Growing up in a small town in Nebraska, I had very little exposure to opposing worldviews. I understood there was evil in this world and manipulation of the truth, but never to the degree I continue to see each day attending a secular university. I had the privilege of attending Summit Ministries as a student two separate summers. My first Summit experience sparked my mind to think in ways I had never thought before. I sought answers to new questions that were being raised as I grew in my knowledge of the world and the views I held within.
I was inspired by men like Mike Adams and Dr. Jeff Myers who sat with me at lunch as they discussed ideas for their future writings. I asked Mike Adams if he would be willing to share his opinion on an experience I had with a teacher in high school. He listened attentively and gave me a very thorough answer on how to challenge my teacher that was promoting a Marxist worldview. I realized that even as a highschool student I had the capacity to stand for biblical truth. Moments like these created a drive to pursue knowledge of the truth. With this new pursuit, my eyes began to see more clearly each day that truth changes everything.
I realized that even as a highschool student I had the capacity to stand for biblical truth
I heard many stories of how drastically the biblical worldview changed the lives of many men and women, but I had rarely seen it for myself. When I attended Summit Ministries the second time, I roomed with three other men who were from all around the country. Each night we shared our past and current struggles in hopes to lift up one another. One of my roommates spoke on how in the past he was unsure what the meaning of life held. He spoke that he had previously reached a low point in life and asked his mother if he could partake in assisted suicide. