The Academy of Preachers is an initiative launched in 2009 that seeks to Identify, Network, Inspire and Support young people in their call to gospel preaching.
The Academy was endorsed and supported by 50 Founding Partners: businesses, denominations, institutions, and organizations who affiliated with the Academy during its first 18 months of operation. Chief among these is the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis, Ind. For a list of our Founding Partners, click here. For more about our history, click here.
Through annual Festivals of Young Preachers, regional festivals, and social media for ten years the Academy of Preachers created supportive environments for young preachers to explore God’s call upon their lives. In 2019, the Academy of Preachers moved to Belmont University‘s Moench Center for Church Leadership in the College of Theology and Christian Ministry to begin a new chapter of support for young preachers and those moving into their first positions of vocational service.
A team of four lead the programs and initiatives of the Academy of Preachers; they are supported and advised by various contractors and consultants.
Our Young Preachers are generally high school, college, university and seminary students, usually between the ages of 14 and 35; in addition, we welcome Young Preachers who are between schools or who have completed their education. We also increasingly engage young preachers moving into their vocations of service in ministry. The Academy of Preachers is no gatekeeper into Gospel preaching; we do not decide who is—or who is not—called to preach. We encourage each Young Preacher to examine his or her own heart and assess his or her individual calling. We welcome all who come testifying to a vocation as a preacher of the Gospel of God.
The Academy does not seek to influence the political, theological or denominational interests of Young Preachers. Our door is ecumenical and open to all denominations, genders, and races. Young Preachers from Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, Protestant, Non-denominational, and Pentecostal traditions have been involved in our Festivals. This broad affirmation of Young Preachers allows us to host events that enrich their lives and ministries as they mix and mingle. God is in the midst of it all—and we work for the Glory of God and the Common Good.
The Academy recognizes Gospel preaching as a vocation of significant social significance. It is crucial for the transformation of individuals, congregations, communities, even nations. We seek to instill and sustain this sense of divine purpose and social significance in the minds of young people who sense a call to Gospel preaching. We inspire them with their potential to make a difference in the world.
The Academy of Preachers is the only organization of its kind. We offer guidance, direction, and professional accountability to Young Preachers through the National Festival of Young Preachers, Regional and Campus Festivals, coaching, and education. We also encourage Young Preachers to seek the guidance and wisdom of a mentor and to partner together with a supporting congregation in their denomination. In all of these ways, our aim is to help Young Preachers reach their full potential and help institutions and agencies fulfill their Christian mission.