Dwight A. Moody, the founder and president of the Academy of Preachers, has been recruiting potential preachers at Samford University and Birmingham-Southern College to take part in an effort aimed at reigniting an interest in preaching.
The academy organizes a national festival of preaching each year, summer camps and workshops for aspiring ministers ages 16 to 28, of all denominations. Modern seminary students often seek to work in ministry outside the pulpit, said Moody, former dean of the chapel at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky.
“Today half of seminary and divinity school students are women, and very few if any want to preach,” Moody said. “Some believe that preaching is no longer a socially significant vocation. It has lost part of its punch.”
From the First Great Awakening through the civil rights movement — from theologian Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” in 1741 to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” sermon in Memphis the night before he was killed in 1968 — preachers have had a resounding influence on U.S. culture.
It’s still true to a certain extent, Moody said.
“Every week in America, more people hear a sermon than engage in any other communal act,” Moody said. “Preaching still has an important influence.”
Moody hopes to improve the quality of preaching in America by attracting top talent to the pulpit.
“It’s the Jesus version of ‘American Idol,'” Moody said. “We’re trying to attract talented young people and encourage them to stick to it.”
I’ve seen some posts in recently that have kind of gone along with this sentiment… that preaching isn’t necessarily the best way to reach people any more.
I know many people that hold a very high view of preaching. Most all of them are preachers.
Is preaching something that is foundationally biblical? I mean, I know that Jesus taught. After all, we call it the ‘sermon’ on the mount for crying out loud.
But most of Jesus’ time was not ‘preaching’ per se, was it?
And even Jesus’ ‘preaching’ was NOT done in the context of a church service. Didn’t it mostly happen spontaneously?
We know the early church had elders and leaders. But did they have ‘preachers’ as we know them today?
Most preachers that I know LOVE to preach. LOVE it. Â And most guard their preaching time as closely as they do their first-born son. Is this good/bad? Biblical/extra-biblical?
What do you think?