“It’s a weekly call that, while daunting, is a gift.”
These are the words David Telfort, AoP ’12, uses to describe his call to the ministry of preaching. Telfort, a graduate of Yale Divinity school and an ordained clergy of the United Church of Christ, recently began serving as the pastor of Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, New York. Prior to this new endeavor, he was a Lily Resident at Plymouth United Church of Christ in Des Moines, Iowa.
Before branching out to these opportunities, though, Telfort was deeply impacted by the AoP. His time with the AoP first began with an invitation to a preaching camp in 2011, hosted by AoP and the Fund for Theological Exploration. He was inducted as a member of the AoP at his first National Festival in January 2012. He then served for many years as a Gospel Catalyst. “I look back on AoP experiences that have both encouraged and challenged my preaching in powerful ways,” Telfort stated. “AoP affirmed that the Spirit had deposited something in me the world needed to hear.”
Telfort emphasizes the importance of context in the realm of preaching and ministry. He admits that it is tempting to jump from one season directly into the next, but encourages any preacher to ease from one to another. “Learn your congregation and context,” he encouraged. “Without knowing the people, you will never communicate effectively.” In order to achieve this end, Telfort’s first year at LAPC will consist of a lot of listening. “I will be meeting with congregants, community leaders, activists, and elected officials. My training as a community organizer has taught me that it is in the stories of people that we hear what keeps them up at night or brings them joy. I am learning to listen to these things so they inform how I approach, engage, and think about the texts I preach from.”