During fall 2022, Walla Walla University offered a re-designed biblical preaching course led by Alex Bryan, chief mission officer at Adventist Health and former Walla Walla University Church pastor. The purpose of the class was to facilitate meaningful interactions with experts in the craft and learn about features of great preaching sometimes not found in traditional textbooks.
The structure of the course was broken down into two parts. Students read and watched sermons, after which they had the opportunity to ask questions and engage with the creators of those sermons in a live setting. Students were able to learn the structure and thought behind preaching. The other half of the class took the form of a preaching laboratory. Students learned to deliver a thesis, read their audience and perfect their public speaking.
A number of high-level pastors and healthcare executives shared their expertise with students, allowing the class to learn in unique ways. Students were able to learn from Karl Haffner, Andreas Beccai, Joyce Newmyer, Bill Knott, Sam Leonor, David Jamieson and Dan Linrud.
“Why not interact with professionals who are plying the trade of preaching, of ministry, interacting with some of their material and engaging them live in the classroom setting?” said Bryan. The class was designed to prepare students to excel in public speaking, writing, research and manuscripting, strengthening their candidacy for a wide variety of career paths.
Both students and contributors were excited to move a class in this unique direction. Bryan noticed students seemed really energized and excited to be asking thought-provoking questions. There was a lot of curiosity. “The class is an opportunity for students to explore their calling, demonstrate their abilities and build connections with potential employers,” said Bryan. According to Bryan, students from any discipline benefit from the strong interdisciplinary skills that form the core of the class.