Imaginative Reading for Creative Preaching

JUNE 22-27, 2014

In June 2014 Calvin Theological Seminary President Emeritus Neal Plantinga is taking his hugely popular and successful seminar, Imaginative Reading for Creative Preaching, once again to beautiful Snow Mountain Ranch in Colorado. Offering this seminar at Snow Mountain will provide participating pastors with not only a wonderful opportunity to attend a deeply enriching seminar but will also allow families to enjoy the spectacular scenery and the family-oriented programs offered at the YMCA of the Rockies facility.


nplanCornelius Plantinga, Jr. is Senior Research Fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. He served as President and Charles W. Colson Professor of Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. The year 2013 will mark the eleventh consecutive year of his leading the seminar Imaginative Reading for Creative Preaching.

seh6Scott Hoezee is Director of the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary. He was a participant the first time Imaginative Reading for Creative Preaching was offered in 2003 and since then has helped to co-lead portions of the seminars. Along with Dr. Plantinga, he has also co-taught an elective version of this seminar for students at Calvin Seminary.

Seminar Description

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 literary masterworks, but also contemporary middle-brow 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.

Seminar Details

The seminar will run from 8:30am-12pm each morning, allowing the participants plenty of sabbatical-like free time to spend with their families in a singularly beautiful portion of God’s creation.

Each pastor admitted into the seminar will receive financial support for travel expenses of up to, but not more than, $400. This could help to cover either airfare for the participant or serve as a mileage reimbursement for up to that amount. Travel costs for family members will not be covered.

Each participant will also stay free of charge at Snow Mountain Ranch, checking in on Sunday, June 22, and checking out on Friday, June 27. Each room can accommodate up six persons (typically two adults and up to four children).

When staying at Snow Mountain, participants and their families will receive three meals a day served at Snow Mountain’s dining facility. Guests will also have use of the Ranch’s facilities, which include an indoor swimming pool, a rock-climbing wall, a miniature golf course, and much more.

About Snow Mountain Ranch

snowMountainLandscapesnowMountainBikesSnow Mountain Ranch is located 80 miles west of Denver and occupies 5,100 acres next to the picturesque Arapahoe National Forest. From this Center you can easily reach the charming areas of Grand Lake and Winter Park, where there is plenty of skiing and shopping. At an elevation of 8,750 feet the views are amazing and the air refreshes mind, body and spirit.Visit the Snow Mountain website for more information.

Application Details

cepLogoSmallThanks to generous underwriting by the Center for Excellence in Preaching, pastors and their families will be able to stay at Snow Mountain Ranch for six days. Lodging, meals, and the use of Snow Mountain’s many recreational facilities are included. Additionally, a modest travel stipend will be offered to each participating pastor to offset air expenses or reimburse for mileage.

  • Who May Apply

    Persons involved in a regular preaching ministry in the church are welcome to apply. Persons who have been in ministry five to fifteen years, and who have young families, are particularly encouraged to apply to take advantage of the family nature of this sabbatical-like week.

  • How to Apply

    The applicant must submit the following:

    • a letter of application that will include all contact information (telephone number, mailing address, email address, etc.)
    • a curriculum vitae or resume
    • a one-page description of his/her vocation and interest in the seminar
    • two references (please include telephone number and email address)
    • a list of family members (including ages of children) who would accompany the participant if accepted into the program.

    Please send all items electronically as email attachments in Word format to email hidden; JavaScript is required with “Imaginative Reading for Creative Preaching” in the subject line.

  • The application deadline is November 1, 2013

    Participants will be selected after the application deadline. Incomplete and/or late applications will not be considered. Applicants will be notified of their status in early January 2014.

This event is sponsored by:

Center for Excellence in Preaching LogoCenter for Excellence in Preaching