Courageous Preachers

By: William D. Shiell

Bold preaching arises from the character of the preacher. As I’ve studied the book of Acts, listened to pastors, and reflected on the state of churches, I’ve discovered that more pastors want the kind of courage that the early church exhibited. They don’t want to be abrasive and loud. They want the kind of boldness exhibited in the early church. For instance, when the book of Acts first introduces the early followers of the Way to us, Peter and John preach the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:13). The first believers respond by praying for this boldness. But notice what comes from this transformation—not more authority, coercive power, or arrogance. Once they receive the Holy Spirit’s power, they willingly surrender their control and possessions. They submit to the apostles and share generously with others. This kind of boldness spreads a gospel (without hindrance).

Through a partnership with the Lilly Foundation, over the past seven years, Northern has been training a new kind of preacher—one who is a courageous, bold, and faithful proclaimer of God’s word. We have learned that by convening groups of preachers together, their confidence grows, their character deepens, and the gospel spreads. This partnership has trained men and women across racial and ethnic boundaries to reconcile communities and strengthen sermons.

We are pleased now to release this new material called “Courageous Preaching” through the on-demand platform Seminary Now. Instead of focusing on the style of a particular sermon or the methods of preaching in different contexts, we are choosing to address the same virtues that the Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles modeled. First, we are shaping the character of the preacher. Second, we focus on ten gifts that preachers can cultivate for these times. Third, we have designed the workbook for peer learning groups and personal study.

Dr. Marshall Hatch, Pastor of New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. Tracey Bianchi, teaching pastor at Christ Church of Oak Brook, and I are the teachers of this course. We are indebted to those who came before us to make this series possible, including Northern’s emeritus Professor of Preaching, Dr. Michael Quicke, and the late Dr. Charles Koller, pioneer of Northern’s signature class on “preaching without notes.”

We hope this new course on Seminary Now will help you lead the church and engage the world. I invite you to access it and preach God’s word boldly today.





September 14, 2022

William D. Shiell

President, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Preaching

ABOUT William

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