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FEB. 8 AND 9

Mike Graves leads MTSO’s 2016
Schooler Institute on Preaching

The Most Important Word in Preaching: Story or Exposition?


For centuries, preachers were told that exposition of the biblical text was the most important and sacred task of preaching, helping listeners understand the scriptures more fully. In recent decades, the emphasis has shifted more toward storytelling, especially narrative styles of preaching that promise to move listeners, viewing sermons more as events than dull lectures. What’s a preacher to do? How does one decide?

Together we will wrestle with the dilemma: What is the most important word in contemporary preaching, story or exposition?

MTSO’s Schooler Institute on Preaching will be led by Mike Graves, the William K. McElvaney Professor of Preaching and Worship at Saint Paul School of Theology, a United Methodist seminary in Kansas City.

The institute will be held Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 8 and 9. Thanks to the generosity of the Schooler Family Foundation, it is offered to the public without cost. MTSO is offering one CEU credit for a $25 administrative processing fee. Advance registration is required.

Register online now.

Mike Graves says, “I’m on the planet to teach preaching and to preach.” He believes preaching transforms the world, both by calling people to be change agents and speaking truth to power. In his teaching, he challenges preachers to consider a larger worldview than the congregations they serve and emphasizes social holiness, not just personal holiness.

Ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Graves has served on the Saint Paul faculty since 2007 and preaches frequently in the Kansas City area. He holds a B.S. in education from the University of Houston and a Master of Divinity and Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.


Also contributing to the Schooler Institute will be Valerie Bridgeman, associate professor of homiletics and Hebrew Bible at MTSO. She is the founding president of WomanPreach!, an organization bringing preachers to full prophetic voice. She has taught in some of the nation’s premier seminaries and divinity schools.

Ordained in the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), Bridgeman holds a doctorate from Baylor University, a Master of Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Trinity University.


Monday, Feb. 8

9:30 a.m.: Continental breakfast
10 a.m.: Opening chapel
11 a.m.: Lecture
Noon: Lunch
1 p.m.: Q&A and workshop
3 p.m.: Dismissal

Tuesday, Feb. 9

9:30 a.m.: Continental breakfast
10 a.m.: Workshop
11 a.m.: Dialogue and Q&A, with Mike Graves and Valerie Bridgeman
Noon: Lunch
1 p.m.: Closing chapel
2 p.m.: Dismissal

History of the Schooler Institute

The Schooler Institute on Preaching was established in 1989 through a grant from the Schooler Family Foundation. Seward Schooler was a founding and lifelong trustee of Methodist Theological School in Ohio, and his son David served on the board for 12 years.

Recognizing the importance of effective preaching in the life of the church, and knowing that Methodist Theological School in Ohio was founded “To Preach the Word,” the Schooler family asked for the creation of a special enrichment program that would focus primarily on the role of pulpit ministry. The resulting institute has brought renowned preachers and worship leaders to campus to share their expertise and insights with an audience that includes clergy and seminary students.

Registration, cost and optional CEUs

There is no charge for Schooler Institute presentations or for lunches, but advance registration is required.

One continuing education unit credit is available for a $25 administrative processing fee, payable by check at the event. Methodist Theological School in Ohio will process individual CEU certificates following receipt of payment and completed evaluation forms.

Register online now.


Methodist Theological School in Ohio is pleased to provide Monday and Tuesday lunches at no charge to registered participants. Participants are responsible for their own meals Monday evening. Here are Yelp reviews of restaurants near the MTSO campus.

Lodging options

Many hotels are available within a short drive of the MTSO campus. Here are reviews of Delaware hotels on TripAdvisor.


All Schooler Institute on Preaching events are held on the campus of Methodist Theological School in Ohio, 3081 Columbus Pike in Delaware, Ohio. Here is a Google map. From Columbus, it’s easily reached by traveling 10 miles north of I-270 on U.S Route 23. Parking is free.