By Erica Whitaker
This first female preacher I ever heard gave me a snippet of wisdom that I continue to carry in my suit pocket throughout my preaching ministry.
She said “Preach anywhere and everywhere. Never pass up an opportunity to preach.” Since I started preaching four years ago, I have never said “no” to a preaching invitation. I’ve preached in hospitals, seminaries, a parking lot, a number of beautiful sanctuaries, a classroom, a lecture hall and a fitness center that was converted into a worship room. Those listening ranged from children to church elders, hospital patients to high school students, ranchers to business people—and from one gracious listener to seven hundred people.
You can’t be picky in the beginning of your preaching career. No matter the size of space or number of individuals listening, when I was asked to preach, I preached— anywhere and everywhere.
The Academy of Preachers has been a place for me to preach and preach then preach some more. They provide opportunities for preachers at the beginning of their preaching careers to practice, practice, practice. I quickly learned that the more I preach, the more doors open for preaching opportunities.
I started off preaching at a small campus Festival of Young Preachers at Truett Seminary. Then I got a scholarship to preach at the National Festival that year in Indianapolis. This preaching opportunity led me to preach in another Festival at the CBF General Assembly in Atlanta in 2014. A woman from Campbell University heard my sermon and asked me to preach at one of their chapel services in the fall. I preached again at this year’s National Festival in Dallas and a pastor from Baton Rouge heard my sermon—I received an invitation to come preach at his church on Palm Sunday.
Preaching leads to more preaching.
Each Festival of Young Preachers is an open door to preach. These preaching opportunities are a place of encouragement opening door after door. The first several preaching opportunities are the scariest but then your courage builds along with your preaching ability. So whether you are in high school, college, seminary or in your first church, preach and preach and then preach some more.
You never know where preaching will lead you.
The next opportunity will be in Dallas June 17-18 at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Festival of Young Preachers co-sponsored by the Academy of Preachers and Truett Theological Seminary. www.academyofpreachers.net/cbf-festival-young-preachers/