Joseph Grable

Joseph Grable, FL (2018 & 2019 alumnus)

I arrived at Summit a year ago not knowing what to expect and left two weeks later completely in love with the experience. 60+ hours of lectures, small group times, free time activities, and new friendships shaped the two-week experience that I would love and want to return to. Never before had I been surrounded by such a devout community of believers who were completely devoted to learning more about defending their faith and engaging the culture. By the end of my first time at Summit, I was certain that I would return the next year. A year later, I’d end up with a unique but familiar experience that was definitely worth the return.

Before arriving for the second time at Summit, I was anxious that I wouldn’t make the same connections or have the same fantastic experience as I did the last time. Almost none of my friends were returning from last year, there were many new staff members with only a few returning, and the total amount of students was about half the amount it was the year before. Regardless of my worry, I quickly developed new friendships with the people who were now surrounding me day by day. My seatmates were captivating, my roommates a good mix, and my small group a time to look forward to. I had learned through experience the year before, that the best way to meet new people was to sit yourself down in the middle of the lunch tables. I did just that and met plenty of new people to talk and connect with. I had missed my friends from the year before, but little did I know that I would make so many more this year. The community I had witnessed previously was back again, and it was a beautiful Christian community. The community was always one of the most appealing aspects of Summit to me because almost nowhere else in my life had I encountered such a positive, vibrant, and Christian community.

While I was looking forward to hearing much of the same material as the past year, as to better absorb it, I was completely shocked by the amount of new curriculum that I received from new and engaging speakers. The surprise of new speakers left me with new answers, but also equally as important, with new questions. Summit provided me with an environment where I could ask any question that was on my heart, and while an answer was not guaranteed, a journey to find the answer was. Before this second Summit experience, I never really understood the immense power that questions can have, and now I see that they are where we develop our ideas, beliefs, and ultimately worldviews. Hearing another 60 hours of lectures was not a tedious task, rather it was an enjoyable learning experience. I’ve never felt more prepared to defend my faith and to engage with the culture that often opposes my faith.

Returning to Summit helped me realize how important the ideas behind worldviews and apologetics were. Despite it being my second time at Summit, I learned more than I thought I would and discovered practical application of that new knowledge. A return to Summit also reminded me of the community of believers, the Church, that is out there. In my search for the knowledge of God, I am not alone, but I am with an entire family of believers who are there to support and encourage me. While at Summit I heard that the Church should be the safest place in the world, and Summit reminds me of what the Church should look like in our everyday lives. I only feel more encouraged to discuss my faith with others and to engage with what I sometimes fear. After my second Summit experience, it was completely worth it, and I feel even more equipped to defend my faith and engage the culture.