December 3, 2013
By Hugo J. Morrison
(Editor’s note: Hugo attended the National Festival in Atlanta in Jan. 2013. He is a young preacher, just a little past the AoP age limit. He chose to come as a volunteer and wanted to share his experience to encourage others over the age of 28 to give themselves this great opportunity. Though circumstances prevent Hugo from joining us in 2014, we want others to take his advice and come to the National Festival.)
The benefits are too vast to name them all; however, let me impart the importance of social learning, networking, and retreating. When I initially learned of the festival, it started as an assignment in my mind. Therefore, I registered and made contact with the office only to discover I was out of the preaching age range, so I volunteered. I was going just to see what all the buzz was really about. However, it was during the packing and preparation stages that I assigned purpose to my attendance at the festival. The initial joy had resurfaced and it was evident that the festival would serve multiple purposes at the start of a new year. You should attend for the following reasons:
1) You are worth the investment—every young preacher or inspiring preacher, whether you are scheduled to preach or not, should make this investment in their calling, election, and craft. The amount of information shared cannot be contained to a book, a single seminar, or marketing materials. In fact, some of the most helpful tidbits are gleaned by listening to others share their stories. While changing from one session to the next or just simply taking the time to sit down and elicit feedback, one will discover that other colleagues of the gospel are sharing in the same fight, the same struggle, or experiencing the same triumph as you. These connections cannot be measured; rather experienced and fostered as you meander your journey in ministry.
2) There are Endless Learning Opportunities—whether you are a seasoned young preacher or just starting off, the learning opportunities are endless at the National Festival. If you are open to the process of the festival, you will be able to adopt new insights; new studying patterns, and learn the different techniques or styles of preaching. Even if a particular style of preaching has worked for you, I guarantee that you will be inspired to try another method and expand your horizon as different occasions require a different voice. These opportunities present themselves in preaching circles, feedback at the end of each preaching session, and in the mentoring process. Social learning has proven to be very effective while in these type of conference settings. So if nothing else attracts you to come, stop reading and register now to create new alliances and network!
3) Peer-To-Peer Mentoring is essential—while it is always wise to seek counsel of those professionals who have served the profession well, please don’t negate peer-to-peer mentoring. There are peers who have graduated from the academy and come back each year with the motivation to mentor, to engage, and connect with other young preachers. These peers are currently serving the profession and are well-versed in latest trends and research while possessing a great deal of knowledge which is beneficial to your development whether you are preaching or not. If you are one of those peers, then you owe it to the profession and the call to come and serve an inspiring or young preacher. You have a gift, a talented, a ministry, or a story to share and some young preacher or inspiring preacher needs to hear it from you! Some preacher wrestling with the tension of their call and their faith needs to know they are not in the fight by his or her self!
My brothers and sisters, we need to expand and extend the Kingdom; we have a responsibility and mission to compel the lost, evangelize the word and take the gospel to the four corners of the Earth; however, we also need to ensure that we train, we equip, and hold one another accountable so that we are adequately preparing those who are called to serve. What mark do you plan on making? If not you, then who? If not now, then when?
November 30, 2013
By Dwight Moody
- for a calling to preach the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ
- for an opportunity to lead the Academy of Preachers
- for a talented, dedicated, and pleasant team of associates
- for anticipation of a wonderful 2014 National Festival of Young Preachers
- for partners, donors, directors, and young preachers
- for good health, strong family, warm house, and plenty of food
- for a network of friends around the world
- for the goodness and mercy of God.
May all of us give thanks to God for the faith, hope and love that are ours through Jesus Christ our Lord.
November 25, 2013
By Dwight Moody
Judson Press has become AoP Partner number 118.
Their letter of partnership dated October 7 of this year adds them to the list of National Partners and brings us one step closer to our goal of 150 Founding and National Partners. You can see the entire list here.
“Since 1824,” their letter stated, “we have been providing Christ-centered leadershi8p resources for the transformation of persons, congregations, communities and cultures.” Learn more about Judson Press here.
I like this statement because it resonates with our own mission and impact. The young preachers attending our festivals and camps consistently tell us how transformational and inspirational these events are. Just yesterday I received this email message from a student at Montreat College in North Carolina:
“Good afternoon Dr. Moody, I hope you are doing well. You may not remember me, but I have had the privilege of taking part in the last two National Festivals. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend this year due to the fact that I have obligations with my parish internship. I just wanted to take a few moments to send you an e-mail letting you know that the Academy of Preachers has been a tremendous blessing to me over the past couple of years and though I cannot make it this year, I plan to attend in 2015. Happy Christ the King Sunday!”
