“When a friend asked if I wanted to go to Summit with him, it was easy to say yes.”
Nate* had heard a lot about Summit Ministries, so he was intrigued by the opportunity to attend a session.
With college on the horizon, he wanted to know how to bring his Christian faith into an academic world that would question him at every turn.
A session at Summit was perfectly designed to prepare him for exactly that!
“The older guys at church had all been there in years past,” Nate said.
“I had heard…Summit had a lineup of Christian speakers on various topics, and while that’s technically true, it doesn’t really prepare you for Summit.”
Summit Ministries, based in beautiful Manitou Springs, Colorado, aims to “cultivate rising generations to resolutely champion a biblical worldview.”
The ministry focuses on training young people to understand and articulate their faith in a world that attacks everything they stand for.
“The great tragedy of people walking away from faith is that it’s entirely preventable,” says the organization.
Younger generations are increasingly encouraged to abandon the faith of their parents, but Summit believes that tide can be turned. The ministry offers young people “a place…to learn how to think” about tough issues relating to Christianity in today’s world.
Most of this work is done in two-week sessions during the summer months. High school and college students are invited to stay in the Summit hotel in Manitou Springs and learn from intellectual and theological giants of the faith.
“Much of your time at Summit is spent in a lecture hall listening to talks on everything from politics to family to Bible scholarship to homosexuality to painting,” Nate remembered. “They call it ‘drinking from a fire hydrant,’ and they’re not wrong.”
It’s an intense two weeks of learning, thinking, and preparing for engagement in the world. Summit staff members invite students to ask questions about faith and discover the answers for themselves.
Rather than exaggerating the artificial divide that the world often places between “rational” thought and committed faith, Summit seeks to unite the two ideas.
“Summit’s goal is not to teach you what to think, but rather how to think well,” said Nate.
“It made so much sense that it felt less like learning new things about the world than it did like getting X-ray vision into what I was already familiar with.”
Attendees are encouraged to think independently about the topics discussed during lectures. Small groups led by Summit staff offer the chance to enter one-on-one conversations about complex issues.
Summit’s overarching goal is, of course, to equip students to share the Gospel with their world.
One of the most important parts of this consists of making Christianity “real” to young people.
“One of my favorite parts about Summit was how it removed the imaginary barrier between Christianity and ‘real life,’” Nate added. “Summit showed me how God’s Word informs every aspect of life.”
“Summit helped me bridge the gap between Christianity and the real world,” he continued.
For a generation that’s increasingly forced to choose between their Christian faith and the understanding of their peers, Summit offers a powerful opportunity to be strengthened and inspired.
After attending a summer session at Summit, Nate felt more prepared to engage in the world as a Christian student. “It gave me the tools to defend my faith against those who attack it, and articulate it gently for those who don’t understand God’s love for them.”
What an important skill for the next generation of Christians!
Thousands of students from across the country have participated in the Summit experience. Not only does the organization offer multiple two-week sessions throughout the summer months, but it also runs a longer program called “Summit Semester.”
During this three-month program, students are immersed in an “intellectual boot camp” that equips them to defend their beliefs and live deeply for Christ. They also learn how to live well in community while experiencing the natural beauty of Colorado.
Summit also holds periodic “Basecamp” events for youth leaders and educators. Through these events, members of youth ministries are encouraged and equipped to reach students for Christ.
Nate described his time at Summit as “an incredible experience.” It changed his life and his faith, and it’s done so for many young people.
To learn more about this powerful ministry, visit the website. Pray often for the young people whose lives are being changed by Summit!
*Name changed to protect confidentiality.