The National Festival of Young Preachers experience is one that you cannot find anywhere else. You are exposed to different denominations, different biblical texts, different liturgical traditions, different preaching styles, different understandings of the Gospel message, and more. This is the beauty of the Academy of Preachers. It is overwhelming if you don’t know what to do with it. So allow me to offer one helpful hint to you.
Remember, we are part of a community that is charged to discern within the community. Learn to talk, not only in your assigned small groups, but also long into the night with the people you meet. There is plenty of time to sleep when the festival is over. Take as much time as you physically can to be with as many preachers as you can to talk about the sermons, the theology you heard, and the experiences that each preacher brings to the table.
When you dialogue with a group of young preachers you begin to discover that the similarities and differences are fascinating. Where there is still confusion talk with evaluators and the countless homiletics professors and scholars that will be there. The more you talk and listen the more beautiful your experience of the Festival and the Academy becomes.