Stephen Leininger


Summit Student Conference Stephen Leininger 2015 CaliforniaAfter 7 1/2 hours of traveling to California, I learned one important thing: I’m far too tall for airplane seats.

Baltimore to Dallas. Dallas to LA. An hour of being lost in LAX, hoping my luggage didn’t get lost, placed in a dorm with a guy from Montana (complete with cowboy hat and boots) and waking up at 7 AM every day. An estimated 30 hours per week for the 2 weeks I’m at Summit California is how long I’m learning to speakers like Jeff Myers, Brett Kunkle, John Stonestreet, Sean McDowell, J. Warner Wallace, and others.

My oldest sister had told me about Summit back in March when I had 3 weeks to make my decision to buy a plane ticket. In those 3 weeks I heard Nabeel Qureshi’s online lecture, saw the videos of Summit terms, had my sister tell me all her thoughts on Summit, and when I ultimately made my decision and told my parents I heard the phrase “Yes, please go!

Hours upon hours spent diving into topics such as Intelligent Design, Doubt, New Age, Secular Humanism and Materialism, Marriage & Family, Hollywood Worldviews, and Abortion and listening to lectures here are comparable to drinking out of a fire hose, there’s so much information to process. But outside of the lecture hall, there is still great value. The majority of the people who speak here make themselves available to you. They hold open forums for the students, eat meals with you, and can be found around campus ready to lend an ear and try to answer any questions you might be having. Personally I’ve sought advice from Sean McDowell, and I wound up eating with Ken Turner a few times.

Other activities include almost daily games of volleyball (which is my go-to game), student-run Mafia games, Adventure Ball, trips to Huntington Beach, and a talent show which was followed by an auction for Save the Storks. A very cool opportunity.

There was also an hour-long session on filmmaking and screenwriting, which I do back home, so I enjoyed that.

I’ve really enjoyed meeting all the wonderful, funny, and friendly people who have been so kind to me.

This includes, of course, my new brothers in my small group. They have been a big factor in showing me God’s love and kindness, regardless of my attitude. I’m excited to know that even after I go home they are only a phone away for discussion. Something they’ve reminded me of countless times.

With only a few days left in La Mirada, I look forward to these final sessions with these people who I’ve seen grow and learn. I’ve loved my time here, and I’m very grateful for God for giving me this opportunity.