Celebration of Biblical Preaching:
Preaching as Divine and Human Drama
Oct. 6-8, 2013


good news? preaching and politics in the information age

Eric Barreto, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary

The old advice to "preach with the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other" remains as true as ever. However, politics and the media are shifting all around us. Newspapers are slowly giving way to digital and video news coverage. Too often we live in silos of information, only hearing and reading sources that confirm our predetermined political commitments. Moreover, our churches are not immune to the great partisan divides that embroil our political discourse. So, how do preachers speak prophetically and biblically to current events? How do we comment passionately but not in a partisan way to the latest political developments? How do we preach in a compelling but not divisive way to breaking news and the pressing political matters of our day?

the power of preaching: your sermon can change your culture!

Tania Haber, Senior Pastor, Westwood Lutheran Church, St. Louis Park, Minn.
Jason Van Hunnik, Associate Pastor, Westwood Lutheran Church, St. Louis Park, Minn.

Our messages can "set the temperature", change the paradigm and affirm the vision, in addition to letting the Gospel ring through loud and clear. Come find out how one congregation has used preaching and worship to move the congregation to a new place. (Note: This is a congregation with both a very traditional, liturgical service, as well as contemporary; and we still primarily use the lectionary.) 

The bible as model of faithful innovation

Cameron B. R. Howard, Assistant Professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary

Biblical literature testifies to a tradition that responds with ingenuity to changing times. Ideas about kingship, for example, shifted in stages from the ancient Israelite monarchy through New Testament proclamations of Jesus as messiah. In this workshop we will trace key themes addressed in multiple texts throughout Scripture, observing how the Bible’s treatment of those themes changes in different historical and political circumstances. We will reflect on ways Scripture demonstrates strategies of faithful innovation that can inform our preaching in a world that continues to change.

Worship Out of the Ordinary: A Case Study

Jodie and Nate Houge, Pastor, Humble Walk Church, St. Paul, MN; musician and songwriter

Adapting ancient patterns of worship into your unique context doesn't mean dumbing it down. It is a miracle that anyone shows up for worship. So, make your worship matter. Hear the story of how an upstart congregation in St. Paul, MN is learning how to do this in fits and starts. Learn ways to identify the needs of the community you serve and listen for what God might be doing there.

Experiencing Scripture through the Narrative Lectionary

Craig Koester, Asher O. and Carrie Nasby Professor of New Testament

The narrative lectionary allows congregations to experience the sweep of the Biblical story in their worship. From September to Christmas the texts move through the Old Testament, from Genesis to the exile and return. From Christmas to Easter, texts take worshipers through the story of Jesus, and on the Sundays leading up to Pentecost they trace the story of the early church. The workshop will show how the narrative approach can enrich preaching and worship, focusing on texts for the coming year.

It's not all about the sermon: preaching and liturgical context

Karoline Lewis, The Alvin N. Rogness Chair of Homiletics

A homilitician once wrote, "Churchgoers attend services, not sermons. They go to worship, not to preaching." Preachers, this is true. How do we preach so our sermons don't sound like unrelated insertions plugged into a larger spoken whole? What do we need to remember to create an integrated worship experience? This workshop will offer theoretical and practical strategies for preaching that listens to and resonates with its liturgical context.

Behold i tell you a mystery: preaching at funerals

Tom Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology; Coordinator of the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology

Though usually brief, funeral sermons are quite complex. They bring together multiple needs: to proclaim the gospel, to commemorate the deceased, to comfort the mournful, and to speak to an often diverse gathering of hearers. The complexity is made all the more urgent when the relationship with the Christian faith has been a troubled one, or absent altogether--either for the deceased, the mourners, or both. In this workshop, we will take a fresh look at the changing cultural and churchly contexts of funerals and at this ancient practice of speaking the gospel on the occasion of death.


living and preaching in the power of the spirit                   


Lois Malcolm, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary

How is the Holy Spirit's power enacted in our living and preaching? How does preaching in the Spirit's power relate to the shape and character of our lives? This workshop addresses these questions by exploring and enacting central biblical texts that depict how the Spirit's power is embodied in our everyday lives and in the communities we serve, even as it radically transforms our lives and communities after the pattern of our crucified and risen Lord. 

Sermon Series: An Evangelical Tool Not just for evangelicals

Mary Pechauer, Executive Pastor, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Minneapolis

Ben Cieslik, Pastor of New Communities, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Minneapolis

For many church-goers the sermon is the only engagement with the Bible for the week.  Why not make the most of that reality? Sermon series build momentum, cultivate curiosity, and make it easier for your congregants to invite a friend.  It doesn’t matter the size or location of your congregation.  Sermon series make a difference for those proclaiming and hearing the Word.  We’ll share the process we’ve been developing at Bethlehem Lutheran Church for over 10 years.

the changing landscape of pastoral ministry

Andrew Root, Olson Baalson Associate Professor of Youth and Family Ministry, Luther Seminary

It has become common for pastors and church leaders to be told "the world is changing." This change is usually based in either technological changes--like a digital landscape--or philosophical changes--like postmodernity. While these perspectives have their place, this presentation, leaning on Jeremy Rifkin, will make a different assertion. It will claim that large changes have happened when new energy regimes take over, like the industrial revolution. These energy regimes lead to new communication systems, which lead in turn to new forms of understanding ourselves. In this presentation will explore these transition, adding to them how ministry and the identity of the pastor has itself been connected to these periods, exploring what new period we find ourselves in and what this means for the practice of ministry. 


Preaching at the Crossroads between the local parish and the global church

Kathryn Schifferdecker, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary

Christianity’s center of gravity is shifting from Europe and North America to the global South. There are now more practicing Christians in Africa than in Europe. Nigeria has more Protestants than Germany. The church is experiencing phenomenal growth in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Such globalization of the body of Christ is evident, too, in North America, where immigrant congregations have sprung up in city and small town alike. How do we preach in a way that honors this global nature of the body of Christ? How do we allow the voices of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world to enter into our worship and proclamation? This workshop and conversation will be informed by the instructor’s own experience of teaching and preaching in Ethiopia for the 2012-2013 academic year.

preaching with a bible in one hand and the internet in the other

Matthew Skinner, Associate Professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary

New, web-based media appear to be accelerating cultural change, but they also provide us tools for coping and keeping pace. Preachers always feel pressure to be “current” and “relevant,” but can this goal be realistic in our time, when on Sunday morning Friday’s headlines already feel like old news? This workshop will explore ways we can put biblical texts into meaningful conversation with current events, to help people experience scripture’s capacity for shaping how they think theologically about their public lives. We will also focus on how our use of Web-based materials, especially “just in time” biblical commentary, interacts with more traditional, enduring resources for our exegesis and sermon preparation.