WHAT IS THE ACADEMY OF PREACHERS?
The Academy of Preachers is the sponsoring organization for Festivals of Young Preachers. The Festivals are a means to carry out AoP’s mission to identify, network, inspire and support young people in their call to gospel preaching.
WHAT IS A FESTIVAL OF YOUNG PREACHERS?
A Festival of Young Preachers may be a local, regional or national event wherein young people can explore their call to ministry by actually delivering a prepared, 15-minute sermon in a supportive environment. All Festivals of Young Preachers give participants the opportunity to network with and learn from other Young Preachers and ministry professionals.
WHO CAN PREACH?
Young Preachers from ages 14-35 and any Christian tradition are invited to preach in Festivals of Young Preachers.
HOW DO I SELECT A SERMON TEXT? IS THERE A THEME?
Each year the Academy of Preachers chooses a preaching theme that is used for the National Festival and the Regional Festivals leading up to the national event. The current Festival theme and pre-selected texts are available from the Preaching Guide.
You are encouraged to avoid subjects and language that are overly opinionated and divisive. The Festival is an opportunity to develop your skills as a preacher, not to orate political views or exclusive causes. Given the broad scope of the Academy of Preachers, our ecumenical harmony depends on respecting each other’s perspectives.
HOW LONG SHOULD MY SERMON BE?
You are assigned 15 minutes for your presentation. Please be aware that reading scripture and/or praying is included in your 15 minutes, unless done during your mentor’s introduction. Please prepare to stay within the 15-minute limit to avoid the time keeper from needing to end your sermon for you. You are welcome to preach for less than 15 minutes.
WHY SHOULD I COME?
The National Festival of Young Preachers is an opportunity to meet and make friends with other Young Preachers from a broad perspective. Though you will come from a wide range of Christian traditions and regions the Festival provides a unique common ground for all. Come to learn from each other in an intimate setting that allows for open dialogue and understanding. It takes place annually on January 2-5.
Preach! Even if it’s for the very first time, you will preach in a safe environment where you will receive helpful feedback from a professional and peers alike. As one Young Preacher said, “Sermon evaluations are GOLD for a Young Preacher,” and are always offered with respect.
You will worship with an amazing cross section of the CHURCH, hearing the richest voices in music and preaching. The Festival is truly unlike any other event you’ve attended.
Regional and local Festivals of Young Preachers are similar in scope, but are typically one day events.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A MENTOR?
We understand that you might not have a dedicated mentor. However, given how valuable coaching can be to a Young Preacher, you are encouraged to seek out someone and ask for help in preparation for the Festival. This may be your pastor, professor, or someone you trust to help guide you. Having even a temporary mentor is rewarding.
IS THERE AN EXPECTED STYLE OF PREACHING?
You may preach in any style you prefer, as long as it is natural to you and honors your church. Remember to preach to and for those present in the room.
WHAT IS THE DRESS CODE?
You are free to dress as you deem appropriate; your clothing may reflect the ministry situation in which you are most likely to preach, whether liturgical robes or shorts and sandals. We simply ask that you dress modestly and don’t wear clothing with provocative or political text.
WHAT IS A PREACHING CIRCLE?
You will be assigned to a Preaching Circle, which is a small group of peers led by an experienced AoP Young Preacher. The group is designed to build community with the freedom to ask questions and offer insights.
WHAT WILL MY PREACHING VENUE BE LIKE?
At the National Festival, Young Preachers preach in hotel breakout rooms, and at Regional Festivals you’ll preach in classrooms. The audience is typically 20 or less people seated in front of you. A pulpit is provided, though there may only be a microphone for the video recording.
Young Preachers are encouraged to stay behind the pulpit to remain in the video frame.
WILL MY SERMON BE RECORDED?
Videographers will record sermons preached at the Festival and they will be uploaded within 5 weeks to the AoP YouTube Channel. This service is included in the Festival fee. Additionally, videographers and photographers will be present throughout the National Festival of Young Preachers. If you not want to appear in images, or have your sermon recorded, you will need to contact firstname.lastname@example.org in advance.
HOW CAN I FUND MY FESTIVAL REGISTRATION?
Whether participating in a Regional or National Festival of Young Preachers, you are encouraged to seek sponsorship from your church, school, friends, &/or family. You may need to solicit support from multiple sources. The Festival is not only an investment in you, it is an investment in the future of the Church. Let your network know of your passion for preaching and how the Festival of Young Preachers can aid you in your call to ministry. You may choose to write letters, make phone calls, and/or post on social media to share your desire.
Limited scholarship funds have been donated to the Academy of Preachers to help support those Young Preachers who demonstrate significant need and cannot complete their support through other sources. Please contact email@example.com for more information.