Ride The AoP Express to Dallas!

November 18, 2014

By Dwight Moody

AoPExpress 150x150 Ride The AoP Express to Dallas!A chartered bus dubbed The AoP Express will leave Lexington at 4pm on January 1 bound for the 2015 National Festival of Young Preachers in Dallas, Texas.

Any young preacher, mentor, volunteer, exhibitor, or friend of young preachers registered for the National Festival may ride the bus. Call 859-949-1000.

Cost for this round trip is only $50, payable when you step on the bus. The only other cost are two meals en route.

Pick up stops are scheduled for Louisville, Elizabethtown, and Bowling Green, all in Kentucky, and Nashville and Memphis in Tennessee. The complete schedule coming and going is below.

This will help all of our Kentucky and Tennessee friends get to Dallas in an affordable way, and it will allow this same cohort to present a warm COME TO KENTUCKY IN 2016 invitation to the entire Festival in Dallas.

Lv. from Calvary Baptist Church, Lexington 4:00 PM
Arrive Middletown, KY 5:15 PM
Lv. Middletown, KY 5:30 PM
Arrive Elizabethtown, KY 6:30 PM
Lv. Elizabethtown, KY 6:46 PM
Arrive Bowling Green, KY 7:00 PM
Lv. Bowling Green, KY 7:15 PM
Arrive Nashville, TN 8:15 PM
Lv. Nashville, TN 9:15 PM
Arrive Memphis, TN 12:15 AM
Lv. Memphis, TN 12:45 AM
Arrive Little Rock, AR 2:45 AM
Lv. Little Rock, AR 3:00 AM
Arrive Greenville TX 7:00 AM
Lv Greenville TX 8:00
Arrive Dallas Hotel 9:00 AM

Lv. Dallas, TX 2pm
Arrive Little Rock, AR 8pm
Lv. Little Rock, AR 8.15pm
Arrive Memphis, TN 10.30pm
Lv. Memphis, TN 10.45pm
Arrive Nashville, TN 1.45am
Lv. Nashville, TN 2am
Arrive Bowling Green, KY 3am
Lv. Bowling Green, KY 3.15am
Arrive Elizabethtown, KY 5.30am
Lv. Elizabethtown, KY 5.45am
Arrive Middletown, KY 6.45am
Lv. Middletown, KY 7.45am
Arrive Lexington, KY 9am


Master Classes at the Festival

November 13, 2014

By Wyndee Holbrook

Gregory Headshot 150x150 Master Classes at the FestivalDr Beecher 900 150x150 Master Classes at the FestivalMcKenzie 2012edit 150x150 Master Classes at the Festivalkena kwasi large mag 150x150 Master Classes at the Festival






The AoP is proud to present these extraordinary homileticians with great thanks to these sponsoring institutions: Perkins School of Theology, Truett Theological Seminary, Wesley Seminary (IWU) and Wesley Seminary (Washington, DC).

Alyce McKenzie
The Sermon as Story (Parts I and II)

The Sermon as Story: Part I
We will learn to approach texts with an eye for character, setting, dialogue and conflict. We’ll practice shaping our sermons so they have a narrative flow from conflict to complication to resolution.

The Scenes within the Story: Part II
We will explore how to shape our sermons as a sequence of scenes rather than a series of points. We’ll learn how scenes can be used to gain and maintain listener attention and to teach biblical and theological insights so engagingly that people don’t even realize until later how much they learned!

Alyce M. McKenzie, PhD, is Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology. Alyce was the 2012 President of the Academy of Homiletics. She currently serves as the Director of the newly formed Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence.

Kwasi Kena
What’s the Point? Sermon Focus and Function (Parts I and II)
Participants will learn helpful ways to craft a primary focus of the sermon to provide a clear, memorable message. Once assigned focus, the sermon needs a definite function or purpose. Using excerpts from sermons and the participants own sermons as teaching materials, participants will learn how good sermons guide listeners to the central message and encourage a practical response. At the conclusion of this class participants will know how to craft sermons that effectively answer the questions: Preach what? For what? So what?
Kwasi Kena, PhD, serves as Assistant Professor of Christian Ministry, Wesley Seminary, Indiana Wesleyan University. Kwasi is an ordained elder of the United Methodist Church and has served as pastor, denominational leader and missionary.

Hulitt Gloer
Imaginative Reading for Creative Preaching (Friday)

Well read preachers are not merely in search of useful stories. Reading deepens the preacher. The preacher who presumes to speak for God, or even for the church, has to struggle every day to understand the surprising intersections of the human situation and the grace of God. The vicarious experience that arises from immersion in well-chosen literature is invaluable. We’ll explore some of the sources, methods, and homiletical impact of imaginative reading.
William Hulitt Gloer, PhD, serves as Professor of Preaching and Christian Scriptures, Truett Theological Seminary and Director of the Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching. Hulitt has lovingly served in numerous pastorates.

