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Professor serves as evaluator of Academy of PreachersWaxahachie, Texas — October 31, 2012 — Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) professor Jeff Magruder was a sermon evaluator for the Academy of Preachers (AoP) National Festival of Young Preachers in 2012. He will conduct preaching workshops in Atlanta, Georgia, for the 2013 National Festival.

The Academy of Preachers, launched in 2009, is an organization that seeks to "identify, network, support and inspire young people in their call to Gospel preaching." The National Festival of Young Preachers provides an opportunity to practice preaching.

The fourth annual National Festival will be held January 2-5, 2013, at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta (Buckhead) in Atlanta, Georgia. One hundred and sixteen young preachers and hundreds of others are expected to attend.

Festival participants range from 14 to 28 in age and have varied denominational backgrounds. Magruder, who was an evaluator at last year's festival, views denominational diversity positively. "One of the things I appreciated about the AoP festival is that they specifically told me not to be anything other than who I was," he says. "The AoP encourages the individuality that different denominational backgrounds bring to the table."

Magruder believes that SAGU students will benefit from participating in the festival. He says, "SAGU students can be enriched by the opportunity to hear preaching from all parts of the body of Christ." According to Magruder, SAGU students have expressed interest in the AoP festivals.

Magruder will be a workshop speaker for the 2013 National Festival. He will speak on organizing sermons and may also conduct a master class where a sermon will be critiqued.

Magruder first learned of AoP from a mailing. The organization was seeking college-age participants for the festival. At the time, AoP had no connection with the Assemblies of God or its institutions of higher learning. Magruder compared the AoP festivals with the Assemblies of God Fine Arts festivals, for which he had been an evaluator for 12 years at both the national and district levels.

AoP President Dwight Moody credits Magruder for connecting the AoP with SAGU and the Assemblies of God community. "Magruder introduced us to the Fine Arts Festival and the students, faculty and staff of SAGU," says Moody.

The AoP attended the 2012 AG National Fine Arts as exhibitors and were amazed by how many young people were involved in Fine Arts, particularly the short sermon portion. Magruder says, "The AoP was unaware of any denominations that had created opportunities for young people to explore their call to preach."

Magruder is a professor and member of the Practical Ministries faculty at SAGU. He graduated from SAGU with a bachelor's degree, received a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and earned a Doctor of Ministry at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Magruder's articles on preaching have appeared in Preaching Magazine, Enrichment Journal and The Preachers College.

For more information on the Academy of Preachers, visit www.academyofpreachers.net.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The University was established in 1927, and now offers more than 60 associate, bachelor’s or master’s degrees on campus or online. More information is available at www.sagu.edu or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.

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