Sustaining the Preaching Life

October 2, 2019 - June 12, 2020

Sustaining the Preaching Life

Opening Retreat October 2–4, 2019 | Closing Retreat June 10–12, 2020
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Sustaining the Preaching Life is a program providing training and support for preachers. Participating pastors form their own cohort of four to six preachers who commit to taking part in an opening and closing retreat on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary and three preaching courses. Each course has an online component of lectures, readings, and assignments, a live online session with the instructor, and a platform through which the cohort of peers can share their preaching with one another. Preachers will review and renew their theological and biblical assumptions about preaching and discover ways to increase their preaching imagination.

Create Your Preacher Cohort

Preachers are invited to form a peer learning cohort of four to six preachers. Because of the nature of the program, gathering online and on the Princeton Seminary campus, cohort members need not live in the same area. Once you have recruited your cohort members, the organizing pastor completes this cohort request form including the names and contact information for each member. Submissions will be reviewed, and you will be informed of admission to the program within 10 business days. Space is limited to 24 participants (four to six cohorts) and priority will be given to those who have not participated in earlier preacher roundtable groups at Princeton Seminary.

Opening and Closing Retreats

The opening and closing retreats take place on the Princeton Seminary campus and include all cohorts in the program. At the opening retreat you will get to know all of the participating preachers as well as spend time with your cohort. You will establish your group’s peer learning process and goals, become familiar with the online platform, and enjoy time for renewal. The closing retreat will knit together the learning experiences of the previous nine months as well as help preachers plan to continue their learning journey. Both retreats will include time for rest and table fellowship.

Opening Retreat Dates: October 2–4, 2019
Closing Retreat Dates: June 10–12, 2020
Location: Princeton Theological Seminary
Accommodations: The Erdman Center
Travel Funds: Up to $400 per cohort member is reimbursable for travel to each retreat
Retreat Fees: There are no additional fees for the retreat.

Retreat Leadership Includes:

The Rev. Dr. Nancy L. Gross, the Arthur Sarell Rudd Professor of Speech Communication in Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary and director of the Sustaining the Preaching Life project.

The Rev. Dr. Sally A. Brown, the Elizabeth M. Engle Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship at Princeton Seminary and director of the Engle Institute of Preaching

The Rev. D. Jay Robinson, executive director of the Institute for Clergy Excellence

Courses and Instructors

Coursework in the online platform is self-paced with deadlines. Some discussion will take place with the full complement of preacher cohort members, broadening the learning experience for all. Other aspects of the course work will be shared only with one’s cohort. Each course includes a live session with the instructor.


Sally Brown

This course will lead participants to reflect on the theological assumptions and convictions that guide their preaching. What, at its heart, is “gospel” for them? What is the “news” about what God has done, is doing, and continues to do in the world that they hope listeners are getting from them over time? What does that look like in their local context? With what expectations do they turn to the biblical text? Through what lens do preachers face up to, and redemptively re-imagine, the everyday world those in their pews grapple with every day? Working through these questions together will assist preachers to understand better their own preaching, and help new cohorts to learn about the foundational concerns of their cohort members.

Instructor: Sally A. Brown, the Elizabeth M. Engle Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship at Princeton Theological Seminary

Dates: October 7 – November 25, 2019


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This workshop invites participants to broaden their preaching horizons through learning lessons from three non-majority-culture homiletical traditions. Participants will discuss the ways that context shapes their preaching, explore the role of context in reading and preaching biblical texts, watch video and audio clips of sermons, and conduct homiletical experiments through various learning activities over the course of the week.

Instructor: Jared E. Alcántara, associate professor of preaching and holder of the Paul W. Powell Endowed Chair in Preaching at Goerge W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University

Dates: January 13 – March 9, 2020


Eric Barreto

The lectionary invites us into the Acts of the Apostles during Eastertide. This course will take up this invitation and help preachers dwell on the narrative imagination found in Acts. Such an imagination has much to say to a world marred by prejudice, warfare, and the fruits of empire. We will find that Luke provides fewer answers to these real problems and more imagination for a God who is faithful.

Instructor: Eric D. Barreto, the Frederick and Margaret L. Weyerhaeuser Associate Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary

Dates: April 15 – May 20, 2020

Cost and Registration

The pilot year of Sustaining the Preaching Life is funded by a grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. under the initiative Strengthening Preaching Through Peer Learning.

Participants must create their own cohort, submit a cohort request form, and receive approval to participate before registering. Each cohort member then registers themselves separately.

Cohort Request Form Deadline: 
September 1, 2019
Registration Fee: $300 per person, payable within 2 weeks after your cohort is approved
Retreat Room and Board: No cost to participant
Travel Costs for Retreats: With appropriate documentation, travel expenses will be reimbursed up to $400 per person per retreat.

Cohort Request Form
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