Joel Gregory
IMAGE-IN (Monday)

Come and explore the need for, qualities of and examples of metaphor and lived experiences in sermon. The class will demonstrate how to narrate metaphors in the text extending them into “narraphors.” The student will learn how to move from image in text to lived experience or the reverse.

Joel C. Gregory, PhD, is the Professor of Preaching at George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University. He is also the President of Joel Gregory Ministries and founder and teacher at Proclaimers Place® seminars.

Kate Bringardner and Dwight Moody
Performance Coaching (Friday)

This Master Class combines the techniques of the actor and the strategies of the storyteller to enrich the practice and performance of the preacher. Led by a father-daughter team the Class will utilize movement, game, imagination, and memory to introduce fresh ways of transforming your life experiences into compelling platform stories. Following the Master Class, Moody and Bringardner will serve throughout the National Festival as sermon evaluators for those attending the class.

Kate Bringardner, MFA, is an experienced actor, model, coach, and keynote speaker. She is the Founder and Principal of The Speaker’s Studio in Louisville, Kentucky.

Dwight A. Moody, PhD, is an experienced author, pastor, professor, and social entrepreneur. He is the Founder and President of the Academy of Preachers in Lexington, Kentucky.

Beecher Hicks

Tell the Story again and again until the people embrace God’s truth and we experience heaven on earth. Sit under a true homiletic master to empower your preaching and change the world.

Beecher Hicks, PhD, has recently transitioned from 37 years as pastor of the acclaimed Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, DC to his new service as Homiletics Professor for Wesley Seminary. His extraordinary resume’ spans a career of calling generations to action via the power of proclamation.

From the Page to the Pulpit

November 6, 2014

By Erica Evans Whitaker, AoP'14

 From the Page to the PulpitThe blank page. The blinking curser. Where to begin?

How will I ever get from the page to the pulpit?

Sermon preparation can be daunting and even terrifying. There are moments the mind races around with an abundance of thoughts and ideas as you type speedily onto the Word document. Then there are other times when the empty void of nothingness fills the mind and preacher paralysis sinks in.

I have had the opportunity to preach at several Festivals with the Academy of Preachers giving me many opportunities to practice my sermon preparation skills. There, of course, is a buffet of sermon preparation options that each preacher chooses according to their personal taste. As a young preacher I am still trying a little bit of this and a little bit of that hoping one day I will have the perfect platter of sermon preparation.

This past June, I preached at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Festival in Atlanta, Georgia. Before I got to the pulpit and even before I opened up a Word document, I needed to choose a text from the website theme “Tell Me a Story.” I chose Daniel 6, the famous story of King Darius, Daniel and the den of lions. Now what’s next?

I begin with lectio divina followed by about an hour of handwriting all my thoughts, ideas, questions and insights about the text. For me, mediation and handwriting brings both clarity and creativity. After spending time alone with God and the text I determine the parameters of the text and choose a reliable translation.

Next I begin the brooding process by typing out notes as I wrestle with the passage, study the characters, and look at the text from different angles and perspectives.  During this part of the process, I write the text in my own words, seeing which parts I highlight or even leave out.

The personal part of the process prepares my mind as I then turn to the thoughts of others by means of exegetical work. I absorb the historical, literary and theological context as well as my cultural and congregational context that will provide insight and depth to the sermon. After all the reflection and research is done, the sermon writing begins.

In my case, how will I take Daniel chapter six from the page to the pulpit? Writing the sermon becomes less daunting when I have lived with the text throughout these preparation stages. I took my work from bullet points and chicken scratch to full sentences and paragraphs. Throughout this process, I knew I wanted to really challenge myself with a different style of preaching that I had never tried before; parallel storytelling.

Here is my finished sermon titledThe Death of Pride.

Boston. Nashville. Dallas

November 4, 2014

By Dwight Moody

CBTS 150x83 Boston. Nashville. DallasWhat fabulous festivals this fall!

Harvard Divinity School hosted the first of our series of New England Festival of Young Preachers.  Twenty one came to preach, from Gordon Conwell Seminary, Yale Divinity School, Boston University, Eastern Nazarene University and other places far from Boston.

Then came Nashville.

Belmont University hosted the Nashville Regional Festival of Young Preachers.  Twenty young adults (and four plenary preachers) came to preach, pray, listen, learn, greet, and meet in the fabulous new Wedgewood Academic Center and Chapel.  They came from University of the South, American Baptist College, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Trevecca Nazarene University, Central Baptist Seminary (Nashvill extension), Fisk University, and Lindsey Wilson University.

Now comes Dallas.

There are preaching slots for 150 Young Preachers, including 15 for those age 29-35.  Other new features include four Master Classes, a Saturday night social, and Sunday morning worship in one of the four worship services of our host, Highland Park United Methodist Church.

