The Bridge for Early Career Preachers provides resources, continuing education, and a supportive community for those who are moving from aspiring to active preaching ministries.

The Bridge for Early Career Preachers seeks to support those who are in their first seven years of congregational ministry and preaching at least one third of the opportunities in a calendar year.

As such, we aspire to serve those who are in a transitional stage, moving from “aspiring” to “active” preachers, setting the stage for long-term growth in preaching ministry. We recognize that those graduating from seminaries and other institutions for theological education graduate with few courses devoted to preaching, and that the week-to-week work of preaching requires significant labor that is disproportionate to that education.

Seminaries cannot teach everything graduating students need to know about preaching, and those entering preaching ministries have few support structures for their specific preaching needs amidst increasing ministry demands. We seek to “bridge” that gap with continuing education, fostering supportive networks, encouragement, and resources.

The Bridge for Early Career Preachers is funded by a generous grant from The Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching Initiative.

We are privileged to work with talented partners who support two emphases of our cohort work.
Peer Coaching:
Rev. Mandy England Cole
Digital Engagement in Preaching:
Learn More

Programs & Calendar


Each year, the Bridge will form a 24-person cohort of those who are in their first seven years of congregational ministry and who are preaching at least a third of the opportunities in their ministry setting. Cohorts will engage in the following:

  • Quarterly Workshops: Quarterly, half-day online (3) and in-person (1) workshops will address these main themes as they relate to preaching: significant social issues, diverse communities, digital technologies, and supportive relationships.
  • Peer Coaching Groups and Individual Coaching: Cohort members will benefit from peer coaching groups and individual coaching sessions facilitated by a certified homiletic peer coach.
  • Digital Technology Consultation: Cohort members will participate in digital media consultations individualized for their ministry settings.
  • Bridge Retreats: Annual Bridge retreats will bring cohort members to Richmond, VA for continuing education, community, worship, and rest.

Public Programming

  • Webinars: Public webinars will be offered four times annually, with panelists who will speak to issues of concern for early career preachers. In 2024 Webinar topics will be Preaching and Identity (Feb 20); Preaching and Mental Health (Apr 9); Preaching and Ecology (Sept 10); and, Preaching and Performance (Nov 12).
  • The Bridge for Early Career Preachers’ Preachercast: A short-format monthly podcast reflecting on early career preaching will feature experienced practitioners, scholars, and cohort members.

2024 Cohort Calendar

November 15
Applications due
December 8
Cohort decision
January 10
Welcome/Orientation (2-hour Zoom)
January 29
Online Cohort Workshop #1 (Peer coaching)
March 20
Online Cohort Workshop #2 (Digital technology - Theotechnics)
April 23-26
Retreat - Richmond, VA
September 9
Online Cohort Workshop #3 (Preaching to Diverse Listeners)
Dec. 4
Final Gathering 1-hour; Cohort Feedback/Eval Collection
Peer Coaching Sessions will be scheduled within small groups according to availability Individual or group consultations with TheoTechnics will be scheduled at participants’ discretion


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