Young Preachers

“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...
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Micah Spicer firmly believes that the most important way to become a better preacher is through experience. “Reading books about preaching, while they offer helpful insights, is not going to transform someone into a proficient preacher,” Spicer stated.  “Instead, like many crafts, one has to practice.”  The Academy of Preachers provided an avenue for him...
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Erica Whitaker is no stranger to the work of the Academy of Preachers. Whitaker preached at her first National Festival of Young Preachers and served as Gospel Catalyst in 2014 just before serving as a Pastoral Resident at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. She accepted the positon just after receiving her M.Div. from George...
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“The National Festival this year was amazing and one of the best tings I’ve ever been a part of. It changed my entire life.” So wrote one Young Preacher (YP) in completing the 2017 AoP YP Survey in April. Eighty one Young Preachers, out of the 660 who have attended a National Festival, were contacted...
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“I never realized ministerial work could be entrepreneurial,” said Joshua Payne, AoP’17 as he sat in a workshop at the National Festival of Young Preachers. “I always associated the word ‘entrepreneur’ with the drive to make money.”  * That is one of the many misconceptions of the entrepreneurial spirit, explained AoP President Dwight A. Moody,...
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By Joseph T. Howard, AoP’12 What began as a dream after seeing a video on YouTube has blossomed into one of the most important things in my life. The Academy of Preachers is without a doubt one of the best things that has ever happened to me, as both a Christian and a preacher. Through...
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By Brittney Stephan, AoP’14 When I think of the impact that the Academy of Preachers has had on my life, an illustration comes to mind.  We have all picked up a pebble at one time or another and tossed it into a still pond and watched the ripple effect that ensues.  There is a similar...
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Regional Festivals for Young Preachers will be held in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Texas during 2015 with the preaching theme HEAVEN & EARTH. Green Lake Conference Center in beautiful Green Lake, Wisconsin, will hold its second Regional Festival on July 7-8. Last year the lake-front resort welcomed 10 Young Preachers for their first AoP event,...
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Tyler BestIt is hard to believe that just over a week has passed since the inaugural Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church (INUMC) Festival of Young Preachers.  The lingering impact causes me to reflect on the experience and imagine the possibilities for the future.  Hearing eighteen young preachers, ages 14 – 26, from all over Indiana passionately preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ leads to long term inspiration.  You will have the opportunity to view these young preachers in action on YouTube in the next few days.  More than ever, this Festival has given me new hope in two very key areas.
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IMG_7871David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. I cant go in these, he protested to Saul. Im not used to them. So David took them off again.

(1st Samuel 17:39, NLT)

A few months ago as I rode the MARTA to the National Festival of Young Preachers a friend and I talked about the changing demographics of the church. She shared how her pastors back home, once a month, hold church services Sunday evenings in a coffee shop where they feed a younger, “unchurched” crowd hungry to learn more about Jesus. A year earlier, I heard stories about churches who similarly took their ministry outside of Sunday worship and the four walls of the church. One in Philadelphia, PA set up shop outside of a popular nightclub and served hungry club patrons with free pizza printing bible verses and service times on their napkins. Another ministry in Atlanta, GA decided that “conventional” worship services were not enough anymore. They forwent normal worship and used Sundays as prayer time and agenda setting for a week full of localized service, community organizing and neighborhood restoration. As I sat on the smooth, sight-filled ride to the heart of Atlanta getting ready to preach a sermon I asked myself, “What will preaching look, feel, sound and taste like for this new generation?” How does one preach in a coffee shop? How does one proclaim the gospel on a pizza truck to club goers at three a.m.? As we preach in our churches, how do we reach and hold in balance congregations filled with those who grew up in Sunday school their entire lives and crave something new, with those who do not know the story of Easter? How do we preach to a new generation?
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