Peer Group Options
Preaching Peer Groups
PCPE sponsors preaching peer groups throughout the Southwestern U.S. and beyond.
Peer groups consist of 6-12 pastors from various denominations that meet periodically to hone their preaching skills. Each group has a local convener, a pastor with gifts for preaching and small group leadership, and a preaching consultant, a preaching professor with expertise in the topic that is the group’s focus. The consultant conducts several online webinars with the group. The reading plan includes at least one work by the consultant. Participants view 2 sermons per session by group members and the session includes time for constructive feedback.
Features of PCPE Peer Groups
Responsive to Local Contexts/needs with regard to topics/formats/locations
Rather than imposing curricula on preachers, we seek to find out prospective members’ needs and “stretch goals.”
We work with church groups and leaders to shape topics that meet the needs of preachers in their specific denominational and cultural contexts.
Options for group formats include:
Zoom webinars that meet for 4-6 sessions, usually 9:30-noon.
Combination of zoom and in-person sessions.
Several full-day, in-person sessions which might include an overnight retreat session.
The number of sessions can vary from 4 to 12.
Reasonable Preparation Expectations
These groups are not seminary courses with mile-long reading lists. The readings are brief and on topic.
Close Attention to Evaluation
Participants and Church bodies that sponsor groups will receive specific details of how preachers have improved as a result of involvement in the peer group process. We welcome feedback on how we can continually improve the process.
Variety of Topics to Choose From
Groups can cover single topics or be broader in their focus.
Some of the groups we have launched include but are not limited to the following topics:
New Pastors’ Homiletical Toolbox
This group is driven by the questions and needs of participants around issues of the preacher’s identity, delivery, sermon preparation, and crafting. What wisdom can leaders and participants share for preachers just starting out?
Mid-Career Pastors Homiletical Retread
Focusing on habits that keep our passion for preaching kindled for the long haul, this group is built around the theme of keeping in touch: with God, our people, our text, and the good news we have to share.
Short Story Sandbox: What Preachers Can Learn from Short Story Writers
Focusing on the creative use of imagery, plot, character, and detail, this group reads 2 short stories a month for 4-6 months and guides participants in creating brief, imaginative pieces they might use in sermons.
Finding Your Pastoral/Prophetic Voice
How can we be pastoral and, at the same time, appropriately challenging? This group explores how the preacher’s ethos (character), pathos (emotional connection), and logos (logical clarity) can work together in preaching that is both sensitive and challenging.
Preaching in Scenes and Stories
Given today’s widespread lack of biblical knowledge and ever shortening attention spans, how can we preach sermons that teach while engaging listener interest? Painting scenes and inviting people into them is a crucial and highly effective way of sharing the redemptive story of our faith. This group analyzes how to craft vivid, inviting sermons that can gain and maintain listener interest from start to finish.
African American Preaching Traditions
Drawing on the work of prominent black preachers and scholars, this group looks at the rich heritage of African American Preaching Traditions and how preachers of all ethnicities can benefit from its expertise in the use of evocative language, narrative preaching and celebratory sermon forms.
Creative Sermon Design
How do preachers keep from getting into a rut, using the same format week in and week out? This group offers practice in sequencing our sermons in engaging, fresh ways, sermons that have “moves” not just points!
Other topics include:
- Finding your preaching voice
- Spiritual Disciplines for Preaching
- Planning/Sermon/Worship Series for Various Seasons of the Church Year
- Delivery/Embodiment/Performance in Preaching: Effective Use of Face, Voice, and Body to convey the preachers’ “Real Presence.”