• When I was looking at a possible job change you talked with me, and supported me even as both of us were unsure of the path I was pursuing. I’m not sure I would have survived it without your sensitive support. . . . Kathie
  • That first August morning when I shared my shameful secret, you offered warmth and acceptance. I left feeling like I had made a friend from whom I would not need to hide. . . . Jordan
  • Thank you for helping us through the most difficult period of our marriage. Because you helped me me understand the nature of this type of mental illness I have been able to help others. . . . Sharon
  • If anyone ever needed a Spiritual Guide to help sustain her fast dwindling faith, it was I. I thank God that I found that in you. . . . Comfort
  • Your faith is contagious! . . . Verna
  • I not only feel closer to God because of you, but with your help I’ve overcome so much fear, even the fear of speaking in front of people. . . . Cherry
  • You have led me into a deeper awareness of God’s love for me and through me. . . . Joyce
  • You have an inspirational way of keeping the road cleared. . . . Erik
  • A crazy year and you’ve been with me every step of the way. You’ve been my rock and I can’t thank you enough. . . . Rose
  • Thank you for being you . . . and always being there for me. . . . Amie

Preaching Coach Services

Preaching Coach Services

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          Preaching Coach Services                    |         Introduction to Sermon Form Class


What I Do and Why

Why are there so many boring preacher jokes? It’s a travesty.

Think about it. Preachers are about the business of forming the theological mind and heart of a congregation. When we do that, the people in our congregation come to a deeper knowledge of God and we then see their lives transformed and sustained by the creative love of God. It’s that important.

Are you a good preacher? Have you seen evidence that the lives of the people in your congregation are being transformed and sustained by the love of God? You have your answer.

We all want to be good preachers; truth be told, I think most of us can be. Really, most of us can preach in a way that forms the theological mind and heart of a congregation. Experience has taught me that there are usually two things standing in our way:

  1. First, (and this is almost universal), we need to attend to the form of our sermons so that what we say doesn’t, as Jana Childers says, “Dribble off the front of the pulpit and ooze on down the center aisle.”
  2. Second, we are so busy that we don’t take the time to open up the space within and go deep enough to find something important to say. We preach what’s on the surface rather than reaching to answer the question lying beneath. Think about it. You know it’s true.

I can help you with both of those, and I’d like the opportunity to do so. It matters to me that the pulpit is revered as a place to discover the love of God that animates the universe.

I’m glad to hold coaching conversations either in person or on Skype. For more information, please contact sam@gracecomesfirst.net

skype

How I Work

form1Step One: How We Start: It begins with a free consultation. This is your chance to see how I work. Generally I ask you to send me 2 sermons – text, audio, video, whatever you have. When we first meet then I’ll go over the sermons and talk to you about how I think I could help your preaching improve. At that point we can discuss a whole variety of options—schedule, length of program, whether you want congregational input in the process, and of course the core areas we’ll want to work on—nearly always Sermon Form and Developing the Message. But if you have other thoughts, I’m glad to listen.

When We Meet: We meet once weekly, usually on Thursday or Friday for an hour. We meet on Skype or Zoom—however you are most comfortable. It is best if I can have a written manuscript of a sermon on Thursday before you preach, but I’m a realist; that may not happen. It is certainly adequate to have a good outline of what you want to do.

What We Do: Each week we will look back on the sermon before, (it’s often good to have a volunteer video the sermon on their phone), and look ahead to the one coming. We look at what you’re doing with your second goal, (usually Developing a Message), as well.

Length of Program: I believe it takes 8 to 12 weeks to make significant progress. But there is no need to commit to anything that ambitious—particularly at first. That is why I offer options to study for four weeks, or even just one week at a time. The weeks need not be consecutive.

form2Full Disclosure: If you do a little research you’ll find out that I’m more than a little liberal. But I have no desire to convince you I’m right. This work is not about content; it is about communication. I’m just post-liberal enough to think that all of the perspectives along the theological spectrum have value in a variety of contexts, so I’m happy to work with people with whom I happen to disagree.

Brief Biography

Rev. Sam Alexander has been a pastor in the Presbyterian Church, USA, for more than 20 years. Sam has served congregations in Maryland and the San Francisco Bay area. He is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, B.A., and Union Seminary in Virginia, M.Div. He serves as Adjunct Instructor in Homiletics (Preaching) at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Prior to his work in the Church Sam engraved stock certificate plates, foreign currency, and food stamps at the U.S. Banknote Company in Philadelphia, PA. He lives with his wife, Barbara, in their recently emptied nest in Fairfax, California.

 

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