Story Magazine - First Quarter, 2007

Center for Biblical Preaching Offers Wealth of Resources

by Melanie Boulay Becker

This new center focuses on equipping preachers to be faithful and effective in their proclamation ministry. "While there are surely many excellent preachers in the church today, so many people feel that the overall quality of preaching can and should be improved. That is why we started the center," said David Lose, Academic Dean and Marbury E. Anderson Chair in Biblical Preaching.

According to Lose, leaders at Luther Seminary take the center's motto,"Dedicated to the renewal of the church's proclamation," as a mandate. "We seek to offer today's preachers excellent resources to equip them to preach lively, faithful, and compelling biblical sermons that bring the Scriptures alive and connect to daily life," said Lose. "Good preaching can change lives, and we're out to help preachers do just that." Grounded in solid Lutheran theology about the nature of the proclaimed word, the center will gather the finest preachers and scholars throughout the church to provide exceptional biblical and preaching resources for contemporary reachers, according to Lose. These resources will come in a variety of forms--from audio, digital, and Web-based resources to an increasing number of workshops and courses.

"In the Company of Preachers"

In April, the center launched a subscription-based, audio resource entitled "In the Company of Preachers" that offers preachers both "compelling instruction and creative inspiration," according to Lose. Each volume in the series offers 15-20 minutes of instruction on a particular preaching aspect and features four to five carefully selected sermons that illustrate what has been discussed. All of the sermons featured on the CDs have been preached during Luther Seminary's daily worship in the chapel. "In the Company of Preachers" is available in CD or downloadable format. "We made it very portable so that pastors can take it with them while making hospital calls, listen to it while jogging, or play it from their computers," said Lose.

"In the Company of Preachers" will be useful as both a preaching tool and a source of spiritual refreshment. "This quarterly series is a superb idea that meets a real need in preachers' lives," said Paul Scott Wilson, Professor of Homiletics, Emmanuel College in the University of Toronto. "Not only do listeners get exposed to new teachings that will help them to sharpen their homiletical skills, they get to hear excellent preaching that mines a rich collection of recorded sermons from Luther Seminary. I know of no resource like it." Tim Westermeyer, pastor at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Plymouth, Minn., also spoke positively about the series: "Part of what a resource like this has the power to do, I think, is to validate, celebrate, and encourage those of us who are in the business of preaching."

While the introductory issue of "In the Company of Preachers" was distributed free of charge to 13,000 contacts on the active ELCA roster, future issues can be purchased at www.luthersem.edu/cbp, where one can also download the introductory edition free of charge. Produced quarterly, future issues will be available via CD or for direct download. Topics to be addressed in the months ahead will include:
*Opening the Sermon--July 2007
*Preaching the Old Testament--October 2007
*Closing the Sermon--January 2008
*Telling the Story--April 2008

Quarterly E-newsletter

The Preacher's E-pistle, a new quarterly e-newsletter, provides a wealth of information to keep readers up-to-date on news from the Center for Biblical Preaching. Content includes: timely articles on biblical preaching, reviews of current books on preaching, information about continuing education resources, updates on the center and more. Interested in receiving the e-newsletter? Sign up at www.luthersem.edu/cbp.

Online Preaching Resource

This coming Advent, the center will unveil www.workingpreacher.com. The center's objective in creating the Web site is to build an engaging and thoughtful site to which pastors can turn for sermon preparation and inspiration. "We are working to create a trusted resource that will gain the respect of the preaching community,"said Lose. Among other things, this free tool will offer preachers dependable scholarship on biblical texts, articles on the art and craft of preaching, interviews with top preachers and teachers, and current commentary on preaching texts.

Support the Center

"Everything about launching the center is exciting," said Lose. "We think it will be an invaluable resource for preachers." The center and all of its resources are supported through the generous and faithful giving of friends of Luther Seminary. To learn more about supporting the center and its efforts, contact John Kilbride in the office of Seminary Relations at jkilbride001@luthersem.edu or at 651-523-1628.