USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

Compelling Preaching Cohort Program

Compelling Preaching Cohort Program

Compelling Preaching Cohort Program

This page is for cohort members of the Compelling Preaching Project.

Download a PDF of cohort members with bios

Welcome to the Compelling Preaching Cohort!

The Compelling Preaching program will have 10 sessions from May 2024 to May 2025, generally the third Monday of the month. We will send out calendar invites and email reminders via Mailchimp, our email newsletter platform.

We expect your attendance at all 10 sessions, though we understand that life circumstances arise. Please email if you cannot attend a session. Missing more than two sessions will jeopardize your participation in the cohort and opportunity to lead a working group. 

Program Dates

Compelling Preaching Cohort Retreat

Monday, May 20, 2024
10 am – 5 pm
University of Southern California
Please see email for exact location and parking directions.

At our retreat, you will:

  • Connect with your fellow cohort members 
  • Explore how you lead
  • Discuss your ideas for working groups (proposal to form working groups will be due in September)

How Then Shall We Live: Artificial Intelligence and Humanity

Monday, July 15, 2024
5:00 – 6:30 pm – Dinner and Conversation
7:00 – 8:30 pm – Panel

First Lutheran Venice
815 Venice Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
(Google Map)
Parking available on the street or here.

Enjoy a beach day and then join us for dinner and a conversation about on Artificial Intelligence — the cohort’s #2 issue of interest. 

You will have a chance to discuss the future of ministry and technology with each other, CRCC affiliate Ken Chitwood (who is a faith leader, journalist and academic) and the speakers over dinner. Ken will then lead a public conversation about how AI affects the way we live together.

This is the final session of a three-part series that Ken is hosting as scholar-in-residence at First Lutheran Venice. You are welcome, but not required, to attend the first two sessions (Wednesday, May 22 – Climate Change; and Wednesday, June 12 – Polarization).

Find out more at:

Breaking Barriers: Addressing Racism in America through Preaching

Monday, September 16, 2024
10 am – 1 pm (lunch included)
University of Southern California
Please see email for exact location and parking directions.

A panel of speakers representing different racial groups will present research about how race affects both societal structures and individuals’ lives within these structures. This will be an opportunity to discuss how faith leaders can address racism in their congregations and society.

Compelling Preaching Office Hours

Monday, October 21, 2024 (daytime)
Zoom/In-person at CRCC

We are reserving October as an open time to help each other work through challenges and share new insights.

Compelling Preaching Working Group Kick-Off

Wednesday, November 20, 2024 (all day)
University of Southern California

For this full-day conference, you will invite members of your working groups to gather together. We will have the opportunity to learn more about preaching on controversial issues and speaking across divides. 

2025 sessions 

More information to come (will include media, oped and social media trainings). Save the dates:

  • Monday, January 27, 2025
  • Monday, February 24, 2025
  • Monday, March 17, 2025
  • Monday, April 28, 2025
  • Monday, May 19, 2025

Additional Opportunities from CRCC

CRCC leads multiple programs for faith leaders. We invite you to participate in events that will benefit you and your communities. 

Economic Empowerment Series

Economics was the #1 issue of interest to Compelling Preaching cohort applicants. Through these events, you will learn how to lead conversations and PREACH about faith and finances in your congregations. You also can share the webinars with your communities so that all can benefit. 

You can get resources, sign up for each event and share program information at

Protect Your Finances: How To Avoid How to Avoid Fraud and Predatory Practices

A panel of experts will tell you how to avoid becoming a victim of financial fraud and predatory practices – and what to do if you have become a victim.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024 
9 am – Breakfast
10 am PDT – Program

RSVP to attend in-person

Register via Zoom

Harnessing the Faith Community’s Assets for Social Impact

This webinar will share creative and imaginative ways to harness the power of a congregation’s assets to make a greater social impact and address critical community issues like housing and homelessness.

Wednesday, August 7, 2024

10 am PDT

Register via Zoom

Thriving Congregations, Thriving Leaders: 

CRCC is presenting a leadership series for congregational leaders to think about their own leadership style, the state of their organizations and the needs of their communities. Each event will be hosted at Grace Long Beach. 

  • Monday, June 24, 2024 – What Does It Mean to Thrive in 2024?
  • Monday, July 29, 2024 – The Jazz of Leadership
  • Monday, September 23, 2024 – Organizational Leadership
  • Monday, October 28, 2024 – Assessing Your Community

How Then Shall We Live? 

“How Then Shall We Live?” is a series of conversations that examines critical issues shaping how humanity lives together today: the environment, polarization and artificial intelligence. Experts will share their perspectives on the path forward for society. These discussions will prompt participants to consider their own lives in the light of climate change, divisiveness and technological development. 

Our host Ken Chitwood is the Scholar-in-Residence at First Lutheran Venice and an affiliated scholar with the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture.

First Lutheran Venice
815 Venice Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
(Google Map)

When the Earth is on Fire

Wednesday, May 22, 2024 – 7 pm

Bekah Estrada of California Interfaith Power & Light shares how we can care for the environment while adapting to a hotter world.

When Nobody Gets Along 

Wednesday, June 12, 2024 – 7 pm

Drawing on his research across the globe, scholar, journalist and theologian Ken Chitwood shares tools to help communities attend to contentious issues and build peace.

*When AI Takes Over  – Compelling Preaching Session

Monday, July 12, 2024 – 7 pm (public event)

Join a conversation about what it means to be human in an age of rapidly transforming technologies.

More info: