“Who will be the next generation of Kingdom leaders?” That was the question that Pepperdine University Youth Leadership Initiative and the North American Christian Convention sought to answer when they kicked off the Next Gen Preacher Search. Looking for the next great teachers and preachers of our age, they sent out a call for submissions and received over one hundred videos in answer.
Young preachers from across the country recorded and submitted five-minute sermons to the competition. A panel of homiletics professors and ministers evaluated the sermons based on content, creativity, clarity, and passion. Out of all of the submissions, Johnson University students Jacob Brown, Brian Cook, Graham Strondak, MacKenzie Underhill, and Julianna Zoch, along with twenty-one other young preachers, were selected as semi-finalists and invited to a rigorous training event at Pepperdine University this past February.
At the conclusion of the weekend, the participants once again took to their pulpits. Using every ounce of charisma and training they’d gleaned from their time at Pepperdine they preached their five-minute submissions again. Another panel of professors and preachers evaluated these sermons and chose four finalists, one of whom was Johnson University student, Jacob Brown.
Brown was reinvigorated by his time at the competition, exclaiming, “Participating in the Next Gen Preacher Search was truly a unique opportunity. I have never been so encouraged by an event as I was during our training in February. It was inspiring to spend the weekend with so many young and highly-gifted communicators who have a passion for God and for his Word.”
Brown and the other three finalists will get the chance to preach their sermons at the North American Christian Convention, The Pepperdine Bible Lectures, Winterfest conferences in Texas and Tennessee, and other prominent events over the course of the next year.
Brown is excited by the prospect of continuing to preach across the country. “As I rise to meet the challenge, I hear an echo of Paul’s words— the words he shares with each one of us. Wherever you go, and no matter what you do, ‘Preach the Word!’”
Congratulations to Jacob and to all the rest of the Johnson University finalists for making it to the semi-finals and for truly being a wonderful example of embracing the mission of the University to shoulder the work and “…extend the kingdom of God among all nations.”
If you’re interested in applying for next year’s competition, why not check out their website here.