By: Darnell Fennell
August 23, 2011
FTE Fellows attending the FTE and AOP Preaching Camp in August 2011
It has been almost two weeks since I along with 9 other young preachers participated in the FTE and The Academy of Preachers produced preaching camp, yet I still feel the residue of this experience upon me. We stayed up all night writing and sharing sermon ideas, I will never forget the time dedicated to helping shape our preaching skills, from the suggestions of peers and that of our mentors. I enjoyed all the many times of assisting and encouraging us in the art and presentation of preaching.
In the midst of all the tips and lessons on strengthening our preaching, I learned a powerful lesson about the Gospel in which we preach. It was in community with 9 other fellow preachers from various faith traditions, socioeconomic status, race, gender, sexuality, and not to mention theological viewpoints, yet we gathered in love without any strife and we proclaimed the Gospel. I must admit as one who considers himself quite liberal, I often find myself avoiding conservatives because of our differences, but it was at this preaching camp that I saw just how the gospel GATHERS! I am deeply saddened how in today’s society where it is often difficult if not impossible to gather clergy together, unless they share the same denominational affiliations or theological viewpoints. Dr. Dwight Moody is doing a new thing, in the vision of the Academy of Preachers. I am excited to be a part of this much needed new thing, for to allow a diverse make up of preachers to gather and share the unifying Gospel.
“If the Gospel gathers, why then is Christianity so divided?”
As I preacher I find myself in awe by the power of the Gospel that I preach; it has the power to gather us all in our many differences. In a time which Christianity seems to be distinctly divided between the left and the right, I was glad to witness at preaching camp, how the Good News has the drawing power to pull both sides together. I left Atlanta in awe and assured that there is Hope for the future of the Church, for the Gospel we preach has a way of pulling us from our secluded corners to a unified space. We as individuals may separate ourselves from one another but the Gospel has the ability to gather us in a bond of love, when choose not just preach the Gospel but when we embody the Gospel.
The question I raise to myself as a Christian, if the Gospel gathers, why then is Christianity so divided?