ACU is set to host the 2014 Texas Regional Festival of Young Preachers March 28-29. The event is open to aspiring preachers from ages 14-28. Those who register will be given the opportunity to listen to seminars, work on their individual talents and be granted a 15-minute time slot to preach a sermon and receive feedback.
“The festival is designed to let young people try preaching on for size in a safe environment,” said Tim Sensing, associate dean of the graduate school of theology. “Some may discover that preaching is not in their futures, and that’s OK. For others, the festival could be just the venue for them to explore and discover a passion that cannot be quenched.”
Some of the keynote speakers for the festival include ACU graduates and undergraduate students. Faculty from the Graduate School of Theology will offer their knowledge and advice to hopeful preachers. Dr. Mindi Thompson, Dr. Jeanene Reese, Dr. James Thompson, and Randy Harris will all look to advise during the festival.
The main speaker for the event is Jonathan Storment, preacher for the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, a church highly attended by ACU students and faculty.
“When the Academy of Preachers asked me for a recommendation for a speaker, I immediately thought of Jonathan,” Sensing said. “His interest for young preachers is exemplified in his mentoring of them each year at the Highland Church of Christ. Jonathan connects with young preachers because of his great passion for the gospel.”
Storment will look to focus on a few key topics in his address to the participants of the festival. He plans to offer advice on how preaching is incomplete, how all preachers experience enlightenment in their sermons and even offer a brief history lesson. Storment said he will likely draw on experiences of Dr. Martin Luther King.
“I’ll probably tell them about how Dr. King’s sermon was actually something he had worked on for days, written down in manuscript form, rehearsed and practiced, and right before it was his time to speak, he handed his notes to a friend, stood up and gave an entirely different sermon,” Storment said. “This is one of the best examples in recent history of the Holy Spirit in preaching, Dr. King gave a dream, because a dream was given to him.”
Storment has earned the reputation of being one of the most active mentors for young and growing ministers. He has worked with many biblical text majors and has given many of them the opportunity to gain experience in preaching.
“We’ve got a program for students and young adults who want to be preachers,” Storment said. “They get a chance to preach, to serve a local church and get involved in ministries that they are passionate about. I grew up in a 10-person church that called me to preach. The churches I’ve been a part of have been very generous to me and helped me find my calling and my voice. I can’t imagine not passing that on.”