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SAGU Senior Salvador Avila’s Sermon Featured in Book
Waxahachie, Texas November, 2015
An original sermon written by Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) senior Salvador Avila was featured in Dr. Dwight A. Moody’s new book entitled, “Nine Marks of a Good Sermon.” The book reveals the nine qualities of a good sermon: idea, need, scripture, metaphor, question, story, passion, appeal and Jesus.
Founder and President of the Academy of Preachers (AoP) Dr. Dwight A. Moody said, “Salvador Avila stands at the top of the ladder of Young Preachers. His charisma, commitment, and talent have been apparent from the beginning.”
This book is written as a guide for young preachers to help them prepare messages that encompass the qualities of a good sermon. The book provides examples from young preachers who have spoken at the National Festivals of Young Preachers. It has been developed as Dr. Moody learned from teaching young men and women in college classes on the topic of preaching.
Avila says, “I consider it an honor and a privilege to be able to contribute to Dr. Dwight Moody’s book. I would like to thank Dr. Jeff Magruder, my Gamaliel in preaching, and who encouraged me to participate in the AoP. It is because of his training and instruction in preaching that I have part in this book.”
Avila preached at the 2014 AoP National Festival of Young Preachers, in Indianapolis, Indiana, on the theme of “Questions of the soul.”
Avila’s sermon was titled, ‘What is that in your hand?’ and he spoke from Exodus 4:2 on using the gifts and abilities that you already have to make a difference in the world. Dr. Moody explained, “Salvador’s (Avila) sermon in Indianapolis attracted me at once because its title arises from a biblical narrative that was so powerful in shaping my own call to preaching. Besides repeating the question of, ‘What is that in your hand?’ several times in his sermon, he asks another seven questions that perfectly illustrates three ways to use one of the Nine Marks of a Good Sermon: the question as text, as title, and as appeal.”
He explains, “I selected Salvador’s sermon for the book in hopes that it would encourage all young preachers with the rhetorical and spiritual power of the question. I hope it also inspires Salvador to cultivate all of his God-given gifts for the gospel work to which he has been called.”
Avila added, “I’ve enjoyed participating at every AoP festival. Every time I go I come out inspired and encouraged to continue in my call to preach, as well as challenged, after hearing all the gifted young preachers, to keep improving as a communicator of God’s Word. Every young preacher should consider participating in an AoP festival.”
Avila returned to the National Festival in 2015 to preach his sermon titled, “A God who finds us” from Genesis 16:7-8.
Avila began ministering as a volunteer administrative and young adults pastor in a Hispanic/English church called Ministerios La Familia in August 2012 in his hometown of Arlington, Texas. In December 2014, he was named the pastor of ministries for Misterios La Familia and currently serves as a residential assistant for Teeter Hall.
Until last summer, through church programs, Avila traveled once a month to San Antonio, Texas, where he ministered and discipled young adults by holding a two hour discipleship session after preaching at the worship service. During that time, he also ministered in Fort Worth, Texas, by teaching at a Small Group that later became a church plant.
Avila grew up in Apatzingan, Michoacan, Mexico, and played soccer for Academia del Atlas. In 2010, he was chosen as a top player in the country in the U18 age bracket by Alianza de Futbol and joined 18 other selected players to train with Cruz Azul for three months. After his trial, he was offered a professional contract with Cruz Azul, but felt God wanted him to go to the United States to pursue an education.
Upon arrival at SAGU his original intention was to play soccer and study business administration, but he was impacted greatly by the environment and answered his call to ministry. He played an important role during SAGU men’s soccer’s 2011-12 Regional Championship season and received the Champion of Character award for the SAGU men’s soccer team during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.
Due to his consistent positive example, Avila was given the title of “Team Chaplain” during his last two seasons and regularly hosted Bible studies and prayer meetings, and offered spiritual guidance to players and recruits.
Avila graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Church Ministries and an associate degree in General Business in Fall 2016.
About SAGU: Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at www.sagu.edu or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU
Another wonderful Festival of Young Preachers! Thirteen Young Gospel Preachers came from miles around in the pouring rain to raise their voices and share their hearts in Round Rock, Texas. Joshua Steptoe of Huston-Tillotson University and Noah Chamberlain of Southwestern Assemblies of God University each won a scholarship to the National Festival of Young Preachers. We can’t wait to hear them in Lexington in January!
Ok, as great as that is, by now with 4 Texas Regional Festivals behind us, it’s not exactly news. Please let me share with you what is.
The high and holy work of hospitality. Working with the AoP for four years now, I’ve experienced graciousness from Harvard to Abilene as campuses have welcomed Festivals of Young Preachers. BUT, never have I known the extent of lavish hospitality poured out on Young Preachers as was experienced at Sweet Home Baptist Church, affectionately known as The Pinnacle of Praise, in Round Rock, TX. Of course knowing Larry Terrell Crudup AoP’10 is an Associate Minister there should have given me reason to expect this time to be different.
