The Preaching Conference is offered to help high school young men develop their ability to communicate God’s Word clearly and effectively. You will (1) prepare one sermon to preach two times, (2) attend workshops designed to help with sermon construction and delivery, and (3) receive one-on-one feedback and coaching.
In addition to the Preaching Conference, you may enter up to two Festival individual/solo contests and may compete in the group contests.
You should prepare a 10- to 12-minute sermon. The sermon will be evaluated on the basis of content and delivery. The sermon may be designed to edify believers or evangelize the lost.
You may use an outline when preaching. The sermon should be well prepared but not memorized word for word.
Each time you preach you should plan to have 2 copies of your sermon outline to present to the judges. You may use the Bellis Copy Center on campus to make additional copies.
You will preach your sermon at least two times. Between the first and second rounds you will have an opportunity to watch a portion of your sermon on video, get feedback from an experienced preacher, and make any changes.
We ask that you preach from the King James Version.
You will benefit from the following:
- The opportunity to preach God’s Word
- Helpful written feedback from members of the School of Religion and Seminary faculty
- First-round message recorded on DVD
- One-on-one coaching from an experienced preacher
- Workshop sessions designed to aid in sermon construction and delivery
- A free book for those who attend the workshop sessions
- Picnic and informal interaction with School of Religion and Seminary faculty
- Keep in mind that we are not looking for the “perfect” sermon. Can you stand up in front of a group of people and with some degree of confidence and clarity say what God has said in His Word? That’s what we’re looking for.
- Do not view the Preaching Conference as a contest. Don’t work hard to advance. Work hard to grow in your ability to communicate God’s Word. Let God determine who advances and who does not.
- We do not assume that every participant has the same level of preaching experience, giftedness, sense of calling to the ministry, and preaching style. Our desire is to work with you where you are and take you to the next level.
- Pay attention to the comments and suggestions your coaches give you, especially repeated ones. When you sit down and view a portion of your sermon, look for those things, and then ask for help in addressing those areas of weakness. Be humble and teachable.
Sermon Presentation Helps
- Biblical content of message. The primary task of the preacher is to be faithful in saying what God said. If you need help understanding any of the Bible verses you are preaching from, consult someone you know and trust, like a Bible teacher or pastor.
- Appropriate illustrations. Illustrations are powerful tools to help your audience see and feel the truth. Be sure to incorporate some stories or analogies in your sermon.
- Appropriate application. Think about your target audience as you prepare. Don’t be content just to read or deliver the information to your listeners. Pray that God would transform those who hear the preached Word.
- Personal appearance. Make sure your appearance complements (and doesn’t distract from) the message you are preaching.
- Facial expressions/gestures. Sometimes we think we are more expressive than we actually are. Consider preaching your message in another context before coming to the Preaching Conference so you can get feedback from others on how you are coming across.
- Eye contact. Eye contact is important for communicating sincerity and authority.
- Grammar/pronunciation. Take the time to look up words you don’t know and find out how to pronounce them. Have someone, like an English teacher, look over your written sermon to spot any grammatical problems.
- Voice variety. Vocal variety is an aid to communicating the truth. No one likes to hear someone speak in a monotone voice for any length of time. So be aware of your pitch, rate, volume and use of pause.
- Considerate of time. You have 10–12 minutes to preach your message. Be sure to plan and practice enough to fit comfortably into those time constraints.
- Enthusiasm and authority. Be passionate about your message and make sure it’s based on God’s Word. If you are preaching the Bible, God is speaking, and when God speaks He speaks with authority.
While the preaching opportunities allow you to hone the skills you already possess, the workshops will offer useful information to help you communicate the Word of God even more effectively.
Here are some examples of topics covered in past years:
- The Nature of Biblical Preaching
- Steps in Sermon Construction and Delivery
- Philosophy of Sermon Delivery
- The Purpose of a Sermon Introduction
- How to Transition within a Topical Sermon
- The Core Components of Application in Preaching
- The Call to Ministry
On Thursday sponsors and participants have the opportunity to enjoy a free cookout dinner with members of the School of Religion and Seminary faculty.
1st Place Winner
- Program fee for the two semesters of your freshman year at BJU
- Full scholarship to attend a BJU EDUcamp
2nd & 3rd Place Winners
- Full scholarship to attend a BJU EDUcamp
You may win first place only once, although you may enter the Preaching Conference another year in order to receive the judges’ critiques.
Side-by-Side Music Experience
Students can rehearse and perform in large groups hosted by members and directors of BJU performing groups.
- Open to 9–10th grade students in brass, woodwind, and percussion. Students will rehearse and perform side-by-side with members of the BJU Concert Band under the direction of Dr. Bruce Cox.
- Open to 11–12th grade students in brass, woodwind, and percussion. Students will rehearse and perform side-by-side with members of the BJU Symphonic Wind Band under the direction of Dr. Dan Turner.
- Open to 9–12th grade students who play violin, viola, cello or bass. Students will rehearse and perform side-by-side with members of the BJU Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Michael Moore.
- Violin I must be able to play with confidence and ease in fifth position, Violin II & Viola in third position, Cello & Bass in fourth position
- Open to SATB singers recommended by their director.
- Each school or homeschool group may select up to 3 balanced quartets of SATB for a total of 12 singers maximum. These singers will rehearse and perform concert choral literature side-by-side with the Chorale under the direction of Dr. Warren Cook.
- Open to SATB singers participating in any area of the Festival. This chorus will rehearse and perform side-by-side with BJU’s all-freshmen choir, University Singers, under the direction of Dr. Eli Yanson.