Is good preaching worth the effort? Should it be encouraged?

It is, and it should.

But, it’s something moderate type Baptists haven’t highlighted much in recent years. While rightfully concerned about who should be able to stand in the pulpit, we’ve shown less interest in what they say when they get there.

Hoping to bring more attention to the craft of preaching, an ad hoc steering committee of North Carolina Baptist pastors, scholars, and denominational leaders has planned an “Elevating Preaching” conference to coincide with Friday afternoon breakout sessions of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina (CBFNC) annual gathering, to be held March 20 at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville.

Esteemed pulpiteer and author Fred Craddock, who is scheduled to preach during the CBFNC meeting, highlights the program. He will engage participants in a period of dialogue following a line-up of four North Carolina preachers who will hold forth during the afternoon sessions.

Speakers for the event will be Ken Massey, pastor of First Baptist Church in Greensboro; Wanda Kidd, Campus Ministry Consultant with CBFNC; Tony Cartledge, Associate Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School; and William Turner, Associate Professor of the Practice of Homiletics at Duke Divinity School.

The theme for the conference will be “Is there any word from the Lord?”

In conjunction with the conference, the committee also plans to publish a book of sermons with samples of good preaching from North Carolina ministers. Some sermons will be selected from an open call for manuscripts in the areas of evangelistic, pastoral, or doctrinal sermons. A team of four accomplished preachers will judge the sermons and decide which ones to include in the book, to be called Elevating Preaching 2009.

Pastors, students, church staff, chaplains, or preachers of any other stripe are welcome to submit sermons by emailing them to Don Gordon at He will remove identifying information and send the manuscripts on to the selection committee.

The same team will solicit manuscripts from other North Carolina preachers, with the goal of including 20-22 sermons in the book. For more information on submitting manuscripts or the conference itself, go to

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