Upcoming Event Details
The Preachers' Oasis: Developing Gifts, Refining Skills

July 22-26, 2013

Calvin College: DeVos Communication Center
Grand Rapids, MI

All preachers benefit from having some time away from the pressures of sermon preparation and delivery. The Preachers' Oasis workshop is designed to give pastors just such a break while at the same time providing an opportunity to reflect on the preaching task with an eye toward getting better at what we are already good at. We want to deepen the gifts God has given to us, refining the skills by which we employ those gifts for proclamation and ministry.


  • Randall Bytwerk, professor of Communication Arts and Sciences, Calvin College
  • Scott Hoezee, director of the Center for Excellence in Preaching, Calvin Theological Seminary
  • Meg Jenista, pastor of The Christian Reformed Church of Washington, D.C.
  • John Rottman, professor of Preaching, Calvin Theological Seminary

Workshop Description (show | hide)

This workshop will be limited to fifteen participants, each of whom must be a preaching pastor in a congregation. The aim of the week will be to ponder what is working, and what needs work, in the preaching life of each participating pastor. In addition to discussions with the entire group, each workshop participant will receive individual attention so that specific questions can be raised and particular issues dealt with.

In the course of the week's morning plenary sessions, participants will be challenged to consider a variety of different aspects related to the preaching craft. The Oasis presenters will lead discussions on sermon forms, sermon language, and on nurturing variety in the types of sermons preached week to week. Other discussions will include how to nurture creative thinking and on how to organize a database of sermon ideas and illustrations. Aspects of sermon rhetoric and delivery will also be discussed. The week will culminate with workshopping an actual task as participants put into practice all that was covered throughout the week.

To help make this workshop as practical as possible, each participant will be asked to submit a videotape or DVD of two sermons: the March 31, 2013, Easter sermon and one other recent sermon of the preacher's choice.

Additionally, the church council or board of each participant will be asked to fill out a survey that will help participants to focus their energies on areas in which they would like to improve. The sermon tapes and the church survey will help the workshop leaders to tailor individualized suggestions for each pastor who attends. Each participant will have a 1:1 session with one of the three Oasis leaders to discuss specifics related to his/her video sermons as well as the feedback received from that pastor's congregation.

Cost (show | hide)

Thanks to generous underwriting by the Center for Excellence in Preaching, the Calvin Workshops in Communication, and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, the cost for coming to this Oasis event will be very modest. Participants will be asked to pay $150 for the week and will be given a stipend to put toward transportation costs. Lodging will be provided at the Prince Conference Center on the Calvin College campus. Meals will include breakfast and lunch each day, Monday-Friday. Some fun evening activities, including some dinners at area restaurants, are being planned for a couple of the evenings as well.

Hear from Past Participants (show | hide)

"This week has been one of the best gifts I've received in a long time. Thank you all for the wonderful food, fellowship, and most of all - teaching! I haven't been excited about preaching, either the process or the event, for a very long time - and that is probably the best gift of all. I will use the ideas and comments from the one-on-one for a long time to come."

"Absolutely loved the Oasis! Thank you so much for providing the time, space and place to be refreshed and renewed. It was so good to laugh with others in the ministry and to have our minds stimulated by the excellent material presented. Thanks again!!"

To Apply (show | hide)

  • Submit a Curriculum Vitae listing your education, work history, current position, etc.
  • Submit a short essay of approximately 500 words indicating what interests you about this workshop, what areas of your own preaching you wish to talk about, and why you think a workshop like this will benefit you.
  • Submit contact information (address, phone, fax, email) so that we can get back in touch with you.

All applications must be submitted not later than March 1, 2013.

Applicants will be notified of their status by March 15.

Please mail all application materials to:
Rev. Scott Hoezee
Calvin Theological Seminary
3233 Burton Street SE
Grand Rapids MI 49546-4387

Alternatively, materials may be emailed as an attachment to:

Enjoying Lunch
Members of the 2006 Oasis Enjoy Lunch

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