Divinity student’s sermon inspires title of new book by Academy of Preachers

Adam Graham and Dwight Moody
Adam Graham and Dwight Moody (Steve Green/Vanderbilt)

The Academy of Preachers has selected “Uncommon Sense,” the title of a sermon written by Vanderbilt University Divinity Student Adam F. Graham, as the name of its latest book, Uncommon Sense. The publication celebrates sermons of the millennial generation.

Graham, of Taft, Tenn., was among the Vanderbilt Divinity students who delivered sermons during the 2012 National Festival of Young Preachers in Louisville, Ky.

“Adam delivered a terrific sermon with the memorable title ‘Uncommon Sense,'” said Dwight Moody, president of the Academy of Preachers, which sponsors the national event.

“In this particular sermon, I contrast everyday sayings we consider common sense, such as ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,’ with the uncommon sense Jesus offers in the Sermon on the Mount,” Graham said. “For example, Jesus advised, ‘…But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council…'”

The Academy of Preachers, with strong financial support from the Lilly Endowment, was launched in 2009 with a mission to “identify, network, inspire and support young people in their call to Gospel preaching.”

Moody noted that many churches face a declining young adult population. In addition, ministers are, on average, older than their congregations. Therefore, there is a vital need to energize young preachers through these preaching festivals, which provide opportunities for networking, support and guidance from the young people’s peers. The festivals are now scheduled on the national, regional and campus levels.

Graham, who earned his undergraduate degree at Lipscomb University, said that Dale Andrews, Distinguished Professor of Homiletics, Social Justice and Practical Theology, is among faculty members who have provided inspiration and insight on preaching during his studies. Graham will receive his master of divinity in May. He has a strong interest in writing in the area of curriculum development but also hopes to serve in a ministerial role after graduation.

The book Uncommon Sense, which has been published by Chalice Press, also includes a sermon by Vanderbilt Divinity student Terrence Chandler-Harrison, of Bartlett, Tenn.

Watch video of Graham preaching on the Academy of Preachers YouTube channel.