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Preach it, brother … at preacher training camp

A young man listens to speaker Dan Winkler and takes notes during the Lewisville Preacher Training Camp in Texas. (Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.)

Blogging from Lewisville, Texas
Minister and former National Football League player Willie Franklin makes it a point to meet — and kiss — 20 men each day and tell them about Jesus, as my Christian Chronicle colleague Erik Tryggestad reported last year.
I had forgotten about that little detail, though, until I ran into Franklin at the recent Lewisville Preacher Training Camp.
Yes, he kissed me on my forehead …
Thank you, brother.
I am working on a story on preacher training camps and also enjoyed seeing Dan Winkler in Lewisville. Winkler, one of the main speakers at the camp, preaches for the Huntingdon Church of Christ in Tennessee, my grandfather Lloyd Ross’ home congregation.
Jeff Jenkins is minister of the Lewisville Church of Christ, which hosted the camp. Jenkins told me:

“The goal is to encourage young men who have an interest in preaching and help them learn to develop a message and hopefully help them learn to deliver it. They are given an assignment, a text, and they have to write a sermon from that text.”

Shelby Sayler from the Madill Church of Christ in Oklahoma takes a break during the Lewisville Preacher Training Camp in Texas. Campers ate and slept in the Lewisville Church of Christ building. (Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.)

The 48 young men — from high school to college age — who ate, slept and studied Scriptures for a week at the Lewisville church building came from Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The Lewisville camp is just one of a number of preaching training camps across the nation. Other churches that host such camps include the Bear Valley Church of Christ in Denver and the North MacArthur Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.
Steve Minor, youth minister at the North MacArthur church, directs the Oklahoma Preacher Training Camp. My son Brady, a high school senior who wants to be a youth minister, interviewed Minor, who said he’s not just interested in training future preachers:

“I want our guys to be preaching now, and they are, and leading and evangelizing and (doing) the things that God calls us to do. … We’re trying to develop that passion in our young men to do it right now … and we give them avenues to do that.”

In the comments section, please tell us about preacher training camps that you know about. If you attended such a camp or helped with one, feel free to share your experience and insights. Be sure to include the name, city and state of your home congregation in case we decide to quote you.

  • Feedback
    I am thrilled that more congregations are hosting Preacher Training Camps. We have been doing ours in Owasso, Oklahoma for seven years now and it is amazing to see the growth in the young men over the years.
    Because of the success of our preachers camp, a few years ago, we started a similar camp for young ladies teaching them how to study the Bible, teach classes, and evangelize friends. We need to remember our young ladies as well(Titus 2:3-5).
    Allan Lay
    August, 11 2010

    Thank you, Allan. If you get the chance, I would love for you to share a few more details about the camp for young ladies.
    Bobby Ross Jr.
    August, 11 2010

    There is a girls camp like this in Colorado. Information is on their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=114027021970923
    August, 11 2010

    The Ellettsville (IN) Church of Christ (NI) has been doing one for quite a long time.
    August, 11 2010

    Those who got to go to that Preachers Training Camp are so blessed! I got the opportunity to hear Dan Winkler speak at the Washington Ave CofC in Evansville, IN in 2009 and I quickly learned that he is one of the best preachers in the church today!! May God continue to bless Christs church with pure and holy spiritual leaders.
    Sister Terri
    August, 11 2010

    If I am not mistaken, the first preacher training camp in which young men slept in the building was at Pennington Bend in Donelson/Nashville Tennessee. Some of the early people that were involved were Rodney Cloud and the late Pete Johnson. Several of the camps that are now being held across the country were started by graduates and past youth counselors of the Pennington Bend Camp. That work is being directed now by Tom Boyette under the oversight of the elders there. Except for the year in which brother Boyette was in transition getting started as the preacher there, this camp has continued uninterrupted for well over 30 years. Get the details and history from Tom.
    Ken Thomas
    August, 12 2010

    Heritage Christian University has hosted T.I.T.U.S. Camp (Teens In Training for Useful Service) for the past seven years. We train 70 boys and girls to be used in full-time ministry. Applications are posted at http://www.gulfshoreschurchofchrist.org/dnn/TITUSCamp.aspx in late January and the spots fill up very quickly. The cost is only $25 for a non-refundable application fee. All other costs are covered by HCU and supporting congregations in the Florence area. The camp was featured in the February 2009 issue of Christian Chronicle and on the webpage. Classes include Homiletics, spiritual Maturity, Christian leadership, team building, Christian service, and other profitable topics. All young men and women will be in a pulpit or classroom on the final Sunday of camp. We do not vote on the top 2, 3, 5, or 8 like other camps. ALL the young people are trained for service and ALL are placed in one of ten host congregation in the Florence area. I strongly urge other churches and universities to use preachers training camps and L2L/LTC models to divert a growing trend of decline among youth in the church. We are losing far too many preachers today and this would help us to train our young people and prepare the church for the future!
    Ray Reynolds
    September, 5 2011

    I just wanted to say that the Preacher Training Camp at Lewisville is one of the best programs that I have come across. It is why I am am minister today. I was a junior in college when Lewisville put together their first one. I attended that summer and the summer after I had graduated college with a bachelo’s of Science in Nursing. It helped me with the preaching and teaching I was doing at local congregations. I went back the following summer as a counselor and after that year I became convicted that God was calling me to be a preacher instead of a nurse. So my wife and I talked about it deciding to go, we put our house up for sale, raised support for school, and began our ministry training. Now 7 years later I do not regret it one bit and I still attend the camp every year as a counselor so that I can encourage other young men to serve God by preaching the gospel.
    I am the pulpit minister for the East Main church of Christ in Holdenville, OK.
    Jonathan Crowell
    March, 22 2012

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