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A Partnership in Effective Proclamation

A Partnership in Effective Proclamation

The Styberg Preaching Institute, with support from Lilly Endowment Inc., has launched A Partnership in Effective Proclamation. This program focuses on developing effective preachers for the church in the twenty-first century. A key component of this program is the formation of Peer Learning Groups for local church pastors under the direction of trained facilitators. Another critical component of this program is focused on the development of skilled teachers of preaching through a pre- or post-doctoral fellowship.

You can learn more about peer learning groups, group facilitators and the doctoral fellowship below.

Peer Learning Groups | Inquire Now!

Peer Learning Groups

A Partnership in Effective Proclamation is a peer support program that encourages pastors to:

  • Gain new perspectives on the challenge of preaching;
  • Discover new resources that will help them in developing sermons;
  • Learn ways to help them to critically reflect on their practice of preaching;
  • Build supportive relationships with colleagues through Peer Learning Groups.

Peer Learning Groups will consist of local church pastors who gather monthly to focus specifically and deliberately on their preaching. Gatherings will be hosted by a pastor/colleague who has been trained as facilitator for the group. The group will determine its specific agenda, but will focus on topics related to helping group members to be effective preachers as they learn ways to analyze their own preaching as well as to listen to the preaching of others and offer feedback that is both affirming and constructive.

The Peer Group Facilitator functions as the coordinator of the monthly peer group meeting. The facilitator is also a pastor who preaches regularly and who has received training in group dynamics and group leadership in order to guide the monthly meetings and help the group to function effectively. Facilitators will also be trained in engaging specific topics that are related to effective preaching for each monthly meeting.

Monthly Meetings will be held at a time and location that is convenient to group members. The facilitator will be responsible for the meeting location, and each group will develop the schedule and agenda for their meetings. Each group is encouraged to meet monthly, but is required to meet at least ten (10) times for the year. Each group will develop a unique covenant that defines their commitment to each other and the group as a whole.

The Group Covenant lists the rules and agreements that will govern the functioning of the group and the meetings, especially as it represents members support of each other. In developing this covenant, group members will identify areas of focus that the group will engage during its time together. Persons who wish to be part of a group must complete and submit a peer group application.

The Peer Learning Group program is intended to support preachers to help them become more effective at the task of preaching good news to the people, applicants must be pastors or clergy who are regularly engaged in preaching in the church. To inquire  about groups meeting near you please click the "Inquire Now" button below. If you wish to apply to participate in a group, please click the "Apply Now" button below. Please direct any other inquiries to

Click Here to Inquire      Click Here to Apply Now

Peer Learning Group Facilitators

Peer Learning Group Facilitators

Peer group facilitators will be selected by the Garrett-Evangelical program faculty based on criteria associated with their preaching and leadership skills and their availability and willingness to commit to the requirements of the facilitator role. They will have expressed their interesting in participating in the peer learning groups through the application process. Facilitators will be trained in group dynamics and group leadership as well as other areas specific to preaching. They will be required to commit to the program for three years and will receive a stipend each year for the three years of their tenure.

Along with their leadership of the group and the learning group meetings, facilitators must maintain a personal connection with all participants and will be responsible for recruiting additional persons as needed to maintain the group at the required level. Diversity is a key criterion of the peer learning groups, and facilitators must be committed to both facilitating intercultural engagement and maintaining a diverse learning experience.

There will be a major training event for new facilitators each year, each two and a half days long. Facilitators, who have been trained previously, will be invited to participate on a limited basis in the subsequent training sessions in order to share what they have learned and provide helpful hints to facilitate the success of the new groups. During each year, facilitators will meet as a group once by video conference under the Garrett-Evangelical project leadership as a check-in of group performance and to address any issues that may have arisen in order to ensure the proper functioning of their role as facilitators.

