“Who is God? What is my purpose? Why do I believe what I believe?” For Taylor students, these questions should be challenging. They should stir up wonder.
This past summer, hundreds of students ages 16–25 from around the world attended Summit Ministries in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. These students gained knowledge and confidence in current issues and apologetics, all while discovering purpose, place and truth.
“Summit’s mission is to cultivate rising generations to resolutely champion a biblical worldview,” Summit stated on their website.
Summit longs to see young scholars rise up as leaders who are grounded, passionate and have a vision for the Church in vocations beyond the typical missions field. The burdens, questions, injustices and successes are no longer someone else’s problem, but each day seem to press heavier on the shoulders of this generation.
For two weeks, students were inspired and taught by wise and educated men and women. These renowned professors, professionals and theologians fully invest themselves in guiding students how to develop their own worldview. As a result, attendees learn how to be confident in their convictions.
Depending on the location, a day at Summit might have looked like waking up at the crack of dawn to hike a nearby mountain or spending time reading the Bible with friends.
Students then came together for teaching. Over the two weeks, students spend over 50 hours in the classroom. But Summit values activity, teamwork and creativity in a similar light. Hours were spent outside playing spikeball, soccer, volleyball and more.
As a follow up to the day’s lectures, professors facilitated group discussion by allowing students to ask in-depth questions in an intimate setting. Evenings also consisted of a time of worship, teaching and fellowship during free time or small groups.
For example, in Colorado, students would gather on a covered, wooden front porch overlooking the mountains as the speaker openly welcomed the inquiries of curious minds. The young adults were hungry to be informed about what they did not understand, and the time set aside to dig deeper was exceptionally beneficial in feeding those desires.
Taylor was well-represented, as 44 students attended across the three locations.
Freshmen Lynnea Humrichous, Parker Neuman, Katie Herrmann and Lucas Moritz are four out of the 44 Taylor students who attended Summit this summer. Taylor believes in the mission and value of Summit so much that they offer a scholarship for students who have attended Summit.
The leaders at Summit are not afraid of difficult questions.
Many students enter Summit with questions they have always wanted to ask, as well as questions they never knew they had. For example, Herrmann came away from Summit with changed views regarding the delicate topic of abortion. After much exploration, discussion and wrestling with the issue, she made a personal decision to alter what she had previously believed to be good.
“I went in pro-choice and came out pro-life,” Herrmann said.
Summit holds the Bible as ultimate truth. However, it is not afraid to educate young people on other worldviews, such as Islam and Judaism. The value of understanding where others come from is often the key to approaching uncomfortable conversations.
Neuman testified to the validity in this approach.
“A few days before leaving for Summit, I was talking with one of my friends, and she’s a Muslim,” Neuman said. “I wish I had already gone to summit previously because of the knowledge I gained on how to approach different worldviews.”
In many situations, two weeks would hardly be enough to form sure friendships, but Summit organically cultivated an atmosphere where that was practically guaranteed.
The students also spoke to the lasting friendships they had made.
“I left with a lot more friendships that I treasured and that were good for me instead of relationships at home that were superficial,” Humrichous said.
With those friendships, whether learning about how to manage your finances or how biology points to a creator, exceptional realizations are made. Moritz spoke about how his faith was solidified through seeing how specific God’s creation was — even down to cells.
The opportunities Summit offers reach far beyond the classroom or group discussions. Students who attend are prepared to face difficult questions and be ever ready with a gracious answer.
“Summit is so different from a church camp . . . It’s more about discovering who you are in Christ and how good he is to each of us,” Humrichous said.
For further information regarding the Summit Scholarship, visit https://www.taylor.edu/tuition-and-funding/scholarships.