I’d visited Terrell’s home church previously, and as an individual, certainly experienced a loving Sunday morning welcome. Hugs from strangers were abundant along with broad smiles and warm inquiries about who I was and why I was visiting. Really great folks, but not totally out of the norm. But let me tell you, when Sweet Home agreed to host the Texas Festival of Young Preachers they took Colossians 3:23 seriously and were serving as unto the Lord himself.
The ushers were the first line of service greeting and directing us into worship. Pastor Dante Wright preached a powerful word directed at the work and life that lies ahead of young ministers. The Pinnacle of Praise Choir all but outnumbered us, and still apologized that not more of them could be present to minister to/with us through music on a Saturday morning. They truly sang us through the gates of heaven and several returned later that evening as the Men’s Ministry set up the church for Sunday morning.
The Culinary Ministry by no means “dialed in” their service. They came early and stayed late decorating, organizing, cooking, serving, waiting tables and absolutely LOVING everyone in the room. They weren’t interested in conserving their energy, they were committed to hospitality at it’s finest. Their response to comments about their corporate attitude? “Hospitality is our spiritual gift at Sweet Home.” This team of dedicated ladies meant it with every fiber of their being. They embodied the Holy Spirit as they cheerfully mopped up spills assuring us, “We’ll take care of that, honey.” Their attitudes were in fact sweet as honey and just as natural.
I love the fact they wear aprons emblazoned with “Sweet Home Culinary Ministry.” They have team spirit and it shows. They aren’t simply a group of volunteers, they know they are about kingdom business and are answering their call to gospel ministry.
And let’s not forget the Media Ministry was in full force all day with a team of professional grade individuals taking pictures and running video so the Young Preachers can learn from watching themselves preach. I saw a videographer smiling as he reviewed a young woman’s self proclaimed “second sermon ever.” He, along with everyone I attempted to thank, exclaimed that spending the day with Young Preachers was a joy for them.
After it seemed everyone but Terrell and his wife Jacinta had gone home after a very full day, staff member Sister Jerry Jones came by despite nasty wet weather to make sure all was well and everything was in order. She cheerfully tended her chores and heard the news of the great day as the Crudups worked into the night prepping the videos for transmission.
Young Preachers are a joy I’m honored to share, especially with such an extraordinary team of gospel ministers. Thank you Sweet Home – The Pinnacle of Praise for sharing your many gifts with such joy!
(An article in the web site of Mount St Mary Seminary, Cincinnati, about the Festival.)
It was the seventh annual National Festival of Young Preachers, but the first time representatives from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary attended.
“It was unlike anything I expected. It was a truly ‘trans-denominational gathering,’ where Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Orthodox and Pentecostals came together for preaching, worship, prayer, education and fellowship,” said Deacon Dave Shea, Athenaeum professor of homiletics. “The common denominator of all festival attendees was a passion for the Gospel, a love for the Lord and a commitment to share that passion and love in our preaching.”
Deacon Shea, and two Mount St. Mary’s seminarians, Deacon Thomas Reagan and Andrew Wellman, were able to participate in the festival activities thanks to a grant by the Dennis and Lois A. Doyle Family Foundation. The Mount St. Mary’s trio was among nine Catholics, out of 122 who attended the festival from January 2-5.
“We heard sermons (homilies) from 122 young preachers. It was an inspiring experience as these young people, our Andrew and Deacon Thomas among them, preached uplifting, hopeful and challenging sermons,” Deacon Shea explained. “The prayer and the music were wonderful.”
As part of the festival, 15 local churches of all denominations opened their pulpits to young preachers. Deacon Reagan was the guest preacher at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in downtown Lexington on Sunday morning (January 3). Six Catholic festival participants from the University of Notre Dame and several others of different denominations came to support Deacon Thomas and experience Catholic Mass. After Mass, the group enjoyed lunch with the pastor and representatives of the parish.
On Sunday evening, the festival participants gathered at Broadway Christian Church for an event sponsored by the Athenaeum. Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was the plenary preacher. Mr. Wellman proclaimed the Scripture. The evening was unexpectedly capped-off by the recording of a special video message to Pope Francis thanking him for his prayers, commending him for being a great preacher; and asking him for his support in hosting a first-ever international festival of young preachers in Rome.
On Monday, a group of participants went to the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd to participate in the Festival’s “First Parish Preachers Event.” Fifteen young preachers, including Mr. Wellman, preached in the Church’s pulpit in the daylong program which concluded with a preachers’ forum and discussion about the challenges of preaching to today’s diverse congregations.
“Overall, it was a terrific experience. My Master Class titled: ‘Entertain, or else – Attending to the Delight Element in St. Augustine’s Trilogy of Teach, Delight and Persuade’ was very well-attended and fun to conduct,” noted Deacon Shea. “I thought Deacon Thomas and Andrew did a terrific job preaching. And I am most grateful to Dennis and Lois Doyle for their generosity in making it possible for us to attend this year’s festival.”