Facilitator requirements are: proven skill in preaching, experience in group dynamics, motivational skills, administrative skill and experience, and commitment to fostering diversity. An advanced degree in preaching or church leadership is desirable. You can apply online using the button below or you can download the application form and mail it in. Peer Learning Group Facilitators MUST be available to attend the mandatory training session in October at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Questions? Contact syberg@garrett.eduFacilitator applications are due by September 30, 2019.

Click Here to Download Reference Form      Click Here to Apply Now

Current Peer Learning Group Locations and Facilitators

New groups to begin meeting in January 2020.

Our current Peer Learning Group locations include:

  • Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area
  • Gary, Indiana
  • White Plains, New York
  • Norfolk, Virginia
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Oconomowoc, Wisconsin


Gessel Berry, Jr. | Evanston, Illinois

Reverend Dr. Gessel Berry, Jr. is an ordained United Methodist minister celebrating his forty-sixth year in ministry. He has pastored churches in Illinois and Michigan, and he holds a Masters of Divinity degree from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. In addition, he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Chicago Theological Seminary.

He has served as adjunct faculty for both of these seminaries and as Vice President and faculty member of North Shore Theological Seminary since 1997. He has also served on the board of the United Methodist Foundation and continues to serve on the boards of ChildServ and the Bethany Methodist Corporation.


Melissa Earley | Arlington Heights, Illinois

Melissa Earley is an ordained United Methodist Pastor, serving churches since 1998, and she is currently the pastor of Northbrook United Methodist. A graduate of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Melissa also holds a degree from Kenyon College.

Preaching is the most important task and greatest challenge in Melissa’s ministry. In wrestling with the text, finding herself and her church in the story of scripture she reconnects with God and gains insight in how to lead her congregation.  Preaching is the riskiest and most vulnerable of pastoral disciplines. Even without sharing a single personal story we put our wrestling with God on display.


Hannah Kardon | Chicago, Illinois

Hannah Kardon is Pastor of the Wicker Park campus of Urban Village Church. She is ordained in the United Methodist Church, and received her Master's in Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, and her bachelor's from the University of Chicago.

She has previously served at an Outdoor Church with mostly homeless members, as chaplain at a hospital, and a family-oriented Filipino-American church on the Northwest Side. She believes deeply in the power of contextually rooted, biblically faithful, creatively structured preaching to enable communities to move forward together in Christ. 



Virgil Woods | Gary, Indiana

Virgil Woods has been an African Methodist Episcopal pastor fifteen years and he currently serves as the Senior Pastor of First AME Church in Gary, Indiana. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Business from Upper Iowa University. He also earned a Master of Divinity Degree and a Doctorate of Ministry from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Virgil’s passion for preaching started as a child and has never stopped growing. His preaching style is informative, inspiring, entertaining and is often described as "keeping it real.” His unique blend of humor and spiritual insight makes his delivery captivating and his sermons memorable. Virgil’s greatest joy is knowing that someone's life has been improved as a result of God's work through him.


New York

Denise Pickett | White Plains, New York

Rev. Denise Pickett is the Pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church, White Plains, New York.  She is a graduate of Shaw University and received a Master’s of Special Education from The College of Staten Island.  She also holds a Master’s of Divinity from Drew Theological School. She is a second year student in The Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS) Doctor of Ministry Program through Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Denise believes that her passion for preaching God’s Word has transforming power. The Word of God should be dynamic, thought provoking, and expand the hearers understanding of the Bible.  More importantly she holds fast to the fact that proclaiming the word should encourage persons in their everyday journey and teach them how to, “Walk by Faith and Not by Sight”.  Denise serves as the Vice President for The Ministerial Fellowship Council of White Plains, New York and Vicinity. 


Dwight RiddickDwight Riddick | Newport News, Virginia

Dr. Dwight Riddick is the pastor of Gethsemane Baptist Mission, Newport News, Virginia. He graduated with from Norfolk State University and received the the Masters of Divinity Degree from Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University. Dwight also earned a Doctor of Ministry from Regent University. Currently, Dr. Riddick has completed his second year of residency in the Association of Chicago Theological School (ACTS) Doctor of Ministry in Preaching Program where he is enrolled through Chicago Theological Seminary.

