September 26 - October 2, 2017 The Gray Center Canton, MS
Do you have stories of your life and ministry waiting to be told? Do you write as a part of your spiritual practice or as a creative outlet? Would you value some time and space dedicated to the craft of putting pen to paper in a disciplined way?
If so, consider applying for “Mapping the Geography of Grace: A Writing Workshop for Clergy” with Robert Benson. The dates for 2017 are September 26-October 2. The workshop takes place at Gray Center near Canton, MS and is open to clergy of all denominations with various levels of experience. Robert guides the week from his extensive experience as a published author and popular retreat leader; his teaching is both inspirational and practical. The Center for Ministry is pleased to partner with the Collegeville Institute to offer this workshop in Mississippi for the fourth year at no cost to participants other than their transportation. The program is limited to 12 people. Find full details and access to the application here, or download our brochure for more information.
Partners in Preaching is a monthly seminar-style coaching group for pastors and preachers to grow in the art and craft of preaching.
Lead partner: The Rev. Dr. Sam Persons Parkes Sam is a 25-year pulpit veteran, an ordained elder in the Alabama - West Florida Conference, and a member of the United Methodist Preaching Consultation Team, developing a national strategic plan for strengthening preaching in the United Methodist Church. Sam earned his Th.D. from the University of Toronto, studying closely with Paul Scott Wilson, one of the leading homileticians in North America.
Partners will sharpen their abilities to: • Analyze the content and delivery of their own sermons and those of others using the deep grammar of trouble and grace. • Develop sermons with a greater sense of unity and simplicity. • Develop methods for selecting texts for preaching. • Understand the difference between teaching and proclamation and why genres of both are essential for good preaching. • Orally interpret both scripture and sermon to move meaning forward. • Discern multiple ways of linking biblical texts and contemporary situations. • Form partnerships with other preachers in the group for support, prayer, and encouragement. • Offer positive, caring, and frank response to peers.
Praise for Partners in Preaching:
“PIP has helped my preaching in several ways. I have a better appreciation for the planning process and best use of my time. The book used for our class - The Four Pages of the Sermon - was an excellent organizational guide for both content and structure of an effective sermon. Another benefit that can't be measured, but that is vital to any pastor's success in the pulpit, is the sense of camaraderie and accountability that develops as relationships are formed.” - a female licensed local pastor in her first full-time appointment.
“The PIP has helped me grow stronger as preacher through the class lectures and feedback from the instructor and colleagues. I look forward to each session as I learn new things that have helped me grow in competency and ability. I now have more confidence and more tools to help me prepare a sermon and proclaim the Word to God’s people every Sunday.” – a male, recent seminary graduate, currently applying for commissioning
PIP has given me some great new tools to enhance my preaching skills. The support and feedback from leader and participants has been extremely helpful and provided information that rarely is forthcoming from congregation members. The weekly preaching covenant group has been phenomenal.” – female local pastor nearing retirement
“The video review of our sermons has been especially helpful for critical improvement of my entire preaching craft: content and delivery. This exercise has also has also helped me examine the ways in which my content and delivery influence one another. Sam's review of our sermons is especially insightful. He observes closely our verbal language and body language to ensure that our communication of the gospel is clear, embodied, and without distraction. The study of Paul Scott Wilson's 4 page method has deeply influenced the way I prepare sermons. I truly believe my preaching has improved as a result of PIP. I am grateful!” – male elder, early in career
“PIP's emphasis on Paul Scott Wilson's Four Pages of the Sermon has helped me to preach sermons that are more God-centered, less ‘ought’ oriented, more hopeful, and more realistic about the human condition. I've had comments from congregants about these very issues, tangible fruit of the benefit of this approach. One of these people was a visitor who was intentionally church shopping with his family but has become a part of our church because he just had to keep hearing sermons that took the Gospel seriously while still being hopeful and uplifting. Additionally, I have really appreciated the sense of community and connection I've felt through the collegial learning model Sam has cultivated. Our group has helped each other grow while developing great relationships and sustaining friendships." – a male ordained elder with almost two decades of service.
"In both practice and theory, the most helpful component of PiP for me has been the notion of preparation. Having an accountability group each week for sermon preparation strikes me as incredibly practical and Wesleyan. Additionally, the theological emphasis on good preparation, as outlined by Wilson, has directly impacted my weekly preaching. Namely, ensuring (or seeking to ensure) that I am preaching a gospel of grace. Without adequate preparation, grace is often overlooked, lost, or altogether ignored in the text." - female ordained elder, early in career
In my capacity as Director of Preaching Ministries for the Leadership Ministries unit of Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church, a primary responsibility of my role is to support and develop programs for improving preaching across the connection. Over the past four years I have attended and evaluated continuing education efforts developed by conferences, seminaries, districts, and individuals. I can say without hesitation that the Partners in Preaching program in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, developed and facilitated by Rev. Dr. Sam Persons Parkes, is among the finest efforts at improving preaching in tangible ways that I have observed. I was able to attend most sessions of the PIP program with the Montgomery group that met in 2016-17. I found the material presented to be extremely practical and helpful. When combined with the peer mentoring program, Dr. Parkes has created a program that is both effective and reproducible for other conferences. Every person involved in the work of preaching will benefit from this program, whether he or she has been preaching for thirty years, thirty months, or thirty days! I highly recommend this program for any individual who wishes to improve on the craft of preaching! -Rev. Dr. Dawn Chesser, Director of Preaching Ministries, The General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church
CEU's: 3 Units The Partners in Preaching cohort will meet in Jackson, MS on the third Thursday of every month, excluding December and March, from 9:30am to 2:30pm. Lunch will be provided. Cost: $805 (A $300 deposit is required. A payment schedule for the remainder of the cost may be developed with the Center for Ministry.)
The Business Advantage Program for Professionals is a certificate course designed to give working professionals an exciting and comprehensive exposure to the most essential business topics. Participants will explore key topics in Accounting, Economics, Finance, Marketing, Supply Chain, Management, and Strategy.
VisitFaith and Wisdom to research additional continuing education opportunities by topic and location. Mississippi clergy: check with the Center for Ministry to be sure your event meets criteria for CEU's before registering!
Mailing Address: Box 150041, Millsaps College 1701 N. State Street Jackson, MS 39210