Click the following link to see a photo gallery from the event http://www.mtsm.org/PhotoGalleries/PhotoGallery8.aspx
Photo Credit (left to right): Deacon Thomas Reagan, Deacon Dave Shea and Andrew Wellman.
Featured Preacher: Whitney T Franklin
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Walking onto Louisville Seminary’s campus for the first time, I knew I had been called to serve God in a ministerial position. I had no real clue what all that meant.
During an exploratory weekend, I participated in a workshop about discernment. As I sat listening to people speaking about their love for preaching and to those looking forward to the opportunity to preach weekly, I felt so alone because those stories sounded like nightmares to me. I had hadn’t preached before and was praying that I would be able to stay under the radar and never have to. I guess I thought I would be the one MDiv student that would graduate without having to preach. Wishful thinking, I know. To ease my anxiety I put the idea out of my mind; I had an entire year before I had to take any preaching classes or begin my church placement as a ministerial intern.
Time passed quickly, my fear of preaching increased, and then I had to face my biggest Seminary fear: I was invited to be the guest preacher for the Youth Anniversary at St. Peter’s UCC in Louisville, KY. I had to Preach! A Sermon!
I was terrified and had not a clue as to where to begin. I had no clue how to write a sermon nor any idea of how to start the process. Although, I had begun my internship, I had been unable to get into a preaching class until the spring. Fortunately, I was blessed that my internship was at the church where my academic advisor and the Professor of Preaching, Rev. Dr. Debra Mumford was on the ministerial staff. I had previously expressed my fears to her. She knew that I that I feared that I wouldn’t be well received, and I was concerned that the words that I wrote were not what God wanted me to say and just me using the pulpit as a space to carrying out my own agenda. My prayer was that I would be able to preach in such a manner that the message would translate efficiently.
Rev. Dr. Mumford was kind enough to offer her guidance; she reviewed my first manuscript and counseled me to do the exegetical work to gain a deeper understanding of the passage. Throughout this process I had no confidence; I second guessed myself and ran every idea by any person I encountered. I asked repeatedly “Do you really think this is what God wants me to say?” which was usually met with “Only you know what you were given” and “just trust God.” My doubts were not about not trusting God, but more about feeling ill-prepared to accomplish the task of being a vessel for the Word of God and effectively communicate with the people of God.
When that Sunday morning came, I was so nervous. After a short prayer, I took a deep breath and entered the pulpit because it was go time. I reached the podium to preach; I spoke fast, made little eye contact, shook the entire time, and held tight to the papers and microphone. And then, it was over. The congregation applauded. I had no clue as to what had just happened, it seemed as if I left my body at the start of my sermon and returned at the “Amen.”
Since that first sermon in September of 2014, I have completed two preaching classes, and I have preached ten times. I am currently in my last year of Seminary and have gained the necessary skills to craft an effective and articulate sermon. Being a part of the Basic Preaching class with Dr. Mumford was the game changer. I went into the class with very little confidence and emerged as a prepared and conscious preacher. In the class, we learned methods of gathering exegetical information, watched and reviewed different preaching styles and had to preach two sermons. Those practical applications helped to mold the preacher I am today. I also took Performance in Preaching, a week long intensive practical workshop where we were charged with preaching a first person narrative without notes. I learned how my whole body communicates the sermon and the nuances of how I tell a story really matter.
Although, I am more now a confident and prepared preacher, the nervousness is still present. I have been told this a good thing. The task of being a messenger is a high honor and should be treated as such. The nervousness that I now experience is not because I am unprepared for the task; it is due to fact that I am conscious of the task. I am grateful that I didn’t let fear take over and that I said yes in response to the call to preach. I intend to continue to learn and grow into the minister/preacher that God created me to be. I am a willing and open vessel with just a little bit nervousness.
The AoP is delighted to publish this first-person account of the journey into the preaching life written by a student at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, an iPartner with the AoP that also has an iBrand contract with the AoP for distribution of information about the school.
Aquinas Institute of St. Louis, the Athenaeum of Ohio in Cincinnati, the Orthodox Church of American in New York, and McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta are the latest to join the Academy of Preachers as iPartners. This brings the number of iPartners to 20, and there is room for many other congregations, institutions, and religious organizations.
The first meeting of iPartner representatives will be Monday, January 4, at the noon luncheon during the 2016 National Festival of Young Preachers, at the Hilton Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky.
iPartners are one of the three membership categories of the Academy of Preachers, the others being Young Preachers and Professional Ministers. iPartners receive 9 benefits, including use of AoP graphic images, opportunity to sponsor or host AoP events, and use of the Festival Outcomes Inventory. In addition, pastors of iPartner congregation receive a free AoP membership in the Professional Ministers category. Dues for iPartners are $500 per year.
Call or write the Academy of Preachers to discuss how your congregation, institution or denomination can become a Charter iPartner Member of the Academy of Preachers. Here is a list of all 20 iPartners: