How to Improve Your Preaching: Learning from the Masters

Photo by  Tim Mossholder  on  Unsplash

At Backstory Preaching, we help preachers improve in the craft of preaching so they feel more confident in the pulpit—all while renewing their connection to God.

To that end, one of our goals is to make continuing education not only accessible and affordable, but also continual.

That’s why we bring some of the great preaching minds of our time directly to you in The Collective+ each month.

We’d love to introduce you to our guests for the rest of the year and hope you’ll join us in learning from these insightful leaders in our field.

Bishop Rob Wright

Joining the Collective+ October 15th, 2019

Excerpt of bio from the Diocese of Atlanta website:

“The Right Rev. Robert C. Wright is the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, which covers north and middle Georgia and embraces 110 worshiping communities. At the time of his election in June 2012, he had served 10 years as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta. Prior to that, he was a school chaplain and on the staff of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City.”

Can’t you hear Jesus saying to all the baptized, down through the hallway of time, “Welcome to the beautiful struggle. Welcome to the joyful rebellion. Don’t be surprised if the world hates you. I have come to bring a sword, not to be nice. They killed me because of love and truth. They killed Alban, back in England, because he thought a Christian should protect the vulnerable. They killed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis for being nonviolent and wanting a living wage for the poor.” What would Jesus say to us now? I think it would be something like, “What has love caused you to risk?”

Matthew 10:34
— From Bishop Wright’s weekly devotional, For Faith (August 16, 2019)
  • Bishop Wright’s weekly devotional, For Faith

Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery

Joining the Collective+ November 19th, 2019

The Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery is the Dean of Duke University Chapel and Associate Professor of Homiletics at Duke Divinity School. A national leader in the theological study of the art of preaching (homiletics), Powery regularly delivers sermons at Duke Chapel as well as at churches throughout the United States and abroad. He is often a keynote speaker and lecturer at educational institutions, conferences, symposia, and retreats. His teaching and research interests are located at the intersection of preaching, worship, pneumatology, and culture, particularly expressions of the African diaspora.

Video runs approximately one and a half minutes.

Rev. Jane Patterson, PhD

Joining the Collective+ December 2nd, 2019

Rev. Jane Patterson will be speaking to us about preaching on Luke for Christmas.

Excerpt of bio from Seminary of the Southwest website:

The Rev. Jane Patterson, PhD, is associate professor of New Testament and serves as director of community care. She joined the full-time faculty in 2013 after teaching part-time and serving as interim director of Theological Field Education, 2003–2005. She is the author of Keeping the Feast: Metaphors of Sacrifice in 1 Corinthians and Philippians (SBL Press, 2015). In biblical studies, her academic interests include the intersection of literary, political, and theological study of the scriptures. She also teaches in the area of Christian formation, where her work focuses on vocation and Christian practice. She serves as co-director of St. Benedict’s Workshop, a ministry devoted to helping laity live their faith in daily life, and serves the Diocese of West Texas as missioner for adult formation and as a member of the diocesan examining chaplains. She is active as a preacher, teacher, and parishioner at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio.”

Awareness of all of these narrative choices makes me sympathetic to the four evangelists and the communities whose stories of Jesus they were bold enough to try to relate to us. If we could shake them down out of heaven to ask them about the differences among them, I can just hear them answering in exasperation, “Of course we’re different! It was hard enough to settle on these particular stories. You have no idea of the choices we had to make!”

And what about Jesus? Did he tell the parables we know more than once? Did he alter them, ever so slyly, for different audiences?
— Gospel of Luke—Parable of the Pounds: A Sermon by Prof. Jane Patterson)

Don’t miss these speakers!

We’d love for you to join us as we learn from these exceptional preachers.

And you’ll want to check out all the new features of The Collective/+. We’re moving to a new and improved platform this week, adding a new weekly sermon prep tool (launching mid-October), creating resources for those who use the narrative lectionary, and more.

Come see what a community of growth-oriented preachers can do for your preaching life.