WHAT IS THE ACADEMY OF PREACHERS?
The Academy of Preachers was the original sponsoring organization for Festivals of Young Preachers. The Festivals were a means to carry out AoP’s mission to identify, network, inspire and support young people in their call to gospel preaching. The organization was discontinued effective July 1, 2019.
WHAT IS A FESTIVAL OF YOUNG PREACHERS?
Despite the discontinuation of AoP, we encourage institutions, organizations, denominational bodies, local churches, and more to carry on these amazing, one-of-a-kind events. A Festival of Young Preachers may be a local, regional or national event wherein young people can explore their call to ministry by actually delivering a prepared, 15-minute sermon in a supportive environment. All Festivals of Young Preachers should give participants the opportunity to network with and learn from other Young Preachers and ministry professionals.
WHO CAN PREACH?
Young Preachers from ages 14-35 and any Christian tradition are typically invited to preach in Festivals of Young Preachers.
HOW DO I SELECT A SERMON TEXT? IS THERE A THEME?
Each year the Academy of Preachers chose a preaching theme that was used for the National Festival and the Regional Festivals leading up to the national event. The last Festival theme and pre-selected texts from 2018-19 are available from the Preaching Guide as an example for choosing your own texts and theme.
You are encouraged to avoid subjects and language that are overly opinionated and divisive. A Festival is an opportunity to develop your skills as a preacher, not to orate political views or exclusive causes. Given the broad scope of the Academy of Preachers, our ecumenical harmony depended on respecting each other’s perspectives.
HOW LONG SHOULD MY SERMON BE?
Young Preachers are typically assigned 15 minutes for their presentation. They should be aware that reading scripture and/or praying is usually included in their 15 minutes, unless done during their mentor’s introduction. They should prepare to stay within the 15-minute limit to avoid the time keeper from needing to end their sermon for them. Young Preachers are also welcome to preach for less than 15 minutes.
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT THE FESTIVALS?
The National Festival of Young Preachers was an opportunity to meet and make friends with other Young Preachers from a broad perspective. Though they came from a wide range of Christian traditions and regions the Festival provided a unique common ground for all. Attendees came to learn from each other in an intimate setting that allowed for open dialogue and understanding. In hosting your own Festival, we encourage you to foster this type of unique environment.
WHAT IF YOUNG PREACHERS DON’T HAVE A MENTOR?
We understand that Young Preachers might not have a dedicated mentor. However, given how valuable coaching can be to a Young Preacher, they are encouraged to seek out someone and ask for help in preparation for the Festival. This may be their pastor, professor, or someone they trust to help guide them. Having even a temporary mentor is rewarding!
IS THERE AN EXPECTED STYLE OF PREACHING?
Young Preachers are encouraged to preach in any style they prefer, as long as it is natural to them and honors their church. We often remind them preach to and for those present in the room.
WHAT IS THE DRESS CODE?
Young Preachers are typically free to dress as they deem appropriate; their clothing may reflect the ministry situation in which you are most likely to preach, whether liturgical robes or shorts and sandals. It is requested that Young Preachers dress modestly and don’t wear clothing with provocative or political text.
WHAT IS A PREACHING CIRCLE?
Young Preachers are usually assigned to a Preaching Circle, which is a small group of peers led by an experienced Young Preacher. The groups are designed to build community with the freedom to ask questions and offer insights.
WHAT SHOULD THE PREACHING VENUE BE LIKE?
At the National Festival, Young Preachers preached in hotel breakout rooms, and at Regional Festivals they usually preached in classrooms. The audience for a Festival is typically 20 or less people seated in front of the Young Preacher. A pulpit is usually provided, though there may only be a microphone for the video recording.
Young Preachers are encouraged to stay behind the pulpit to remain in the video frame.
SHOULD THE SERMONS BE RECORDED?
Videographers recorded sermons preached at the Festival from 2010-2019 and they were uploaded to the AoP YouTube channel. All independent organizations and institutions of future Festivals are encouraged to post the sermons from their event to their YouTube channel, if applicable.