When I was a student at Bishop College in Dallas, Texas, the highlight of the school year for the young preachers on campus was the L.K. Williams Ministers Institute. For many of us, it was a time when our pastors would come and check on us (I was in the minority in this regard, I was from Dallas and worked while in school) most times providing news from home, some monetary support but always providing encouragement. It was also a time when we would here some of the greatest preaching our church had to offer. We were blessed to hear absolute masters of the pulpit and their examples greatly enhanced the formal training we received.
We fantasized about participating in that week as preachers, presenters and facilitators of workshops on preaching. I'm not sure how any of my classmates felt when that time finally came, but when it happened to me, I was overwhelmed to say the least.
My first time participating in the Ministers' Institute was as a facilitator in a workshop. The instructor was Dr. Miles Jones, the esteemed and highly venerated professor at Richmond, Virginia's Virginia Union Samuel DeWitt School of Theology. He was a teacher, preacher and pastor and as a Bishop College product and a beneficiary of the wisdom and inspiration of past Institutes, this was a wonderful week. I hadn't been a pastor for long when I received this honor and the opportunity to meet and interact with Dr. Jones was a blessing.
The highlight of the week for me was when I got up enough courage to ask him to evaluate one of my sermons. He didn't do it that week, but a couple of weeks later he called me from Virginia, told me how much he appreciated my work, asked me about my ministry and spent time offering me encouragement and much needed counsel. I'll never forget it!
Dr. Jones passed away quite awhile ago, but this clip gives you a glimpse of the energy and sheer joy to be found in his preaching. While it doesn't altogether do justice to the message or the messenger, its a taste of what countless believers thrilled to when we encountered the Good News through him.