Purpose: to strengthen and encourage preachers.

We want our sermons to make an eternal difference in the lives of our people.  We want to feel prepared.  We want our congregation to stay engaged.  We want to make every moment count.  But often we feel unprepared and unimaginative.  We want to be confident, full of the Spirit, and zealous for proclaiming God's Word.  Let's renew our passion and skill as preachers together.  


Cohort Leader

Ryan Hall is the senior pastor of Anchor Church Palos, located in the southwest suburbs of Chicago.  He planted the church in 2009.  Under his leadership, Anchor Palos grew to 0 attendees in 2020 (☺Covid) .  He has since convinced about 60% of his people to return to the building.  Ryan and Lauren have been married for 22 years, have 3 children (20, 18 and 16) and have been in ministry for 20 years. 

Email: rhall@anchorpalos.org    Text: 630-212-4641



  • Become a more dynamic communicator. 

  • Become more aware of best practices used by effective communicators.  

  • Become more aware of your personal style of communication. 

  • Become more disciplined in your message planning. 

  • Become more effective in your presentation.

  • Become more encouraged in your preaching.    

  • Become more effective at building evangelism and apologetics into your sermons.  



Cohort meetings: semester cohorts meet online 10 times over a 4 month period (2-3 times per month, 60-90 minutes per session). 

Sermon mapping: we will use a diagnostic graph to map and analyze our sermons and the sermons of great preachers.  This will be our primary source of insight.  

Targeted improvement: we will set self-improvement goals based on our self-assessment.  

Best practices: we will study gifted communicators and learn how they structure their sermons.  

We will study the mechanics of great preachers like Tim Keller, John Piper, Crawford Loritts, John MacArthur, Louie Giglio, Matt Chandler, Tony Evans, Haddon Robinson, John Stott, D.A. Horton, Chuck Swindoll, J.D. Greear, Alistair Begg, D.A. Carson, David Platt and H.B. Charles. 

We will spend time learning how evangelists and apologists arrange their presentations.  We will study the mechanics of Billy Graham, Greg Laurie and Lee Strobel.  

We will also look at the structure of the book of James as a model for dynamic communication.  


Schedule of Topics

Session 1

Orientation, Overview and Sermon Mapping 101

Sessions 2 & 3

Explaining the Text

Sessions 4 & 5

Illustrating the Text

Session 6

Evangelism and Apologetics

Sessions 7 & 8

Applying the Text

Session 9

Presentation and Expression

Session 10

Effective Introduction & Conclusions, Cohort Recap


Cohort Meeting Elements

What will we do during our cohort meetings?

We will map sermons and identify patterns of dynamic preaching.

We will listen to clips of gifted preachers and discuss their methods.

We will evaluate effective preaching techniques.

We will share insights as we map our own sermons.

We will set goals for targeted improvement.

We will share wisdom, helpful preaching resources and humorous pastoral memories.

No upcoming events at the moment


Answers to your questions

Who can participate?

This cohort is primarily designed for veteran Senior Pastors.  Other ministers who have substantial preaching experience or who are in pastoral training could also benefit.

What if I can't make every cohort meeting?

The content will be made available outside of the cohort calls.  Make-up calls will be offered if several participants miss a call.

What is the schedule?

Semester Cohorts meet 2-3 times a month for 60-90 minutes per session.  All cohorts are currently held over Zoom.  

What is Sermon Mapping?

We use a tool called "sermon mapping" to assess and develop our preaching.  It's like an EKG for a message.  The chart shows every decision a preacher makes. The  result is a "map" of the entire sermon.

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