It’s not about profound observations or impassioned oration. The authentic sermon is effective.

Backstory Preaching Mentorship Program

Our year-long, online, intensive mentorship has a twofold focus.

We dive deep into your identity as a Christian — your backstory. Your backstory is made mostly of ordinary moments of extraordinary love from God. Without being aware of and cultivating that love, preaching can feel like a checkbox on the ministry chore list. We'll examine your mindset, experience of the gospel, places where fear and shame are holding you back, and the importance of cultivating wonder, joy, and curiosity as you engage Scripture.

At the same time, we’ll focus on your skills as a preacher. We’ll practice the craft of preaching using original techniques and tried-and-true methods, like giving and receiving feedback and collaborating in master classes.  You'll learn how to find a dozen ideas from a single passage of Scripture, practice writing strategies that will enhance your message, and give and receive feedback that will strengthen your speaking skills. You’ll learn how to prepare and preach effectively every week with less stress and more joy so that you can “Be Good News to Preach Good News.”


The result? Deeper faith and a newfound foundation that will strengthen the rest of your preaching vocation.

I think anyone would benefit from experiencing this class...It gives spiritual direction while also helping to improve preaching and to lighten the burden of preaching for the sake of the preacher’s overall ministry.

Backstory Preaching’s Mentorship is for...

  • Any ordained or lay preacher, whether a new grad or a veteran with many years of experience
  • Bishops, priests, pastors, and deacons who want to strengthen the craft of writing and delivering sermons
  • Bi-vocational clergy longing to preach clear, engaging, and effective messages
  • Clergy members who want to illuminate the connection between spirituality and preaching
  • Anglican, Mainline Protestant, and Roman Catholic preachers.

Course Includes:

  • 8-month virtual or in-person one-to-one mentorship
  • Masterclasses
  • Small group, online collaboration
  • Books and articles integrated to help you develop your perspective and voice
  • Structured sessions for study and sermon appraisal
  • Option to attain the designation of “Backstory Preacher” to indicate your dedication to and proficiency in this craft, qualifying you to be trained to become a Backstory Preaching Mentor.
  • Course Materials: The brand new book, Backstory Preaching: Integrating Life, Spirituality, and Craft by Lisa Cressman, Founder and Steward of Backstory Preaching® (Liturgical Press: Collegeville, 2018), and its corresponding workbook.
I am not a big enough sponge to absorb all of what she is teaching me.

Application Guidelines

Backstory Preaching is an intimate, intensive mentorship so space is limited.

Applications must be received by Nov. 15th, 2017.

The 2018 program begins with a two-day, online retreat: January 10-11, 2018 (9-3:00 CST).

Cost and financial policies are included in the application.




Get the guidance and support you need to become a better preacher.

The one-on-one is invaluable, and connecting with other peers who struggle with sermons has made me realize that I am not the only one...and that we are not in competition.