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Dordt Professor Researches Advent Preaching

June 26, 2024
Dr. Kyle Dieleman

Associate professor of theology and history Dr. Kyle Dieleman has received a Vital Worship, Vital Preaching grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship in Grand Rapids, Mich., with funds provided by Lilly Endowment Inc.

Through the grant, Dieleman will “encourage preachers through exploration of historical and contemporary Advent preaching to consider how preaching can form people for a life in which pacing, expectations, and longings are recast in light of the kingdom of God.”

Among other things, the grant provides funding for a pastors’ cohort as well as a retreat. During their time together, the cohort will read and discuss sermons from church history, including those by Augustine, Hildegard of Bingen, and Martin Luther.

Dieleman and his research assistant are seeking to build a cohort of pastors and leaders from a variety of denominations. “I think the opportunity to listen to voices from other traditions benefits everyone,” said Dieleman. “Then we can start to see what strengths our tradition has that others don’t, or what parts of the tradition we’ve maybe been missing out on that could be a gift to us.”

Part of the project will involve theological reflection on the importance of the themes and pacing of Advent.

“In other words, if the themes of Advent are related to waiting and expectation and hope, those are blessings that might be discouraged or in short supply in our culture and, thus, even more important for our churches,” said Dieleman. “How can we cultivate lives where we wait for God’s action? How can we grow in our trust of God’s graces or our hope for Christ to make all things new?”

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship is an interdisciplinary study and ministry center that promotes the scholarly study of the theology, history, and practice of Christian worship and the renewal of worship in worshiping communities across North America and beyond.