Community members listening to a lecture at the Rethinking Confirmation event



Words that do not Fall to the Ground

Sam Bardwell, Local Equity actor and Luther Seminary graduate

Have you ever felt like you're just not hearing the Word in worship, like it has fallen to the ground just at your feet, right before it could reach your ears and work its way into your heart?  Or have you had the sinking feeling that, despite your best intentions, the energy of your words keep dropping?  Walk through 1 Samuel 3 as a vocational story that lands for all of us as readers of Scripture, people charged with getting the Word heard.  Sam will use engaging exercises inspired by the call story of Samuel to help participants get a sense for the heft of the their text and how they can get it to land, without letting its words fall unheeded to the ground.


The Music of Faith is Fun

Michael Bridges and George Baum, Lost and Found duo

Through music we communicate the good news with an intergenerational and interdenominational audience; create an intentional experience where a group of strangers gathers for a concert becomes a community of friends; and use scriptures in music in a way that encourages further exploration. Join a conversation with the Lost and Found duo to explore what they’ve seen and experienced throughout the church over 29 years of visiting local congregations, camps, schools, universities, seminaries and homes.


The Art of Preaching through our Weakness

Mike Carson, Lead Pastor, St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi, Minn.

In the economy of God's Spirit we are not one-size-fits-all preachers; each of us has limitations and gifts. In this workshop we will explore our limitations and give preachers permission to be creative with their gifts in the pulpit.

Preaching the End

Michael Chan, Assistant Professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary

This workshop explores the challenges and possibilities of preaching apocalyptic texts like Daniel and Revelation. The aim is that participants will leave with a sense of familiarity with the genre of "apocalypse," courage to preach on the material and the conviction that the church cannot afford to be deprived of these remarkable texts. 

So you Think you can Preach! Try it without a Manuscript!

Babette Chatman, Collaborative Partner, Augsburg College Campus Ministry, co-chair of the Mission Table on the Minneapolis Area Synod Council

In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown offers a guide to how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead. Being vulnerable can also transform your preaching. As preacher, do you dream of tossing your manuscript and actively engaging with your congregation as you daringly proclaim the good news? Are you willing to show up, be vulnerable and let your listeners see you as their equal? Explore with Babette Chatman, TEEM, 2016, as she shares her spiritual practices and transformative approach to preaching without a manuscript.

The Craft of Preaching: Walking into Vulnerability and Daring

Sarah Ciavarri, Daring Way™ Facilitator-Consultant, Chaplain

Preaching requires us to put ourselves out there. In preaching, those listening get a glimpse into our theology, our thoughts, our stories, maybe even our struggles. Holding the tension between oversharing or being armored off is vulnerable and requires a clear sense of our values. If you have heard about bestselling author Brené Brown’s work on vulnerability, courage and authenticity or want to know more about how her ground-breaking 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? How can we stand up to preach again when we’ve taken a fall? This workshop explores our own values as guiding lights when preaching, the 1, 2, 3’s of vulnerability and how certain behaviors and patterns may actually be distancing us from authenticity in preaching. 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!

Preaching the Psalms Creatively

Rolf Jacobson, Professor of Old Testament and the Alvin N. Rogness Chair of Scripture, Theology and Ministry, Luther Seminary

Rolf Jacobson will lead worship participants in a series of exegetical and homiletical exercises to explore creative preaching of the psalms.  This workshop will not be an introduction to the psalms or to preaching the psalms.  Rather, this workshop will assume participants have basic fluency in the psalms and will build from that base to work at creative proclamation of the word.


Sketchy Preaching: Drawing, Doodles and Other Ways to Get From "Ahem" to "Amen"

Emmy Kegler, Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Northeast Minneapolis

Ever since the first "what does this mean?", preachers and teachers have been scrawling notes, numbering outlines and editing manuscripts.  But for some, visual preparation—using sketches, doodles, colors, sticky notes and other handwritten and tactile tools— can be a key component into reduced anxiety, opened imagination and deep exegesis.  In this workshop you'll have a hands-on, expectation-free environment to try out different visual methods for preparing your sermon.  Rev. Emmy Kegler of Grace Lutheran Northeast shares her techniques for sketchy preparation and preaching.

