Worship in the Chapel of the Incarnation

Celebration of Biblical Preaching



The Book of Daniel: Preaching in the Face of Empire

Michael Chan, Assistant Professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary

Through entertaining narratives and bizarre apocalyptic visions, the book of Daniel invites its readers into a fantastical world, where Daniel and his friends live daringly faithful lives, even at risk of personal harm and even death. As wise as they are pious, Daniel and his friends navigate the realities of assimilation, resistance and exile, and in the process boldly bear witness to the King of Kings, whose dominion over creation relativizes the power of earthly despots. At key moments in the narratives, Daniel and his friends preach and testify to the world’s powers, reminding them that their power is always relative to God’s. This preaching culminates in the claim that, while earthly powers may lay claim to our earthly lives, God lays claim to us beyond the grave, in resurrection (Daniel 12:1-4).


Courage in a Biblical Key

Kathryn Schifferdecker, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary

We’re not the first people of faith who need “the courage to preach.” Scripture is filled with stories of those who are called to proclaim God’s Word in ways both small and great. Some of them take on the task willingly. Many resist. Some get the heck out of Dodge. What can we learn from their stories? What does courage look like in situations of conflict? What does courage look like when God seems silent? In this workshop, we’ll explore several biblical stories of courageous women and men who speak for God when no one else will.


Courage is Vulnerable: How Brené Brown’s Research Supports Preaching

Sarah Ciavarri, Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator-Consultant, Chaplain

If you have heard about bestselling author Brené Brown’s work on vulnerability, courage, and authenticity or want to know more about how her groundbreaking research and curriculum are being utilized to bring renewal and transformation to the church, this workshop is for you. What can this research teach us about life-giving preaching? We want to preach from the heart but so much gets in the way. This workshop unpacks what vulnerability is and isn’t, how it is connected to courage and resilience, and how these show up in preaching. We also will explore what armor we might be taking into the pulpit. The connections between Brown’s research and church leadership, Scripture, and the life of faith are endless so come ready for lively conversation, laughter, and experiential learning!

Eating, Healing, Salvation: The Good News according to Luke Today

Eric Barreto, Associate Professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary

What does "salvation" look like for Luke? This workshop will point to the tables where Jesus gathered with sinner and righteous alike and the healings wherein he brought wholeness to individuals and community alike as embodied moments of salvation. Get ready for the readings from Luke in Year C with this pair of frames for Luke's theological vision and how that vision emboldens us with courage as we preach the good news today.


Keeping it all together: Preaching the Gospels in the narrative form

Mike Carlson, Lead Pastor, St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi, Minn.

The Gospels were created to be used as a story that would influence an attended community.  So often within the congregating, we cut and paste the Gospels to “fit” our needs and times and we leave out large chunks of the story.  This disrupts narrative flow of the Gospels.  This workshop will explore the value of keeping the Gospel texts in a narrative flow and adding a “Year of John” to the flow.  We will look at how the texts flow with the liturgical year, companion texts and other components to this format. 


More than Courage

Annie Edison-Albright, Pastor, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Stevens Point, Wis.

You've summoned up the courage to preach about poverty. Excellent! Now what? Through guided reflection, interviews and storytelling, you will be inspired and equipped to preach with compassion, humor and creativity. The questions you'll consider can be applied to preaching on other difficult topics, too.


Online Resourcing: The Courage to Truly Listen to Those with Whom We Disagree

Jenee Woodard, Founder, The Text This Week

 We will explore online commentary of Scripture available on the Internet and talk together about how to integrate viewpoints other than our own into our faithful preaching and practice. How do we listen to each other in a world where we gather power and even prove faithfulness by quickly choosing sides? How does this affect our preaching?


Preaching the Grand Drama of Scripture and the Narrative Lectionary

Rolf Jacobson, Associate Professor of Old Testament

Two common patterns of biblical preaching are to follow the Revised Common Lectionary or to design sermon series on scriptural books, themes or passages. These two patterns have served the church well in many ways.  But one major, unintended consequence of these two ways of preaching is that even the most faithful worshipers often lack any sense of the grand drama of Scripture and how they are called to live their lives in that "grand God narrative."  Using the Narrative Lectionary as a point of departure, this workshop will explore different themes of the Bible's grand narrative and how preaching can engage God's people with God's story.


Preaching Paradoxically

Carla Dahl, Center for Spiritual and Personal Formation, Bethel Seminary

Preaching truthfully requires some comfort with paradox: “Whoever is least among you is greatest.” “Whoever loses their life will find it.” “When I am weak, then I am strong.” Paradox isn’t just integral to what we preach, however; it is integral to our lives as ones who preach. Explore the kind of courage it takes to make room for “both/ands” in the Christian story and in our own stories.


“A priest, a rabbi, and a Lutheran pastor walk into a bar”: What preachers can learn from stand-up comedians

Karl Jacobson, Teaching Pastor, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Minneapolis

In our culture, one of the closest rhetorical cousins to the preacher is the stand-up comedian.  We often speak to a room full (… ahem …) of people with nothing in common other than that they are all sitting, and facing the same direction (©Louis C.K.).  While not every sermon needs a joke, nor every preacher to be funny, there is much that we can learn from the art of stand-up that can help us think critically, differently and more creatively about the art of preaching.  From questions of voice and timing, to methodological considerations of recurring bits and circular storytelling, to the courageous comedic claim that no subject is off limits, our workshop will explore the power and potential of preaching from the stand-up’s view.


Soulful Words: Tapping into your Authentic Self in Proclamation

Sam Bardwell, Actor

We will explore our authentic voices for proclaiming Scripture through exercises that get us on our feet and in our words.  Inspired by Scripture’s presentation of the spoken word and of an authentic self, we will approach proclamation as a practice of being converted by the Word.  In binding ourselves to the Word we will find the freedom necessary to get our words heard by our neighbors.