by Tim Hobbs, Pastor, Community Baptist Church
Roger Jasper began the Academy of Preachers Breakout Session by telling us that the purpose of the Academy is to “bring encouragement to young preachers.” Having benefited from such encouragement when I was younger, I am all for offering encouragement to those coming along now. I particularly wanted to attend this session because I am part of the village that raised one of the preachers. I baptized Kelsi Dunham and am invested in her life, so I am eager to offer encouragement to her as she sticks her toe in the waters of proclamation. Little did I know that I would be the one encouraged.
Chris Liles was first up to bat and drew us into his sermon with stories of baseball and Doubting Thomas making the point that sometimes our lives are defined by our worst moments. But God is the redemptive God of love and forgiveness.
Sixteen-year-old Kelsi used four chairs as visual aids, which reminded me of Jesus’ parable of the Soils. Kelsi’s chairs represented (1) ambivalence to God’s teaching, (2) lukewarm acceptance, (3) strong participation but no passion, and (4) true discipleship---“putting feet and passion to our desire to serve God.”
I must say, I was very proud of both of these young preachers, and left the session with great confidence that the future state of proclamation is in good hands.