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The Faithful Preaching Project is a new initiative, funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., designed to help preachers instill deeper faith in their listeners and empower them to live out their faith more fully in worship and in the community. Offerings include two simultaneous peer-learning cohorts as well as multiple opportunities for both preachers and congregants to develop their skills and abilities for faith-sharing in worship.

Announcing our first Preaching Workshop!

Workshop Title: "Preacher and Artist: Using Actor Training Methodology for Embodied Preaching" 

Facilitator: Rev. Dr. Jaclyn P. Williams, Fuller Seminary

Date: Saturday, November 2, 2024

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (Lunch break from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.)


Wrapped in humbled flesh, preachers are bodied vessels who miraculously proclaim, “Thus saith the Lord.” How can embodied practices expand the holistic spiritual practice of preaching preparation and proclamation? How can these practices form the preacher? This session will introduce activities based on actor training methodology that put theology and theories of embodied preaching on their feet. Participants are invited to explore enhancing their biblical, theological, and practical preaching practices with holistic embodiment techniques. 


About the Workshop Facilitator

Rev. Dr. Jaclyn P. Williams is a professor of the practice of preaching and chaplaincy in the School of Mission and Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. With degrees in both theology and theater, Dr. Williams has also worked as a professional actor and performing artist. Her research interests include incarnational and embodied preaching, performing artist training as spiritual practice, and resiliency resources in pastoral and spiritual care practice. Dr. Williams is a chaplain and an ordained American Baptist minister.

Ways to attend the Workshop

#1 - In-Person 

Dr. Williams will be on campus at Austin Seminary for the event, held in Wright Hall. Attendance is free and lunch will be provided. Please note, the in-person capacity is limited to 100 people.

Click here to register for IN-PERSON Workshop

#2 - Online through Zoom

The workshop is available for interactive online attendance through Zoom Webinar. We hope the online experience will mean that even more preachers can benefit from Dr. Williams' guidance.

Click here to register for ONLINE Workshop

How does the Faithful Preaching Project work? 

Our desire to help preachers and church leaders share and inspire faith will be accomplished in many ways. Click below to expand each item and read about the pieces of the Faithful Preaching Project. Thank you for your interest! 


Sharing Stories from the Faithful Preaching Project

The team behind the Faithful Preaching Project: 

Rev. Dr. Carolyn Helsel, Project Director

Dr. Carolyn Helsel, Associate Professor in the Blair Monie Distinguished Chair in Homiletics at Austin Seminary, is in charge of designing and implementing the Faithful Preaching Project. Contact Dr. Helsel at

Brown-haired woman in floral top smiling at camera

Kelley DeCleene,
Program Coordinator

Kelley DeCleene, a fresh face at Austin Seminary, is in charge of operations and communications for the Faithful Preaching Project, ensuring the successful execution of the program’s many offerings. Contact Kelley at

The goal of the Faithful Preaching Project is to identify what makes sermons faith-full and faith-inspiring, then to coach preachers on how they can infuse their own preaching with those qualities. When I taught lay preachers in our Certificate in Ministry program last spring, I was struck by how the students' sermons so powerfully demonstrated and communicated a deep faith. My hope is to help more preachers cultivate a preaching life that fosters faith in listeners. - Rev. Dr. Carolyn Helsel