"I believe that more American people hear a sermon in a given week than any other single extracurricular activity," said Dwight Moody, executive director of the program. "People who are sitting in the pews are wanting better preachers."
Moody, a former dean of the chapel at Georgetown College, teamed with St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville to run the program, which includes the retreat this month, a "preaching camp" this summer and a "festival of preaching" -- both of which are expected to draw dozens of young people.
In between those events, participants will be communicating online and required to recruit a "preaching mentor" to guide their development.
Moody hopes the program -- drawing mainly from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and other nearby states -- will be duplicated in other regions.
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