Saturday, January 9, 2010

Festival of Young Preachers

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

This is one of my favorite pieces of scripture as it captures the fact that it is not I who preach but God who preaches through me. I think this sums up the last three days that I spent at the Festival of Young Preachers where 93 young people (ages 16-28) got up and shared the gospel with rooms full of people. It was absolutely amazing to see the amount of respect each one had for other preachers as we listened and learned from what one another had to say. As young Preachers from various backgrounds lifted each other up in prayer, in affirming ones gifts, and honoring what each had to say about Christ and his life. It was one of the most uplifting and encouraging experiences I have had and it was great to see the next generation of Preachers coming together and saying we are not going to let the boundaries out individual denominations place on us get in the way of learning from another partner in the faith and ministry. To see us gathering as strangers and leaving as friends for life, friends for eternity, friends grounded in the mission of preaching Jesus Christ.

Many of us left feeling as if this festival will have a larger impact on the way we approach our peers, knowing that we may not agree theologically, but we are grounded in the same truth, Jesus Christ who is the only truth. We may not agree with what each other had to say but we respected each other enough to listen and ponder the message before us. This festival for us shows that it is possible for the church to become the Church Christ intended for it to be. One working together for one purpose, that of preaching the Gospel.

For me, this festival was a reminder of the humility that comes with preaching. It started when I realized I was one of many who was preaching on the Mark 8:27-38 text. If I remember correctly out of the 20 or so sermons I heard including my own I know the text was used at least 5 times. Yet each and every one of us was given a different message to preach. So on day 2 (the day I was suppose to go) my voice decided it did not want to cooperate, and I sounded like a frog. It was a reminder that my voice alone is nothing, it is not my voice that preaches but the voice of God speaking through me, I am just God's instrument that he has gifted and called to share His Word with the world. And lastly as I drove home today, I remembered that I preach not only to those listening, but also to myself. I was energized and uplifted by the experience, I am excited about what God is doing and humbled to be a part of it. And with that, I too need to continue to follow where Christ is leading. The call to preach the gospel is speaking louder than ever, now I have to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Christ down this amazing road on which He leads.

All Blessings In Christ,