Founded by the Rev. Dr. Jerry M. Carter G’00, T’07
November 2023 – Drew Theological School was proud to host and sponsor the 15th annual How They Shall Hear Preaching Conference.
The inspirational and transformative conference was founded and organized by the Rev. Dr. Jerry M. Carter G’00, T’07, senior pastor of Morristown Calvary Baptist Church in Morristown, New Jersey. The event gathered over 150 preachers at Drew’s campus in Madison, New Jersey, and an additional 150 persons online.
The two-day event featured open worship sessions, forums, and working breakout sessions. The conference theme, “Beautiful Feet,” celebrated the Black preaching tradition and those that have carried a message of hope to the world. Noted presenters included the Rev. Dr. Carolyn Ann Knight, the Rev. Dr. William Curtis, and the Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle.
“We come together to honor and amplify the voices that have carried the message of hope, faith, and justice across generations,” said Carter. “With deep reverence for the Black preaching tradition, this conference is a joyful celebration of the eloquence, passion, and wisdom that have emanated from pulpits across America and around the world.”
Carter preached and celebrated holy communion during the opening service, held in Craig Chapel and hosted by Drew’s Black Ministerial Caucus, to a record number of attendees. His sermon, “The Real Star,” explored how John the Baptist was a messenger for Jesus. He, himself, was not the star. Similarly, as pastors, the real star remains Jesus.
“Growth in ministry means losing some people to Jesus,” said Carter. “Sometimes you lose members in order to become disciples of Christ within the church of God because the aim of ministry is to get people to be less dependent on pastor and church and more dependent on Christ.”
“When I preach Christ, I risk the fact that they may leave me and start following him,” he continued. “All of us as ministers of the Christian gospel must learn to decrease, so that he [Jesus] might increase because clearly—both of us cannot increase simultaneously. Real Christian ministry is not always about getting, it’s about losing some people from our church so that they will become followers of Jesus Christ.”
“In a world so full of confusion, injustice and oppression, and grief, will the real star please stand up?” asked Carter.