The Academy of Preachers (AoP), an initiative launched in 2009 that seeks to identify, network, inspire and support young men and women in their call to gospel preaching, will now be a part of Belmont University and the College of Theology and Christian Ministry, as Belmont provides new leadership and programming for the organization.
Dr. Darrell Gwaltney, dean of Belmont’s College of Theology and Christian Ministry, has participated in the work of the AoP since its beginning. Gwaltney has served as a mentor for many Belmont students who have preached at AoP festivals and assisted in its regional and national events.
At the conclusion of its grant funding provided by the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis, the AoP began to look for new approaches and partners to continue its work. When Gwaltney learned the organization was seeking a new home, he contacted the Board of Directors and AoP Founder Dr. Dwight Moody to explore bringing the Academy of Preachers to Belmont. After interviews with several schools, the board selected Belmont to transition the AoP into its new chapter.
“The Academy of Preachers provides an ecumenical setting for young men and women to explore their call to gospel preaching. I am delighted with the opportunity we now have to support and encourage the next generation of preachers,” said Gwaltney.
Since its foundation in 2009, the AoP has held regional and national events to encourage young preachers to explore their individual calling to proclaim the Gospel. By offering opportunities such as the Young Preachers Leadership Team, summer preaching camps, the Gospel Catalyst Network, Campus and Regional Festivals of Young Preachers and the National Festival of Young Preachers, the Academy has influenced the lives of more than 1,000 young Christian preachers from across the country. Under Belmont’s leadership, much of this same programming will continue to encourage young preachers for years to come.
Dr. Moody is thrilled with the strong step forward for AoP. “Belmont has been at the center of AoP from the beginning,” he said. “Their new leadership role is most promising for the rising generation of young preachers. Praise the Lord!”
The organization’s young preachers are generally high school, college, university and seminary students, between the ages of 14 and 35, or young preachers who are between schools or who have completed their education. Ecumenical in focus, broadly conceived in mission, the AoP believes gospel preaching holds social significance and makes a difference in the world. The AoP supports the promise of the gospel by offering guidance, direction and accountability for young preachers as they grow into their full potential.