Becoming a Queer Preacher

Emmy Kegler, Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Northeast Minneapolis and Javen Swanson, Associate Pastor, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minn.

An increasing number of denominations welcome and celebrate the ministry of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. How do the unique experiences of LGBTQ ministers open new possibilities for preaching? In this workshop, Pastors Emmy Kegler and Javen Swanson will explore the ways their LGBTQ identities influence their preaching and help participants discover how these insights can transform their own practices.

Preaching to Remember

Karoline Lewis, Associate Professor of Biblical Preaching and The Marbury E. Anderson Chair of Biblical Preaching, Luther Seminary

As preachers, we know that what we say matters. But sometimes we forget that how we say it can matter
even more. Preaching the Word of God is both content and e ect. This workshop will focus on writing for
hearing—what key rhetorical techniques can you use that might actually help your listeners remember
your sermon beyond Sunday morning? Come away with the skills to make your preaching really make a
lasting difference.

Why the "F" Word— Feminism—Belongs in the Pulpit

Amy Marga, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary

Preaching feminist issues need not be a divisive act. In fact, preaching on issues that matter to women and using female imagery of God is an act of congregational care. This workshop will look at some recent developments in feminist theology and female imagery of God. We will spend time discussing your experiences preaching on issues that matter to women. Then we will workshop mini-homilies on women's issues. Come to the workshop with some Scriptural passages in mind that you might want to try as the basis for feminist preaching. Men are welcome because feminism is for men, too.

What Do Biblical Sermons Look (and Sound and Feel) Like?

Matthew Skinner, Professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary

Preaching should, among other things, regularly usher congregations into rich encounters with the biblical witnesses. Careful and insightful biblical interpretation is not optional for preachers who want biblical texts to vivify their sermons and engage their hearers. At the same time, preachers have choices; there is no single approach to interpreting scripture and constructing sermons. This workshop will consider the various ways that a sermon can be a biblical sermon. We will explore how biblical imagery, rhetoric, narration, argumentation, characters, values and claims can serve as more than points of departure or general topics for one’s preaching, but as the touchstone, substance and pervasive mood of a sermon. Discussion will reflect on specific biblical passages and actual homiletical examples. The goals for the workshop will be to encourage participants in identifying strengths in their use of the Bible in their current preaching and sermon-writing practices, and also to prompt preachers to consider how they can pursue greater depth in their exegetical and homiletical labors.

Preaching (on race) While White

Deborah Stehlin, Director for Evangelical Mission, Minneapolis Area Synod

You’re driving to church on Sunday morning, turn on the radio and hear about yet another race-based tragedy. What will you preach? How will you find the right words? What authority do you have as a white person to speak about race? The Rev. Deb Stehlin has learned quite a bit about this as a member and frequent guest preacher at Redeemer Lutheran Church in North Minneapolis as the Holy Spirit and current events have compelled her to preach to white suburban folk about race. Joe Davis, a seminary student from Redeemer, will participate as well, and help keep the conversation real.

Bring a Word of Hope: Preaching After Disaster, Tragedy and Crisis

Tim Westermeyer, Senior Pastor, St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church, Plymouth, Minn.

Preachers are, almost by definition, called to offer a word of hope. In the midst of the pain and confusion caused by disasters, tragedies and crises of all kinds; however, this call is not only more pressing, but often more complicated. For example, is it always necessary to answer the question “why?” Or, do some events compel us to offer not only a word of comfort, but also a word of challenge? If so, how do we balance those competing demands? Or, when it comes to events that are potentially divisive, are we always required to choose a side? Join Pastor Tim Westermeyer, Senior Pastor of St. Philip the Deacon in Plymouth, Minn., for an interactive conversation about what it means to bring a word of hope during troubled times.


Registration Fees

  • Full registration (Oct. 2-4)
    $245 per person
  • Single day registration
    $125 per day
  • Master Class option
    $125 additional
  • Lay Preacher track
    $125 total
    Lay preacher discount includes master class with local preacher; available to non-rostered leaders with preaching responsibilities.

Download a printable registration form.