Dwight has served in numerous positions including President of the Baptist General Convention of Virginia and member of the Board of Trustees for Virginia Union University, and he currently serves as the 40th President of the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference. Dr. Riddick has also founded F.L.A.M.E., Inc., an organization that equips and nurtures pastors.



Daniel FahsDaniel J. Fahs | Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

Daniel Fahs is an ordained United Methodist Pastor and serves as pastor at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Daniel is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, and received a Masters of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.  He also holds a Masters of Health Service Administration from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee.

After years of carefully avoiding ordained ministry, Daniel finally yielded to God’s leading and left a successful career in Minneapolis and moved to Chicago to attend seminary. He is passionate about seeing lives transformed in response to a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Leading worship and preaching are, both his greatest joy and challenge. Daniel believes that the future of the church is in hands of lay people; they are our future. He strives to share the great-good news of God’s transformative love for all in preaching and worship. 


Mark FowlerMark A. Fowler | Madison, Wisconsin

Mark A. Fowler is the Lead Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Madison, WI. The church is a leader in the capital city. It has chosen to be “downtown for good” and exercise a dynamic public ministry as well as nurture a vibrant congregation. Fowler is the former Leiffer Associate Professor of Congregational Leadership and Executive Director of the Institute for Transformative Leaders and Communities at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He also taught United Methodist studies and preaching. The ongoing focus of Dr. Fowler’s work is to bring together the resources of a formative seminary with living communities of faith to develop and empower visionary, vibrant and missional leaders for the church. Fowler holds the Wilbur C. Zieglar Preaching Award and his sermons are featured in a collection from other winners of the award in Unfinished Business. Among journal articles and contributions to other publications, he has authored two editions of Mentoring Into Vocation for the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist church.

Fowler has led workshops and lectured in South Africa, South Korea, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the United Kingdom. He has been part of the original development team for the Plus program in partnership with the Kellogg School of Management as well as the foundational Vocational Formation and Church Leadership program for Master’s students at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Dr. Fowler serves as a resource to the church, a widely travelled preacher and speaker.

Continuing Education Units

Continuing Education Units

Members of the peer learning groups will receive a certificate for three continuing education units at the end of the first year if they have maintained their membership through their participation in the group for the full year. Please direct any inquiries to

2018-2019 Styberg Teaching Fellow

The Styberg Preaching Institute at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the selection of PhD candidate, Rev. Jaewoong Jung, as the 2018-2019 Styberg Teaching Fellow. Sponsored by the Lilly Endowment Inc., this fellowship is awarded to a promising doctoral or post-doctorate candidate with a focus in homiletics or a cognate field. Jung will officially begin on July 1, 2018.

As a teaching fellow, Jung will gain hands-on classroom experience through participation in teaching both introductory and advanced preaching courses under the supervision of and in collaboration with the homiletics faculty at Garrett-Evangelical and will have the opportunity to develop skills in course planning, and syllabus design as well as in providing instruction in a multicultural context. “It is an unexpected grace for me to have this great opportunity to gain valuable classroom experience under the direction of Rev. Dr. Gennifer Brooks. I look forward to growing as a teacher and scholar of preaching through this precious experience,” said Jung.

A PhD candidate in liturgical studies with emphasis in homiletics at Garrett-Evangelical, Jung’s research focuses on the sacramentality of preaching, especially in the context of Korean revival preaching. Since July 2017 Jung has served as the Styberg Preaching Institute coordinator at Garrett-Evangelical. He is a member of the Korean Society of Homiletics, the Korean Society of Rhetoric, and the Academy of Homiletics. This fall, he will present two papers at the 2018 Annual Meeting of American Academy of Religion.