Featured preachers include Joel Gregory of Truett Seminary, Beecher Hicks of Wesley Seminary (Washington), and Alyce McKenzie of Perkins School of Theology.

Registration is now open. www.academyofpreachers.net/festivals/Dallas2015.









Chaplains of the Common Good

October 15, 2014


Frank Thomas CTS 150x150 Chaplains of the Common Good Our guest columnist today is noted preacher and author Frank Thomas, professor of preaching at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dr. Thomas was a plenary preacher at the 2014 National Festival of Young Preachers.

In his book, Singing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land, the Reverend Doctor Joseph E. Lowery published a sermon entitled, “Chaplains for the Common Good,” from which I take the title of this article. In 1998, after his retirement from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Lowery joined with other activists and formed the Coalition for the People’s Agenda (CPA) – a coalition of advocacy groups on civil rights, peace, labor, women’s issues, justice, youth, human rights, etc.

At the end of each CPA meeting, they quoted together this line: “We are chaplains of the common good.” While many see the role of chaplain as reading scriptures and praying prayers at community, social, and even church events before eating or discussing business, they saw the chaplain role much deeper than that. A chaplain is the conscience of an organization, nation, or church, Lowery explained, urging all to do what is right and what is pleasing to God.

According to Lowery, chaplains nudge everyone toward the common good. Through Scriptures, prayers, and sometimes a clap of thunder, they jar us to righteous reality. Sometimes it is a flash of lightning making plain the landscape of societal ills; sometimes it is a whisper into our still conscience; sometimes it is an alarm clock saying it is time to rise; sometimes it’s a bugle call to engagement; sometimes it is a cool breeze of thankfulness following the glory of triumph or the agony of defeat; but it is always on the side of the Creator, always calling out the best in us for the common good.

I love the phrase “chaplains for the common good” because in this hour of American and global life we so desperately need preaching to have social significance; we need chaplains for the common good.

We have lost the sense of the common good in this nation.

In one of my most recent books, American Dream 2.0: A Christian Way Out of the Great Recession, I asked this questions:
• What is the centrality that holds this nation together?
• What is the common vision that unifies us?
• What is the common mission of America that we all share such to the extent that we all would be willing to sacrifice personal interest to see the vision become a reality?
• What is the dream of America?

There is no divine category of being called “American.” American is a socially constructed concept and identity based upon the adoption and agreement on certain values and principles. What values and principles do we share such that we might call our agreement, the common good? What would we be willing to sacrifice for the common good? We are chaplains of this common good!

What we have become is a nation of special interests and each special interest is more concerned about their special interest than the interest of the whole or the common good. We have become a nation of “Do not touch my….”
• Do not touch my guns.
• Do not touch my Medicare and Social Security.
• Do not touch my defense spending.
• Do not touch the military and prison industrial complex.
• Do not touch my corporate welfare.
• Do not touch my mortgage interest deduction.
• Do not touch my grants.
• Do not touch my farm subsidy.
• Do not touch my tax breaks.
• Do not touch my Section 8.
• Do not touch my entitlements.

As a result, we do not touch the concept of the common good.

We have even lost the concept of sacrifice in and for the nation. We can sacrifice if there is a common good, but because there is no common vision that we adhere to there is no common sacrifice. America is about our rights and what we can get, and as result “do not touch my stuff” has become a way of life. We live in the America of our benefit, and as long as we exclusively focus on our benefit, or the benefit of our group alone, we cannot see the common good. We have lost the American Dream.

We need chaplains for the common good. We need preaching of social significance to restore the dream of America.

If we would preach for the common good our preaching must not be partisan. Our preaching does not necessarily support one political party or persuasion or the other. Our preaching must consciously seek to unify and establish common ground. Recently, I wrote a sermon discussing the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri entitled “Can We Be Friends?” The sermon takes a position on violence against and criminalization of black youth, and the attempt is made to include everyone. You can view this sermon at

If we would preach for the common good, our preaching must go deeper than issues to the values that are underneath the various issues. I prepared a sermon supporting the Affordable Care Act because I could not fathom that we could be the richest nation in the world and 50 million people do not have health care. This fact of the uninsured in our nation said something about our values and the kind of nation that we were. Please see my sermon at http://drfrankathomas.com/media-room/entry/houses-fields-and-lands-jeremiah-329-15-ebenezer-baptist-church-atlanta-geo

Ultimately, we are the guardians of the souls of people and also of the soul of this nation. Our preaching must be positive, humble, and healing—not judgmental, arrogant, and condemnatory. Our preaching must speak for the least, the last, and the lost. We gospel preachers are the conscience of the nation and must call the nation back to the common good. We are always on the side of the Creator, calling out the best in us for the common good. In so doing, our preaching takes on social significance and we serve authentically as chaplains of the common good.

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