A Festival of Young Preachers Reflection

Thursday, Jan 2nd, 2014

I’M EXCITED RIGHT NOW.

…Which is exactly opposite of what I felt at 7:39 A.M this morning while boarding my flight to Indianapolis headed to the Academy of Preachers’ conference.

This morning I was completely drained. I was completely unmotivated to come to the conference.

Why?

The end of December is insanity. The Advent season brings with it an endless festive party parade. I had been working long hours at work, fighting off repetitive winter illness, and prepping for another semester of courses, and fending off recurrent “I’m about to preach for first time in 5 years” nerves. The cherry on top of this stress sundae? 3 hours of sleep before my fight.

But then I boarded my flight and met an interesting character named Barry.

Now, I’m an introvert, and I don’t like talking to strangers, especially on flights. Yet, I decided to strike up a conversation.

Barry and I talked the entire flight.

Barry was traveling back to his hometown after attending a Christian conference in downtown Kansas City. We spent the entire time talking about the beauty of the Gospel and the bride of Christ, the church—in all of its perfectly imperfect diversity.

As the conversation ended and I fumbled around attempting (unsuccessfully) to find my boarding pass in order to make the connecting flight, an interesting thought occurred to me.

The Academy of Preachers’ festival is all about the wonderful diversity of the body. There are dozens and dozens of schools, traditions, backgrounds, and theological orientations represented here. This week I’ll get an opportunity to hear multiple sermons all delivered from a place of beautiful diversity.

Yet, from this place of diversity, everyone at the festival is focused on glorifying Jesus—all of these different dimension all reflecting the goodness and mercy of our God!

IT’S PHENOMENAL. IT’S EXCITING.

Just in the few hours I have spent at the conference center—talking to other young preachers—I feel rejuvenated and totally pumped for the rest of the week. Celebrating God in our diversity is worth being excited about. As we grow together through the festival, we’ll taste just a sampling of what a ultimately united church will look like when Jesus returns. We’ll get to eat together, worship together, laugh together, and pursue the heart of God together. Absolutely wonderful.

I don’t know what the rest of the week will hold—what challenges and opportunities it may present.

But I do know one thing.

I’m excited about it. I’m excited because I get to experience in with a diverse group of Christians.

Matthew Sievert