Mark Perry (Session 3)

Summit Student Conference Mark Perry 2016 Colorado Session 3Swannanoa, North Carolina | 18 years old

I heard about Summit Ministries in 2010 when five of my cousins came home from Colorado with stories to tell and a re-defined faith. At the time, I didn’t have too much interest in the spiritual aspects of their shared experience, but overall the experience sounded fun. I filed the idea away for future reference, but as high-school stress and business took over my life, I thought little of Christian growth.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I was very much a Christian throughout my schooling, but my religion seemed distant. My relationship with Christ was more of an intellectual conclusion rather than a personal motivation to live as His follower. In addition, I had no urge to share my faith with those around me. Of course, I was willing, but I hate “stirring the pot” in social circles, and so I generally avoided bringing up the topic of salvation. I’m afraid to say that I’ve been a lukewarm believer, and I know I’m called to more than that. I’ve been using the past tense for these actions (or lack thereof) because I believe that my time at Summit has made a significant impact on my life in so many ways.

I decided to come to Summit when my friend said he was planning to attend and wanted me to join him. Recalling my cousins’ stories, and realizing my own lack of spiritual growth, I readily agreed to apply, and was ecstatic to learn that I was accepted as a student. Fast forward to the first day: I was caught off guard by the quality of the speakers and their lectures. They have given me more material than my brain can process sometimes, and they have caused me to consider hard questions about worldviews, sexuality, evangelism, bioethics, abortion, worship, callings, morality, and more. Not only do I have food for thought to last a year, but Summit has also succeeded in providing an amazing staff to help me through any doubts or worries or personal sins in my life that are difficult to tackle alone. They are patient and understanding, even while talking about uncomfortable topics.

Overall, I thank God for this opportunity to grow closer to Him through Summit’s program. The change that it has had on my life is such that I feel equipped to talk to my friends, family, and those in my community about the controversial things in life and society.