Jung was born in South Korea and studied at Seoul Theological University where he earned a bachelor and Master of Divinity degrees. He holds a Master of theology in New Testament studies from Yonsei University and a Master of Theology in homiletics from Candler School of Theology, Emory University. An ordained pastor in full connection with Korean Evangelical Holiness Church, Jung served as a military chaplain in the Republic of Korea Army for seven years, and at a local church in Seoul, South Korea, as well as Korean-American churches in the United States.

Rev. Dr. Gennifer B. Brooks, the Ernest and Bernice Styberg professor of preaching and director of the Styberg Preaching Institute at Garrett-Evangelical, says of Jung: “Jaewoong is the type of student that gladdens a professor’s heart. He is committed to developing his scholarship and diligent in producing work at the highest level. He has already shown this through his assignments as a Teaching Assistant and I look forward to participating in his development as a teacher of homiletics.”

The Styberg Teaching Fellow is one component of the Styberg Preaching Institute's latest initiative, A Partnership in Effective Proclamation, which has been funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc. This initiative also includes peer learning groups for active pastors under the direction of trained facilitators and preaching support for seminarians and new pastors.

Styberg Preaching Institute Teaching Preaching Fellowship

Teaching Fellowship

The Styberg Preaching Institute at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is pleased to announce an opening for a full-time Teaching Fellowship in the area of homiletics. The fellowship will provide financial support to a promising Ph.D. candidate or post-doctorate Ph.D. with an emphasis in homiletics. The recipient of the Teaching Fellowship will have studied and researched in the area of homiletics including at least one doctoral-level course that is specific to the requirements for teaching preaching. Additionally, the recipient will have served as teaching assistant for a practical preaching course and must demonstrate fluency and excellence in English Language competency.

The fellowship recipient will gain hands-on classroom experience by co-teaching the introductory preaching course under the supervision of and in collaboration with the homiletics faculty at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and will have the opportunity to develop skills in teaching, course planning, and syllabus design. The fellowship provides an opportunity for the candidate to develop his or her unique pedagogical style and refine his or her teaching skills in a challenging and supportive environment. 

Additional responsibilities of the Teaching Fellow will include facilitating an online peer support group for students in the Advanced Preaching class and will be expected to demonstrate competence in using technology in preaching and to teach the same. The Teaching Fellow will participate in the wider work of the Partnership for Effective Proclamation program. The Teaching Fellow will also be required to participate in the Academy of Homiletics, in part by presenting a paper at the academy meeting during the fellowship year. The fellowship may be renewed once.

The Styberg Preaching Institute is fully ecumenical. The institute does not unlawfully discriminate and aims to employ persons of various backgrounds and experiences to help constitute a diverse community. In addition to strong academic qualifications and excellence in teaching, the institute highly values experience in working across cultural boundaries and other significant differences. 

Application materials any inquiries shall be directed to Dr. Gennifer Brooks, the Styberg Preaching Institute Director, at

  • A CV including degrees, teaching experience, and publications.
  • Two letters of recommendation (one from your advisor)
  • An application essay of not more than 1,000 words the candidate's preparation for and dedication to teaching preaching, and immediate and long-range research interests.
  • Academic transcripts (Masters and Ph.D. only)

Applications are due by June 1, 2022. The Fellowship will be awarded June 15, 2022, and the Fellowship is for the period of July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.




Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. Lilly Endowment’s religion grant-making is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes. More information can be found at


Founded in 2005, the Styberg Preaching Institute has established an intentional and persistent agenda of addressing the need for relevant, effective preaching in the church. Its motto, The Seminary and the Church: Partners in Proclamation, speaks to the mandate of the Seminary to equip pastors for transformative ministry and recognizes preaching as a critical aspect of that mission. Through programs and activities, the institute engages persons of diverse preaching traditions and cultures, with the aim of improving the preaching skills of established preachers as well as preachers in training at the Seminary.