USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

Compelling Preaching Cohort Application

Compelling Preaching Cohort Application

Compelling Preaching Cohort Application

The Compelling Preaching Initiative at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture seeks to create space for faith leaders to think about their preaching in an ever-changing social and cultural landscape. 

The initiative will include a diverse cohort of Christian preachers in Southern California. The program for this cohort will focus on the advanced praxis on the art and craft of preaching, as well as training on how preachers can bring their message beyond the four walls of their congregations through media and OpEd writing. Discussions and programs allow participants to link theology to important issues that affect the lives of church members and their communities. 

Each cohort member will have the opportunity to establish a working group of preachers interested in supporting one another.

Apply to become part of the Compelling Preaching Cohort

Application Deadline: Friday, March 15, 2024

Cohort Requirements

Applicants to the Compelling Preaching cohort commit to fulfilling the program requirements:

  • Participate in 10 sessions from May 2024 to May 2025.
  • Develop sermons inspired by cohort discussions on social issues.
  • Create a public sermon (OpEd, social media, blog post).

Cohort members will have the opportunity to propose and organize a working group of preachers (a budget of up to $5,000 per working group).

Cohort Timeline

  • Application Deadline: Friday, March 15, 2024
  • Cohort Notification: Monday, April 8, 2024
  • Cohort Kickoff Retreat: Monday, May 20, 2024 
  • Cohort will meet 3rd Monday of the month, depending on speaker availability, through May 2025 (skipping August and December)
  • Working Group Proposals: due September 2024
  • Working Group Convening: Wednesday, November 20, 2024
  • Quarterly reports on working groups will be due through November 2025

Working Groups

In CRCC’s conversations with faith leaders, they have voiced a desire for support from their fellow preachers to help them craft sermons that are relevant in today’s ever-changing world. Each cohort member will have the opportunity to bring what they learn through the Compelling Preaching Cohort to their peers and colleagues through supportive working groups of preachers.

The working groups can be organized by location, denomination or theme (such as women, youth, podcasting, etc.) and should include 8 or more preachers. Each working group will meet separately from the main cohort, as fits the needs of the working group members, and will also have opportunities to join with the main cohort for certain activities.

Through the course of the program, cohort members will have the opportunity to submit a proposal for a working group, including a budget of up to $5,000. The budget can cover expenses such as materials, trainings, subscriptions, speaker honorariums, location rentals, food and payment for the cohort member’s efforts in organizing the working group. CRCC will support working groups through November 2025.

We anticipate that the working groups will evolve and support their members beyond the course of the Compelling Preaching Initiative.


The application asks for information about you and your experience. You will be asked to upload your CV/resume, a photo and a short description of yourself that could be posted online (150 words max).

It also includes three short essay responses (500 words max):

  • Why are you interested in participating in the Compelling Preaching Initiative cohort?
  • What do you see as the future of preaching? How has your preaching shifted since the pandemic?
  • Describe the network of preachers that you would bring to the Compelling Preaching Initiative as your working group. How would you share your learnings with this network?

We recommend typing your answers in a separate document in order to properly review and edit your answers. You can then transfer the answers by copying and pasting them into the form.

Apply to the Compelling Preaching Cohort

Application Deadline: Friday, March 15, 2024

NOTE: Any application that is incomplete or SUBMITTED after the deadline will not be processed. Following submission of the application, CRCC staff may conduct interviews with select applicants in order to gain additional information and greater clarity on a candidate’s eligibility. The interviews are not an indication of whether candidates have made it to the next round. Interviews are arranged to ensure that the selection committee has all the information needed to make an accurate assessment of the applicant.