Theologian Awards Celebration Honors 'Overlooked' Preachers

HOUSTON – An eclectic program featuring gospel music, comedy, praise dancers, drama, and spirit-filled preaching filled the glass-pane hall of Hobby Center at the 2006 Theo Awards VIP Reception on Friday.

Held one night before the highly-anticipated 2nd Annual 2006 Theologian Awards & Gospel Music Celebration on Saturday, the VIP Reception welcomed more than 500 artists and theologians to an event celebrating preachers who have devoted themselves to spreading the Word.

“The Theologian Award came as a vision from God and the purpose is to acknowledge the overlooked work of the theologians, men of God, that work tirelessly in the environment God has put them in,” said Darrell Johnson, the founder of the awards ceremony.

According to Johnson, the definition of a theologian is simply one who studies the Word of God and does not necessarily require the pastor to have a formal education. The Award’s founder seeks to honor preachers who selflessly give their time, energy, and money to proclaiming the Word and helping others but are not acknowledged for their efforts.

“There are a lot of people who don’t have the necessity that they need – water, food, clothing and everybody focuses on the pastors who are famous and very well-known that have TV ministries or are excelling in the ministry. We are not focused on fame but on empowering those who feel powerless.”

Friday’s reception was hosted by Christian comedian Marcus Wiley and included acts by L.A. Inner City Mass Choir, Fla.-based Chenaniah Praise Dancers, the creative drama “Love Never Fails,” and gospel singers Dezra Nauls and William Demps among many others.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Cory Easterling of New York, who has one of the largest traveling ministries in New York and oversees one of the largest food shelters in Queens.

“If you look at the ministry, some have lost hope. It seems like it is all about the material things…. What we are trying to do with the Theologian Award is to reach out to pastors who are working,” said Johnson. “It doesn’t matter how big or small the pastor’s church is, but what matters is what the pastor is doing in the lives of others. We hope that the award show will bring more attention – not to the man because I don’t believe a man should get an award based on who he is – but to the pastor’s work.”

The 2nd Annual 2006 Theologian Awards & Gospel Music Celebration is expected to draw over 2,300 people and will include performances and appearances by gospel singer Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Daryl Cooley, Bishop Leroy Woodard, and the Rev. James C. Carrington, Jr. Pastor John P. Kee will be awarded the 2006 Theologian of the Year Award.