(In other news: Read about the Academy of Preachers in the Christian Post.)
We launched the Academy of Preachers in 2009 with a target demographic: young people between the ages of 16 and 28. “You are starting too late,” one prominent preacher said to me. And he was right. Within a year we had lowered our age range to 14.
Analysis of the attendees of the 2012 National Festival of young Preachers bears this out. The trend is toward younger preachers.
Of the 120 people who pre-registered for the Festival (and therefore appear in the printed program), 12 are in high school; that is 10%. but another 72 are in college or university students, which means 60% of the young preachers are college age or below. At the first Festival in 2010 that percentage was exactly 50%.
This year one third of our Young Preacehrs are in seminary and represent 21 different schools, to be exact. Another six have either graduates or in between schools.
I am pleased with this trend toward younger preachers. It is one thing to help seminarians improve their skills; it is something very different to locate talented high school students and inspire them to consider preaching as a vocation.
As you read this article, the AoP team is meeting with directors of programs for high school students to discuss how our Festivals of Young Preachers can enhance their work. It may be that we host a Festival event just for young preachers in high school in the very near future. This is a very attractive idea.
In addition, we may well consider a Campus Festival at some Christian high school or at an event of high school students. At the same time we intend to exhibit at the Fine Art Festival hosted annually by the Assembly of God Network, which is being held here in Louisville in August. This event will feature dozens of Young Preachers who have advanced through regional events. It sounds exciting.
If you have an idea for Identifying, Networking, Supporting and Inspiring high school students toward the ministry of gospel preaching, give us a call.