noun: festival; plural noun: festivals
1. a day or period of celebration, typically a religious commemoration.
synonyms: fair, carnival, fiesta, etc.
You want to know the best part of being at a festival? It’s not the food. It’s not the music. It’s not the people watching. While all of those things make a festival a WONDERFUL experience, they are subcategories of the festival. What makes it really great is the diversity and the community. At any festival you can meet dozens of people from various backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and other things that from the outside could deter us from approaching them. However, it is the common cause of the festival that brings attendees together. There is a common ground that outweighs any anxieties about others. There is an excitement about sharing your experience with someone else.
Enter the Academy of Preachers. This is more than a conference. We are all gathered in one place to celebrate each others callings. We are all together for a common cause. In fact, those who know of the Academy of Preachers don’t refer to it by such terms, rather it is the FESTIVAL of preachers.
This festival celebrates our diversity. This festival celebrates community. We have come together from various schools, traditions, backgrounds, and theological orientations, but none of those things have taken away from our celebration. As Matthew put it, "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!"
I couldn’t be more grateful for the hope that this festival lends me. The hope for a greater community in the body of Christ. A hope that the church will look past religiosity, denomination, tradition, and other hang ups, embrace diversity and move into a greater place of intimacy in God.