This past weekend was a blockbuster for the Academy of Preachers. No less than 55 young preachers stood and delivered a sermon on our theme, GOSPEL AND THE CITY. And more than a few of them vowed to bring their call, their talent, and their sermon to Atlanta in January.
It began in Austin at the Texas Regional Festival of Young Preachers. It was the first of its kind: 10 schools, 26 young preachers, 4 conveners, 4 evaluators and 5 exhibitors gathering in an event designed, planned, and managed by the Academy of Preachers.
I was there; and I heard more than a few sermons I hope get a hearing at the National Festival in January. Two students (Jenna Morrison of Perkins School of Theology and Elizabeth Grasham-Reeves of Truett Seminary) won scholarships to attend the National Festival.
The local television affiliates of both ABC and Fox News made surprise appearances, interviewed students, recorded sermons, and broadcasted stories about the Texas Regional Festival.
Sunday we moved to Birmingham. While we were in route AoP Founding Partner Morehouse College of Atlanta gathered in the Martin Luther King Jr International Chapel to hear 12 Morehouse men preach. It was Morehouse College, you recall, that spontaneously initiated this wave of campus festivals in the fall of 2009; now, 3 years later, more than 15 schools have followed their lead, with more clamoring for help to host their own festival. Following the preaching, Morehouse reserved 10 preaching spots at the 2013 National Festival of Young Preachers, January 2-5, 2013.
Back in Birmingham, two AoP Partners, Beeson Divinity School and the Lord’s Day Alliance, collaborated to host a conference and festival around the theme, Sabbath and the City. Nineteen Beeson students preached; all of these were video recorded and will be produced and published on the AoP YouTube channel. Frank Woodson of Mission Birmingham, C. David Keith of Mercer University, and Robert Smith of Beeson Seminary were plenary presenters.
Yet this fall festivals are on the calendar for Georgetown College, Trevecca Nazarene University, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and Truett Seminary. Festival planning is under way in Philadelphia, New York, St. Louis, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Dallas, Waco, Evansville, and a dozen other cities.
We are on the front edge of a revival of gospel preaching: for the good of the church, for the renewal of the world, for the glory of God.