What is the Future of Preaching? I’ve Seen It!
I have written several times about the cloudy horizons of Christianity in America. I write today to say I can see some bright sunshine pushing through the clouds.
The source of the sunshine is a group of young preachers.
Amidst the many challenges of the church today, preaching serves as the cornerstone to the future of the church. Given the importance of preaching, you may wonder about its future.
I do and I want to say I have seen the future of preaching and I like very much what I see.
There is hope for the church in the young preachers among us.
I am at the annual Festival of Young Preachers held by the Academy of Preachers. It is cold outside here in Indianapolis but very warm in all the preaching rooms as young men and women, aged 14-28, share the gospel.
Many of them are preaching for the first time, some of them for the second or third, and others have a bit more experience. These young men and women represent the broad expanse of the kingdom of God.
There are Baptists, Roman Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Church of God, Disciples of Christ, Orthodox, and on and on of all the many expressions of Christianity.
The Academy of Preaching “seeks to Identify, Network, Support and Inspire young people in their call to Gospel preaching.” You can learn more about the Academy here and their staff led by their President Dr. Dwight A. Moody here. They have a great and integral mission of supporting and encouraging gospel preaching among young adults.
Yesterday, I served as a “coach” and listened to nine different young men and women. They represented the wonderful diversity of this group of young preachers.
There was Aric, a young third generation preacher who attends Morehouse College; Shane, a student at St. Meinrad’s Seminary preparing to be ordained as a deacon in the Roman Catholic church in March as a step toward an ordination into the priesthood next year; Becca, a young woman preparing to be a church planter while a student at Anderson University School of Theology; and Jenna, an associate pastor in a Methodist church set to graduate from Brite Divinity School this spring.
I should mention, as well, Adam, who left his intended track of the Air Force academy for a life of ministry; or Joshua, who graduates from Truett Theological Seminary this spring; or Craig, a student at Yale Divinity School preparing to preach; or Markel, preaching for just his second time; or Aaron, a student at Chandler Seminary and now serving a Mennonite congregation.
These are just nine of the 100 young preachers here this weekend. Go to the Academy of Preaching’s YouTube channel and you can see previous years preachers and the preachers from this year as they post their videos.
Additionally, four of my former students and one of my current students are here. Andre, Josh, Larkin, Sarah, and Terrell all are in the early stages of their ministry finishing college or seminary and working in churches in various capacities. They join many other Belmont grads who have answered the call of God upon their lives.
What is the future of preaching? It rests in the hearts and minds and lives of young men and women across the Christian community.
What is the future of preaching? It is expressed in the creativity and energy of a new generation of believers who share the gospel out of their own experiences and traditions.
What is the future of preaching? Bright, blazingly bright, excitedly bright!
Despite the many challenges the church faces today, its future rests in the hands of the young men and women who will carry the gospel message to a new generation.
I’ve seen that future and the gospel is in good hands. Encourage a young preacher today.