Academy of Preachers

News & Updates

Academy of Preachers Begins Its Wrap-Up

For Immediate Release

LEXINGTON, Ky., June 10, 2019 – After ten years of Festivals for Young Preachers, the Academy of Preachers is closing. So announced Conway Stone, chairman of the Academy’s Board of Directors.

“For everything there is a season,” quoted Stone from the book of Ecclesiastes. “And our season is coming to an end.”

The AoP, as it is commonly known, was founded in 2008 with a mission to “identify, network, support, and inspire young people in the call to gospel preaching.” It was funded by a series of grants from the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis.

“We hosted ten National Festivals,” said board member Dwight A. Moody, “and at least 15 Regional Festivals and many Campus Festivals, and each one—from Boston to Abilene, from North Carolina to Idaho—has been a blessing to many people.”

Moody served as founder and first president of the organization until his retirement in 2017.

More than 900 different young people preached at one of the ten National Festivals and more than 1,000 others preached at one of the many Regional, Campus, or Denominational Festivals hosted or inspired by the AoP. In addition, the AoP in partnership with Chalice Press published ten volumes of sermons preached at the National Festivals by both Young Preachers and seasoned preachers (such as H. Beecher Hicks, Dan Boone, Alyce McKenzie, and Sharon Watkins).

AoP Festivals drew participation from a wide spectrum of traditions, including Orthodox, Evangelical, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, and Protestant.

A final celebration will be held in Louisville at St. Mathews Baptist Church on Sunday June 23, 2019 (2 p.m. EST). June 23 is known as AoP Day, commemorating the day in 2008 when officers of the Lilly Endowment invited Dr. Moody to design and launch the initiative. St. Matthews Church is the site of the Inaugural Festival of Young Preachers in January of 2010.

“AoP has made an enduring impact on the American religious landscape,” said Rev. Ernest Brooks who served as second president of the Academy of Preachers. “I preached at the 2011 National Festival and immediately grasped the significance of this movement. Its influence on preachers and preaching will continue to be felt in this era and beyond.”

“Like many Christian ministries,” explained Stone, “we have been unable to generate enough revenue to sustain our programs. We thank the Lilly Endowment for their investment in these Young Preachers.”

Click here to register to attend the AoP Final Celebration. Click here for an opportunity to register comments, memories, and testimonies, plus suggestions about how to continue the mission of the AoP.