How can congregations better nurture preaching that invites all persons into the biblical story of God’s redemptive love for the world?
With this question in mind, the project gathered a complementary mix of 11 mainline congregations with deep passions for biblical preaching who:
- Believe that the biblical witness offers a narrative of God and the world that is engaging and compelling;
- Suspect that the biblical story currently has little hold on the imaginations of its people (including those who regularly come to church!);
- Believe that preaching should model and teach the art of biblical interpretation, not just perform it;
- Recognize Sunday morning worship as an essential time in which to learn and practice the skills essential to living a Christian life;
- Are open to experimenting with different forms of preaching in order to present the biblical story in a way that engages both heart and imagination;
- Affirm that the preaching and worship that draws us together on Sunday morning serve the lives of faith Christians lead throughout the week.
Together, they have reviewed background readings on the topic, developed and conducted shared surveys and interviews in their contexts, interpreted the findings, identified their chief biblical preaching challenges and imagined programmatic experiments to constructively engage them.
Phase 1: identify a complementary mix of eleven mainline congregations with deep commitments to transforming biblical preaching
Phase 2: engage in shared background readings on the topic while developing and conducting a congregational survey and interviews
Phase 3: interpret results of survey and interviews, identify strategic biblical preaching challenges, and imagine programmatic experiments to constructively engage them (December 2011 – February 2012)
Phase 4: learning partners conduct programmatic experiments and Luther Seminary teams make congregational visits to observe them in context (March 2012 – June 2012)
Phase 5: through various media, research teams summarize stories and strategies related to the exemplary cultivation and practice of biblical preachin in mainline congregations