The Academy of Preachers and Judson Press can be powerful and influential partners. They have a network independent of ours and they have a high quality tradition that goes back almost 200 years. We, of course, are new–five years old–and our network is smaller and more diverse than theirs. I am sure we can help them fulfill their mission just as they can help us fulfill our mission.
Their letter states: “We would life to collaborate with the Academy of Preachers by exhibiting at events and advertising in publications and on the website. If there are other ways that we can support you in this effort, please let me know.”
We love this spirit of collaboration and adventure and openness to what is possible. I suspect we will get along with Judson Press just fine!
Perhaps Judson Press inspires you to be a National Partner! Here is the page on our website that describes this free arrangement. We welcome businesses, congregations, denominations, organizations, and institutions to partner with us to “identify, network, support, and inspire young people in their call to gospel preaching.”
November 18, 2013
By Dwight Moody
I am pleased to announced that Dr. Frank Thomas, long time pastor of the Mississippi Blvd Christian Church in Memphis TN will be one of our plenary preachers in Indianapolis in January at the 2014 National Festival of Young Preachers.
Dr. Thomas is now the Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Homiletics at Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) in Indianapolis. CTS is one of the major sponsors of the 2014 National Festival of Young Preachers. See his more complete introduction here.
Thomas was brought from Memphis to Indianapolis to help launch the new Center for Pastoral Excellence. He will be director of the new Academy of Preaching and Celebration.
Dr. Thomas, who holds the PhD from the University of Memphis, will preach Friday morning at the National Festival of Young Preachers, at Morning Prayer, in the Sheraton City Centre hotel. In addition, he will lead a workshop on Saturday afternoon at Christian Theological Seminary; that workshop will be “Preaching as Celebration.” The seminary will provide transportation from the hotel to the seminary, will provide lunch to workshop attendees, and will offer two workshops, this one on preaching another one on preaching and social media (“Tweet That!”). Both the lunch and the workshops are free to those attending the National Festival of Young Preachers.
Later this week we will post descriptions of all the workshops being offered at the National Festival in Indianapolis.
Registration for the 120 preaching slots at the Festival is through this web site. Registration sufficient to reserve a preaching spot requires a $75 deposit. All preaching spots are expected to be taken by Thanksgiving….which is next week! Better hurry.
Keep your attention on this web site to receive more information about the National Festival program in January.
November 14, 2013
By Dwight Moody
Joseph Kurtz has had plenty of titles in his long and distinguished career: deacon, priest, father, director, bishop, and archbishop (to name a few). Now he adds another: president…..of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
I pay attention to this because he is my friend, and because he is a friend of the Academy of Preachers.
As archbishop of Louisville he came to our inaugural Festival of Young Preachers at St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville. He sat right next to me on the front row then stood to give a greeting. He was warm, articulate, and spiritual. I liked him immediately and reached out to him for friendship and partnership.
The next year Archbishop Kurtz and the Cathedral became a Founding Partner of the Academy of Preachers, and he opened his own sanctuary, the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville, to the young preachers attending the 2011 National Festival. I preached from his pulpit at the concluding service of the that Festival.
In 2012, Archbishop Kurtz again hosted the National Festival as we gathered for the second time in the nearby Seelbach Hotel also in Louisville. He presided at one of our services, after which we discovered we were both operating in the Twitter-sphere; I have 200 Followers, he has 6,500! Two weeks later he Tweeted to me from St. Peter’s in Rome during the installation of Archbishop Dolan of New York as a Cardinal.
Always and everywhere he has been kind, hospitable, encouraging, and generous. He is my friend and the friend of young preachers everywhere.
Now he has been elected by his peers to be the chief spokesperson for all Roman Catholic bishops in this country. It is quite an honor, quite a responsibility, especially in this time of surprising and stirring initiatives coming from the Vatican and the new Bishop of Rome, Francis.
I look forward to his further collaboration with the Academy of Preachers.
That partnership and my friendship with Archbishop Kurtz dates to my very first presentation of the AoP vision, when sitting beside me in an ecumenical meeting in Lexington was Fr. Martin Linebach, ecumenical officer of the Archdiocese of Louisville, the first person to embrace the AoP mission, now the pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Middletown, and a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Academy of Preachers.
For both of these men, all I can say is GLORY TO GOD.