Bailey Graddon

Summit Student Conference Bailey Graddon 2015 TennesseeThere are some places that as soon as you walk through the gates you know there is something extraordinary about that location. Sometimes it’s due to the scenery, or the people, or the culture. That is not entirely why Summit is a special place for me though; it’s something far deeper. Although Summit Tennessee has the most captivating view of the mountains, these people are some of the kindest, most intelligent beings I have ever come across, and the wonderfully thought out schedule the Summit team has put together for the maxim enjoyment in these brief twelve days is amazing… these are not the reasons I will forever treasure this place.

Summit is the place I will eternally remember as the spot I could sense God in an entirely new way. Through the speakers, small groups, and encouragement from my peers, I can feel a voice that is blurred by the screams and demands of the monotonous everyday life. In the quiet, I can hear Him speak, and with each new session I learn something new about this God I thought I understood more than anything else in my life. I realize now that there is so much more than what meets the eye when it comes to Christianity, that blind faith does not make you a more fervent Christian than equipping yourself with concrete knowledge for the existence of God and His Word.

Summit has made me realize that with this knowledge comes a great responsibility. With all of this wisdom that these speakers have given to me, to hide it under a bushel would be a sore injustice. Thanks to my small group and peers that I have been blessed with here, I now realize that God has called me to be a leader, a voice of Truth among all the lies of this world. I believe that Summit is beginning to bend and shape me into the masterpiece God has intended me to be. I know the road that I am beginning to travel down will not be easy, but I know that I have surely been given the tools in these last few days here to stand strong against those who used to cause me to waiver.

I always believed that Christianity was not really a religion that could be proven with anything besides circular reasoning. In my childhood church, questions were for the ignorant and faithless, but now I’m discovering that complete opposite is true. When you have nothing else to question, it doesn’t mean you have all the answers, but instead means you are not growing. To absorb information like a sponge isn’t always the best way to learn. That is why I thoroughly enjoy the small group time given to us after sessions. No one takes anything as truth without thorough questioning and Biblical evidence for the speaker’s teaching. Having a small group with such a diverse group of girls with different worldviews is so refreshing. Even when we don’t agree with everything each other believes, I have learned so much about different perspectives and have even adopted some of what I have learned from them into my own outlook. These new friends are some that I hope to keep up with for a lifetime, but I know that even if we do lose touch, we will all be reunited in heaven with our Lord in heaven.

I am quite certain that God has an amazing plan for my life because He has allowed me to be a part of this wonderful ministry. I have been blessed to hear some of the most profound speakers that this country has to offer every single day that I am here. I do not plan on overlooking this tremendous blessing and plan on reading many of these amazing speaker’s books and blogs when I return home. I am beyond ecstatic to bring my binder full of something that is not just doodles, but instead words of wisdom to refer back to as I witness not only to my friends and family. These arguments are valid enough to give me the confidence in myself to share the Word with professors and other figureheads that before I would have been terrified to reason with. Christianity has just as much if not more evidence for its case as atheists, naturalists, or any other religion. All one has to do is be fervent in finding it.

Summit has not only given me the head to be able to share, but is also helping me to develop the heart to share His word as well.
At the end of the day as one of my favorite speakers Sean McDowell said it has never been about the number of debates we win, it is the people. If I can just impact one person by being here, these two weeks will have been one of the most valuable uses of my time. My goal that I have set while at Summit is not to bring 1,000 new believers to Christ but to lead as many as God will permit me to affect and to be a mentor to the ones who need it. As the old proverb says, “Quality over quantity.” I want to have a heart that not only overflows with the desire to share His Word, but one that wants to instill my same desire into others, and pour into their lives to help them through the rough times. As simple as that may sound, it was something I had never considered before Summit, and I am forever grateful that these powerful speakers have helped me to rediscover my Christian purpose. They have awakened parts of my brain I didn’t know I could use, and have reminded me of the importance of critical thinking in every part of my life, especially my religion.

God is in this place, and I know as my week progresses here, I will only see Him in new and more majestic ways. I will never be able to repay my parents and everyone else who helped to send me here for all of the wonderful new things I have learned, the amazing people I have met, and the clarity I can now see my Lord and Savior with. This is not just a church camp; this is a milestone for me, the place where I realized that I can now change the world with God and my fellow Summit alumni by my side. I will never forget these experiences and ideas that I have gotten to be a part of.

Next year I plan on bringing as many friends with me as I can so they can encounter this life-changing place. As I go into the world in a few days, I am not scared by what’s out of my Christian bubble here, but instead exhilarated by what lies ahead.