INDIANAPOLIS – According to Tyler Best, 21, “The Indiana Conference Festival of Young Preachers is important because it provides an opportunity for people my age to grow and network with others with similar calls to ministry. These experiences serve as a catalyst for the Holy Spirit to mold effective leaders of the Gospel within the Indiana Conference.”

Best was coordinator of the Indiana Festival of Young Preachers event held just hours before the 2014 Indiana Annual Conference Session at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.

The Indiana Conference hosted 16 young preachers for the Second Annual Indiana Festival of Young Preachers Thursday morning, May 29. Participants ranged in age from 14 to 28 years, all with aspirations to become Gospel preachers.

This year’s theme was “Tell Me a Story.” Each young preacher chose a passage from a selection offered by the Academy of Preachers (AoP). The AoP developed the Festival of Young Preachers to encourage and inspire young people to explore their callings as Gospel preachers. Each year, AoP develops a new theme and a list of passages so young preachers can continue to explore their call to preaching at AoP events across the nation.

After delivering their sermons, the young preachers attended a luncheon-workshop led by the Revs. Jill Howard of Trafalgar and Tony Johnson of Newburgh. Howard led a panel of ordained clergy who received questions from the young preachers about preaching and ministry. Johnson led a workshop entitled “Making the Story Stick” that provided practical tips for preaching with a story.

Julia Pricket, a first-time participant of the festival, said she valued her experience delivering her sermon to an audience of the Indiana Conference. “My experience with the festival of young preachers was incredibly useful in my call to ministry,” she said. “I received really useful feedback on my preaching style and felt blessed by the whole experience. I hope I have the opportunity to be a part of this again next year.”

The celebration of young voices continued Thursday night at an “Eat, Preach and Praise Dinner” emceed by Butler University senior, Brittany Stephan. The young preachers of the evening were Eric Gentry, Hannah Wehmeyer, Ronnie Bell, Melissa Zimmerman and Daniel Cho. Each shared his or her calling to ministry and where he or she has seen God working in young people.

Jennifer Meadows served as a reporter for the Indiana Conference Communication Team at the annual conference session. She is a recent graduate of the University of Indianapolis and will begin her studies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., later this year.

Photo by Jennifer Meadows

Sixteen young adults were able to participate in the Festival of Young Preachers meeting adjacent to the Indiana Annual Conference Session in Indianapolis May 29.