers love and improve their preaching. We offer sermons, lectures, education, homiletical instruction, and preaching labs where participants are taught method by our PhD students, write and preach a sermon in front of fellow participants and instructors trained in homiletics, and then receive immediate feedback and critique. We have found the preaching and critiquing of the sermons, after instruction on the homiletical method, to be the most meaningful way to improve preaching.
Compelling Preaching refers to a style of preaching that cultivates practices among aspiring and active preachers that help them proclaim the gospel to a variety of audiences in more engaging and effective ways.
This is a set of video interviews about compelling preaching with renowned preachers. The series is hosted by Program Director Rev. Dr. Frank A. Thomas and posted to YouTube for preaching subscribers. Additional video interviews for this series will be recorded in 4 segments throughout the course of the Compelling Preaching Initiative. You can view the series here.
The Mixed Methods Preaching Conference is a preaching conference hosted annually on campus at CTS. Current and aspiring preachers come to campus in fellowship to learn more about preaching through participatory workshops, teaching labs, and preaching labs with collegial feedback and sermon critiques.
Do you love the history and culture of African American Preaching and seek to learn more about preaching? If so, you qualify to engage with this initiative!
This program has two components- Exemplar preachers must apply for the program and must have five or more years of preaching experience. Apprentice participants are aspiring preachers of all ages who partner with an Exemplar to build community and learn together.
If you are not able to participate in the program as an Exemplar or Apprentice, you can still participate through the Mixed Methods Preaching Conference.
The CTS Compelling Preaching Initiative welcomes and affirms persons of all denominations, ethnicities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations to apply and participate in the program. The only requirements are for participants to have a love of preaching and five or more years of preaching experience.
The first cohort starts in June of 2023. The second cohort starts in July of 2024.
At this time, there is no cost to attend this program. However, travel and accommodation fees are not provided. Need-based scholarships for travel are available by request and on a first-come first served basis.
Materials and books as well as meals are provided during the Exemplars’ time on campus. Additionally, there is no cost to attend the writing colloquy or work directly with the writing coaches. All editorial and publishing fees for the published work are provided. Travel and hotel accommodations are not provided.
The answer is a resounding yes! You will not regret participating in this compelling preaching experience at CTS. You will become a more effective and compelling preacher in sharing the message of God’s liberative, restorative, and life-affirming love for all.