Saturday, January 8, 2011

National Festival Of Young Preachers

What a wonderful way to start the new year!

The past three days I have been at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville Kentucky taking part in the National Festival of Young Preachers. My husband, although he has been a minister for almost 8 years now, is still considered a young preacher.

The days were filled with sermon after sermon. The evenings were filled with fellowship! The nights were my time to explore.

Thursday was the first full day. We went to a fabulous worship service packed full of young ministers and minister's spouses. It was empowering to be surrounded by people of different color and denominational backgrounds, all around our same age and all so excited about their call into the ministry.

Thursday evening came to a close with a wonderful Kentucky style dinner of hot browns, greens and derby pies. I couldn't help but feel the “wow factor” as I looked around the room full of intelligent people, all with the same calling to preach. There were students from Yale, Harvard, Duke, Wake Forest, Morehouse, Baylor, Vanderbilt .............the list goes on.

I must also mention that my Husband was recognized for being in his first published book!!! YAY ROGER!! One of his sermons has been published in the book A Beautiful Thing edited by Lee Huckleberry and published by Chalice Press. 

Friday evening was very special! Roger and I got the opportunity to hang with a bunch of students from Morehouse College. For those of you who don't know, Morehouse College is the college that the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr attended. For me, it was incredible to be able to sit at a bar, listening to jazz music, while talking to students from Morehouse College about Rev Martin Luther King Jr and the differences between the white and black culture in regards to the ministry.

I never get to talk about that stuff with anyone so to be able to talk about it with intelligent students from Morehouse College was AWESOME!

Later we all noticed that it was snowing outside and took a small FREEZING walk through the snow together before going back into the hotel  to watch some incredible young black preachers fire themselves up for “My Jesus!” By this point it was midnight and the pulpit was still occupied by "The Holy Ghost."

What an awesome experience that was! Lots of dancing, yelling, hand clapping and the “MY LORD OH MY LORD!” from the congregation. I loved that!

The past 3 days have been healing and empowering.

I went to the Festival broken and confused. The past 7 ½ years of our ministry have been devoted to finding our voice, discerning our call and swimming threw the muddy waters of The Church. It leaves a person discouraged to look around only to find older ministers who are experiencing ministerial burn out. I actually had one minister tell me when he found out I was attending seminary “don't do it. It isn't even worth it. There are nothing but back stabbing people in the churches today.”

Being able to have the opportunity to be surrounded by young people so excited about being called into the ministry was powerful. Being able to have the opportunity to listen to young preachers, of both genders, from different denominational and cultural backgrounds, was so encouraging. I learned so much about myself, about my ministry and about my culture while discovering the uniqueness that each of us bring to the pulpit.

I have become fascinated with the fact that so many young women have stepped up to the pulpit and declared “yes, God called me to preach even though I don't have a penis!” I love it! I love our generation! I love that our generation sees a God who isn't limited to only using one gender to declare His love to a broken world. I LOVE THAT!

Your Sons and Daughters shall prophesy!

Acts 2:17 “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”

The Festival was a sanctuary for this young ministerial couple. A place where we were both given the chance to find our voice and be mentored about the joyful yet challenging role of pastor.

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