Last week, over 1,000 preachers gathered in Atlanta to listen to other people preach. For many of them, it’s the only sermon they’ll hear all year that they didn’t write themselves.
Sounds like the beginning of a comedy routine, but it isn’t. It’s a week-long conference called the Festival of Homiletics , and it’s been happening every May for 24 years.
This year, I got to attend, as the very first trip of the Graduate Preaching Fellowship.
I got to try out my identity as a “Preaching Fellow” – Handing out business cards and introducing myself as a seminary graduate.
I also got to meet some famous preachers.
You might not know that there are famous preachers, probably because most of them are seminary professors, and they are only famous to other preachers. But there were a few authors, writers, and other famous people (like the pastor who preaches from the same pulpit where Dr. Martin Luther King preached).
In the midst of all those famous preachers, I got to meet & greet with one of them!
Dr. Karoline Lewis is the professor who leads the Graduate Preaching Fellowship application process. She is the one who called to tell me I won the award! She also teaches at my seminary, but I haven’t been in her class. She was just as excited to meet me in person as I was to meet her!
Sometime in the next year, she might get to hear me preach, just like I got to hear her. I doubt she’ll be at my book signing 😉 but who knows?
In the meantime, I’m going to frame one thing she said during her lecture that impacted me:
The most precious grace God gives to us is the grace to be ourselves.
God takes us just as we are, and equips us for the ministry to which we’re called. But how often do we believe Satan’s lies – the lies that tell us our voice won’t be heard because who we are isn’t good enough for others to listen.
I may not be famous (yet). But I am called by God and I will not keep God’s good news story to myself.