Preaching Lab

Online: February 4 – March 25, 2019, including weekly videoconferences as noted below
In person: Saturday, March 2, 2019 at ECMN Retreat Center, Faribault, 8:30am – 3:30pm

Designed for those who already have a little or a lot of preaching experience, this course invites you into a learning community, focusing on on specific dynamic in the experience of preaching that rotates each year. In 2018, the course focused on storytelling. Here’s the focus for 2019:

The Gospel People Don’t Want to Hear:

How to Preach Difficult Messages So They’re Heard

There are challenging sermons and there are challenging sermons. Every sermon is challenging in some way, even if it’s to challenge us to know we’re loved and forgiven more than we think we are. Other sermons, though, get into harder, more difficult, more emotional territory. These sermons address, for example, our politically divided culture, the realities of declining church attendance, or congregational conflict.

When we feel challenged by conflict what we often want to hear is that God agrees with us and that the Gospel supports our position. But what if it doesn’t? What if the Gospel sounds counter to what we want to hear? What if it’s asking us to change our minds, change our hearts, and see and behave towards others differently? Listeners can feel defensive and stop listening for the proclamation of the Gospel. This interactive preaching course will help preachers offer those kinds of challenging messages so the Gospel gets heard.

Over the course of seven weeks, we’ll meet in a closed Facebook group for video lectures, live conversations, and conversation. Participants will be assigned creative exercises, self-reflection and prayer, and preach a sermon at the end on a difficult subject of their choice.

Course meets live, online, from 7-8:15 PM: Monday, Feb 4; Tuesday Feb. 12; Monday Feb. 18th; Tuesdays thereafter through March 19th. Attending the live sessions is not required but strongly encouraged. All sessions will be recorded.

Participants will record and upload a sermon for appraisal by the instructors as the final project. (Instruction will be given for those unfamiliar with recording and uploading sermons.)

Course Instructor: The Rev. Lisa Cressman,  Backstory Preaching®

Required materials: Available from the instructor at no additional cost.

Cost: $300 | Click here to register.
First course? Click here to register for free!


Comments from students in 2017-18:

It was awesome! I loved the practical application, and the opportunity to make it our own. I also enjoyed the encouragement to think outside our box. The most impactful advice was to use stories to “break open” the Gospel. Now, when preparing a sermon, I ask myself, “Does this bit open or close the Gospel?”

Keep on keeping on. Honestly. Best homiletics instructor I’ve had. Engaging, approachable, intelligent.

Thank you so much, Lisa and Cathie. You are amazing, thoughtful, gentle, kind, and given me gifts that I can use. Blessings.

Great class. The format of weekly on line gathering and in person day was really engaging.

I really appreciated the wonderful teaching provided by Lisa and Cathie, and spending time with brothers and sisters in Minnesota. So fun to be with old friends, and get to know some knew ones better in the process.