July 31, 2023 - August 4, 2023 | 8:45 am - 12:00 pm

[Past Event] Seminar | Imaginative Reading for Creative Preaching

Calvin Theological Seminary
3233 Burton Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Seminar details:

People often assume that preachers who read widely are on the prowl for illustrations. These people are right. Preachers are hunter-gatherers; they search not only the world’s fiction, crime journalism, and biography, hoping to dig up fresh and angular illustrations. But preachers are not merely in search of useful stories. Reading deepens the preacher’s knowledge of human cries of the heart – for example that we reap what we sow. In fact, the preacher’s reading deepens preaching because it deepens the preacher. The preacher who presumes to speak for God, or even for the church, has to struggle every day to understand human character, divine grace, and the surprises that gather at their intersection. To do so faithfully, most preachers will need the kind of vicarious experience that arises from immersion in well-chosen literature. Accordingly, this seminar will explore some of the sources, methods, and homiletical impact of imaginative reading for creative preaching.

Continuing education credits are available.


  • Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Calvin Theological Seminary President Emeritus, Senior Research Fellow, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
  • Scott Hoezee, Calvin Theological Seminary Professor of Preaching, Director of the Center for Excellence in Preaching
  • Also, Susan Felch will lead a morning session on poetry. Gary Schmidt will lead a morning session on children’s literature.

Funds provided by the Center for Excellence in Preaching (CEP) at Calvin Theological Seminary.

Daily Schedule:

On each of the five days, our seminar begins promptly at 8:45am with Morning Prayers and concludes at noon with lunch. Afternoons are free. Hotel registration begins at 3:00pm on Sunday, July 30.

Application information:

Persons involved full-time in church ministries and those who prepare such persons for ministry are welcome to apply. Thanks to generous underwriting by the CEP, the cost of coming to this week-long event will be very modest. The church of each participant accepted into the seminar will be asked to pay a $150 registration fee for its pastor, who will also receive a stipend from the CEP to help offset travel costs. Lodging will be provided for no additional cost at the Prince Conference Center on the Calvin University campus, beginning Sunday, July 30. Meals will include breakfast and lunch each day, Monday-Friday. Books and articles that will be used for the seminar will be sent to the participants ahead of time and early enough that they will have ample opportunity to study these materials prior to the start of the seminar.

If you have any questions about the seminar, please contact us: preaching@calvinseminary.edu.


The application deadline to apply for this seminar was March 15, 2023. Seminar participants will be notified by April 3, 2023.

The physical address of Calvin Seminary where the seminar will be held:
Calvin Theological Seminary
3233 Burton Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546