Michaela Newman

Summit Student Conference Michaela Newman 2015 CaliforniaI first heard about Summit in 2013 when my home church sent two juniors from our youth group to Colorado for two weeks. They can back refreshed, emboldened, and confident — this piqued my interest. The following year another two students were sent and again their testimonies made me want to go. So, after two years of raving reviews about this “summer school” they assured me I’d love, I was the first to sign up when the spots became available to this year’s class of juniors.

They told me how much fun I was going to have, but they did not warn me about how intense it was going to be. For the past week, 175 of us have been sitting in an auditorium on the campus of Biola University in Los Angeles listening to philosophers and apologists lecture about Christianity. We have been stretched, challenged, and called out, and we’ve all reacted in different ways. But I would not trade this past week for anything. In fact, this has been the single most influential week in my life so far.

I literally grew up in the church — my parents joined First Baptist Church Georgetown about 30 miles north of Austin, Texas before I was even born. For the past five years I have been a worship leader there. I discovered early in my life that singing is not only my passion, but my calling, and I began leading in our youth group band in the seventh grade. I now lead in our main worship band on Sunday mornings, and it is one of the greatest privileges and joys of my life. I am in no way deserving of what God has allowed me to be a part of, and if I’ve learned anything over the past five years, it is precisely that fact: that worship is not about us. Not in the slightest. I believe that Summit is a powerful form of worship — that in learning about God, we learn to worship Him as well.

No matter how we each got here — enthusiastically, reluctantly, or even forcefully — we all came with questions. Some of us were afraid to ask them and other simply didn’t know they were there, but we all have them.

The beautiful thing about Summit is the opportunity to have some of those questions explained. Not all of them — that’s not the point. If we could pop answer pills to cure our questions, there’d be no faith involved. But in the pursuit of answers, we find the Answer: in the search for knowledge we find the All-knowing. This is precisely what Summit was created for: to be a safe place where reason meets revelation and questions can be answered while keeping Jesus — not knowledge — front and center.

So, how is this worship? First, we are actively and intentionally seeking to know more about the character of God. He wants us to know Him, truly and intimately, and these lectures are founded on biblical truths through which God reveals Himself to us. Second, we are admitting our neediness. One question can often lead to a whole slew of others, and this can easily be discouraging. However, our inability to settle our doubts for ourselves is a reflection of our inability to cover our sins by ourselves. We need a Comforter and Savior, and we find both in Christ Jesus. Third, we are being equipped with tools to share with our generation that can inspire others to worship as well. A lifetime of seeking and finding will cause a chain reaction in those around us, and that could quite possibly change the world.