By Brittany Krebs
Once upon a time there was a young high school student… ok, ok, I confess: this is my story. I was in high school when I first felt that tug toward ministry. I knew I loved being involved in church and began to wonder if God was calling me to the ministry. Throughout high school my church gave me countless opportunities to exercise my gifts and encouraged me to seek God’s voice as I looked toward the future. I left for college wondering if Music Ministry would be a stop on my journey.
My college experience only magnified this call. During the summers I interned at my home church, trying almost every type of ministry possible. One summer I knew I could resist it no longer—God was calling me to the ministry.
But I was a little unsure about the extent of my call. I knew God called women to preach…but that was not my call. I would pursue music ministry. Yet, my ministry never seemed to be limited to music.
A couple years after college graduation I decided it was time to go to seminary. During my first semester I enrolled in the required preaching course. “Better get it over with,” I thought. I was surprised to find something come alive in me as I learned to craft and preach sermons. Before I knew it, I was preaching at a campus Festival of Young Preachers, in my own church, as a guest in other churches and at the Academy of Preachers’ National Festival of Preachers.
Let’s fast forward past the stress of papers and exams to last summer at the CBF Festival of Preachers. I had just graduated from seminary, been ordained to the gospel ministry and was looking for a church to serve. More importantly, I was finally able to voice what had been forming all along—“God is calling me to be a pastor.”
Preaching at the CBF Festival allowed me to test this call on a bigger stage. I met new people, connected with other ministers and received formative feedback. My participation in the Festival gave me a sense of purpose and belonging as I sought to find my place as a young minister in the larger fellowship. I wonder what would have happened if the Academy of Preachers became part of my story earlier? Might I have found this voice sooner?
This is my story. It is a story shaped by a large cast of characters nudging me, encouraging me and even pushing me to answer God’s call. It is a story marked by significant opportunities where I have discovered gifts I did not know I had—and the AoP’s Festival of Young Preachers has been an important part of this process.
This summer, for the third time, the Academy of Preachers is partnering with CBF to host a Festival of Young Preachers at General Assembly, June 26-27. Sixteen young preachers (teens, college and seminary students) will preach on the theme “Tell Me a Story” during four workshop sessions in Atlanta. These young preachers will have their own stories shaped by this significant opportunity and by encouraging voices from within the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Each Young Preacher will be assigned a “CBF Fan” who will partner with the young preacher, offering encouragement and come together for prayer and conversation. They will also receive professional, written feedback. The young preachers will be encouraged by each other and by those of you who come to cheer us on.
This year will also feature the first set of CBF Young Preacher cards. These fun collectors’ items will be available at various exhibit tables throughout the conference. Collect a complete set to hear more of these Young Preachers’ stories and for the chance to win prizes!
CBF is a vital part of many of our stories and the CBF Festival of Young Preachers helps young ministers find their place within CBF’s larger story. The CBF Festival of Young Preachers is just one of the ways young preachers, like me, can find their place in this fellowship—and it takes all of us.
Are you between the ages of 14 and 28 and interested in preaching at the festival? Sign up now! Spots are limited.
Do you know of students in your church that might need you to help them see their giftedness for ministry? Have you noticed a potential gift for preaching in a youth, college or seminary student that needs to be nurtured? Encourage them to register for the CBF Festival of Young Preachers.
Do you remember those friendly faces that encouraged you when you were new to the ministry? Pay it forward by signing up to be a CBF Fan.
Are you curious about the future of CBF? Come to our workshops during the Assembly and hear stories of our faith told through the voice of a young preacher.
Visit http://www.academyofpreachers.net/festivals/cbf-festival-young-preachers/ for more details.
Make the CBF Festival of Preachers part of your story. I am confident that God will inspire us all in exciting and unexpected ways.