“Stir it up and bring God’s justice to all!” was Nick Joyner’s (AoP’12) urgent message at the University of Evansville’s“Prophets and Pipes Festival of Young Preachers” on Saturday. The concept of showcasing the gifts of young preachers and organists certainly stirred up the standard for festivals by taking the concept to a new and sensational level.
Worship began on Friday evening with gathering music by the Neu Chapel Jazz Ensemble. This majestic liturgical service included gifted student cantors and University Chaplain Tamara Gieselman’s message challenging the young leaders. The careful planning and orchestration of numerous elements was evident in the seamless execution. In other words, all were free to focus on the worship of God.
Saturday morning brought more gifted folks to the Neu Chapel as we heard from keynote preacher and British guest, Rev. the Lord Leslie Griffiths. As outstanding as Lord Griffiths’ sermon on wind and fire was, he was one of many extraordinary preachers on Saturday. Eleven young preachers interspersed with six young organists filled the day with their best gifts.
In the spirit of the AoP, the Pipes and Prophets Festival had a range of preachers and music. Guests musicians included a sacred chamber music ensemble and a gospel choir. Preachers shared with humor, reverence, whispers and shouts. The two day event provided opportunity for all.
Keith Turner AoP’12 of Asbury University did exceptional double duty as both preacher and organist.
The presence of young, thoughtful musicians playing and reflecting on their pieces was a welcome addition to the work of the Academy. They had the unusual opportunity to step out in front of the organ and share the thought and personal theology they put into their selections. They “preached” using a different instrument as their voice, and as Joe Leugers shared, “I play music because it is the most expressive form of communication.”
“Questions of the Soul,” the AoP 2013 preaching theme, was used by the preachers and organists during their 15 minute time increments. Both groups took the assignment seriously as they shared well crafted thought and skill. Even with the serious subject matter, the spirit of the event was warm and encouraging. Many laughs, pats on the back and words of “good job” were shared.
Pipes and Prophets Festival of Young Preachers set a new standard for AoP’s work in encouraging young people in their call to gospel preaching. Many, many thanks to Tammy and her team for showing us how it can be done!