USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

Compelling Preaching Conference

Compelling Preaching Conference

Compelling Preaching Conference

Join us for the Compelling Preaching Initiative Conference, a one-day exploration of transformative preaching in today’s ever-changing social and cultural landscape.

Dive into insightful discussions and inspiring keynotes designed to enhance your preaching skills and connect you with a community of forward-thinking faith leaders. This event is your opportunity to revitalize your approach to preaching and make a lasting impact.

Event Details

Thursday, February 15, 2024
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location near USC (to be provided to registrants)

Red text box on top of stain glass motif reads "Compelling Preaching Conference" with additional information listed on this webpage

Conference Agenda

TimeActivityLocation
9:00amCheck-in and breakfastWhitehall
9:30amWelcome to Compelling Preaching ConferenceWhitehall
10:00amGet to know your neighborWhitehall
11:00amPreaching Beyond the WallsWhitehall
11:30amLUNCH BREAKWhitehall
12:35pmWelcome and History of Holman United Methodist ChurchSanctuary
12:40pmKeynote: Tell It Slant by Rev. Dr. Amy ButlerSanctuary
1:40pmBREAKSanctuary
1:45pmThe Art of PreachingSanctuary
2:45pmBREAKSanctuary
2:50pmThe Craft of PreachingSanctuary
3:50pmI used to think… Now I think” Activity (Click here to view responses)Sanctuary
4:00pmConference adjourns

Welcome and Introduction

About CRCC

The USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture advances the understanding of religion and society, and supports faith and community leaders in becoming full partners in the work of positive social change. Read more…

Compelling Preaching Initiative

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. Read more…

CRCC Books & Resources

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Keynote: Tell It Slant

Rev. Dr. Amy Butler

Community Church of Honolulu, O‘ahu, Hawai’i

Pastor Amy Butler is a visionary leader passionate about building loving communities. She serves as Designated Pastor at the Community Church of Honolulu, Hawai’i, following her historic role as the first woman Senior Minister at The Riverside Church in New York City. With degrees from Baylor University, the International Baptist Theological Seminary, and Wesley Theological Seminary, Amy’s career began by directing a homeless shelter in New Orleans and later as Associate Pastor at St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church. She’s also served as Senior Minister at Calvary Baptist Church in D.C.’s Chinatown. Amy believes in the impact of faith communities on the world.

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The Art of Preaching

Rev. Brandon Harris

Associate Dean for Religious & Spiritual Life, University of Southern California

Rev. Brandon Harris is USC’s Associate Dean for Religious & Spiritual Life, overseeing 90+ religious organizations and the Trojan Church. Formerly a Protestant Chaplain at Georgetown University, he’s passionate about interfaith engagement and racial justice. He’s ordained at Ebenezer Baptist Church and’s the youngest Senior Minister at Peoples Congregational Church. A Lincoln University graduate, he holds a Master of Divinity from Emory University and is pursuing a doctorate in Social Justice. Actively involved in various boards and committees, he’s a proud New Yorker who enjoys fall, water, coffee, exercise, reading, and city exploration.

Shaykh Fouad Elgohari

The Majlis

Shaykh Fouad Elgohari is a seasoned scholar with over fifteen years of study in classical Islamic sciences, specializing in systematic theology (kalam). Born in Cairo, Egypt, and raised in the U.S.A, Fouad holds advanced traditional licenses (ijazat khassah) to teach various subjects, including credal theology, Sunni legal theory, Maliki Legal Rulings, Arabic language, tasawwuf, Hadith, and the Qur’anic sciences. He further honed his expertise in systematic theology and legal theory. In 2018, he earned an M.A. in Islamic Studies from the Claremont School of Theology, focusing on post-classical Islamic intellectual history, emphasizing the rational sciences (kalam, usul, logic, philosophy). Fouad is a dedicated faculty member at Sabeel Community’s Dar al-Rayyan, a Traditional Global Seminary program. He also serves as a weekly instructor at The Majlis, a Southern California initiative devoted to offering traditional learning in the American context while fostering an intentional community centered on love and service.

Rabbi Susan Goldberg

Nefesh

Rabbi Susan Goldberg is a dynamic leader and spiritual guide known for her infectious enthusiasm and commitment to empathy, love, and justice. As the founder of Nefesh, a vibrant spiritual community in LA’s east side, she revitalizes the local Jewish community and fosters multicultural connections. With a background in dance and choreography, she brings creativity and wisdom to her leadership, inspiring care for both inner and outer worlds. Ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion California, Rabbi Susan has a rich history of cross-cultural dialogue and social justice work, including involvement with organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and New Ground. She also served as a Rabbi consultant for the groundbreaking TV series Transparent. Above all, she finds joy in dancing with her children in her living room.

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The Craft of Preaching

Rev. Dr. Sonja Dawson

New Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church

Reverend Dr. Sonja R. Dawson, a distinguished leader from Compton, California, currently serves as Senior Pastor at New Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. She is also the visionary founder of Sisters in Ministry Incorporated, uniting women in ministry with a focus on sisterhood, excellence, and service. Dr. Dawson’s extensive ministry experience, guided by her faith and the Biblical mandate of 2 Corinthians 4:7, includes roles as a preacher, teacher, and speaker, nationally and internationally. She holds degrees in Psychology, Public Administration, and Law. Dr. Dawson is a member of the American Bar Association and the State Bar of California, known for initiating the innovative City of Los Angeles Prostitution Diversion program. She actively engages in social and civic organizations and is committed to ministry and lifelong learning.

Dr. Dawson’s passion for justice and transformation extends to her involvement in communities, women’s ministries, cross-denominational churches, and international outreach efforts. She attributes her achievements to God and is proud to serve alongside her family in advancing His divine purpose.

Mike Kinman

All Saints Church, Pasadena

Mike Kinman is an Episcopal priest, husband, father, and the Tenth Rector of All Saints Church, Pasadena. He is passionate about promoting equity and justice, dismantling systemic oppression, and supporting diverse communities in their journey with Christ. With a background in journalism and divinity, Mike has also been involved in various nonprofit and campus ministry initiatives. He is an advocate for reconciliation and a catalyst for the common good. He believes God gives the church the ministry of reconciliation, which requires us to meet Christ in those among us who are most marginalized, oppressed and targeted and allow their voices and concerns the center place in community life. God calls Christian communities to support one another in growing in life-changing relationships with Christ and dreams church buildings to be sacred public space where diverse communities gather to dismantle structures of “us vs. them” and to build the Beloved Community of equity and justice for all God’s children and to be a catalyst for the common good.

Rev. Dr. Amy Butler

Community Church of Honolulu, O‘ahu, Hawai’i

Pastor Amy Butler is a visionary leader passionate about building loving communities. She serves as Designated Pastor at the Community Church of Honolulu, Hawai’i, following her historic role as the first woman Senior Minister at The Riverside Church in New York City. With degrees from Baylor University, the International Baptist Theological Seminary, and Wesley Theological Seminary, Amy’s career began by directing a homeless shelter in New Orleans and later as Associate Pastor at St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church. She’s also served as Senior Minister at Calvary Baptist Church in D.C.’s Chinatown. Amy believes in the impact of faith communities on the world.

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