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Format, Eligibility & History of IOP

Format of IOP

Beginning in 2007, the Institute began a partnership with the Center for Continuing Education at Duke Divinity School, changing from a large group format to an intensive formation experience for up to twelve preachers each year. Three retreats focus on personal mentoring in a one-on-one and small group format so that preacher's unique gifts may be nurtured and enhanced. Each of the retreats will include time spent in lecture and conversation with a member of the faculty of the Institute. There will be time for group interaction and personal reflection; additionally, there will be a consistent focus on worship, prayer, and spiritual growth.

The Institute will cover all expenses associated with the three sessions including tuition, room and board. The only costs pastors and their congregations need to assume are for all travel to and from the lay orientation and three sessions (including one in Durham, NC).

Eligibility of IOP

The Institute is open to all full time Elders and local pastors in the Florida Conference who do not anticipate a change in appointment in the coming year.

History of IOP

In 1984, Mr. and Mrs. Frank W. Sherman established the Institute through a generous endowment designed to encourage Florida pastors to be the most effective Biblical preachers they could be. It is based on the assumption that every preacher can become a more effective preacher than he or she currently is. The Institute began as an annual event for preachers to hear sermons and lectures from some of the finest preachers from across the nation and around the world. In 2007 the format changed to a more intensive learning experience which focuses on improving the practice of a group of preachers from Florida and Western North Carolina. In addition, the Institute has funded Institutes for both the Methodist Church of Cuba and Haiti.