Knowing the advantage any person has under the guidance of a mentor, the AoP expects each Young Preacher to seek a mentor to assist them with sermon preparation in advance of the Festival. Your sermon needs to be ready to preach when you arrive at the Festival. You mentor is asked to accompany and introduce you at your designated preaching time. Should you or your mentor need special scheduling consideration, please contact the Director of Festivals as soon as possible to make arrangements.
All Festival sermons are to follow the Festival theme, which for 2017 through the National Festival in January of 2018 is WORSHIP THE LORD. Preach on this theme using one of the 150 psalms in the Book of Psalms. These texts offer song of praise and despair, cries for help and hymns of thanksgiving. They extol God as the maker of heaven and Earth, and at the same time describe the absence of God in the day of trouble. They give us texts rooted in sanctuary worship and also words that lift us up to the highest reaches of creation. Search these ancient psalms for the word God is speaking to you and mold it into a word God can speak through you. We will receive it and give thanks. You are encouraged to avoid subjects and language that are belligerent and divisive. The National Festival is not a soapbox for any political or social agenda; it is a celebration of gospel preaching and a venue for encouraging young people who wish to preach. The ecumenical nature of this gathering requires all of us to be particularly attentive to this matter. We strongly urge each Young Preacher to consult with a mentor or coach in developing the sermon and to seek opportunities to preach the sermon prior to attending a Regional or National Festival. To assist Young Preachers, we refer you to the article by our president Dwight A. Moody, NINE MARKS OF A GOOD SERMON.
Festival sermon limits are 10-15 minutes depending on the Festival. Check to be sure for your specific event. If you choose to read scripture or pray as part of your sermon, it must be done within the allotted time. You may preach for less than the full time. It is your responsibility to adhere to this guideline, and the responsibility of the convener of each preaching session to ensure that preaching remains on schedule. The conveners are instructed to stand once you are within one minute of your maximum to allow you time to wrap up and conclude. You will be allowed up to an extra 30 seconds, and will be directed to end at that time as needed.
You are encouraged to preach in a style with which you are familiar and in which you are most at ease. The presence of family and friends will help you feel at home and preach more effectively, so please invite them to attend. Remember to preach to and for those present in the room.
You are free to dress as you deem appropriate; your dress may reflect the ministry situation in which you are most likely to preach, whether that calls for liturgical robes, or shorts and sandals. Do not wear clothing with provocative or political text.
At the National Festival, as many as 5 simultaneous venues will be used for preaching. There are will be 1-2 preaching session venues at the Regional Festivals of Young Preachers. You will be notified of your preaching time and room in advance, and you are welcome to invite others to come and hear you. A podium will be provided. All of these preaching sessions are free and open to the public, and we encourage you to invite your friends and family to support you.
You will be assigned to a Preaching Circle during Festivals of Young Preachers. These groups are designed to build community and foster friendships among Young Preachers. Each one will be facilitated by a Young Preacher who is a member of the Academy of Preachers. Times for Preaching Circle meetings are included on the schedule, and additional details will be made available at Festivals.
Where possible, the Academy of Preachers will film and post sermons preached at National and Regional Festivals of Young Preachers to our YouTube Channel. This service is done at no additional expense to the Young Preacher. Additionally, photos may be taken during Festivals for future promotion on the AoP website, in print publications and sharing on social media. If, for any reason, you prefer not to be filmed during the delivery of your sermon, please notify the Academy of Preachers beforehand. Likewise, let it be known in writing if you do not want your image used in posting and publicity.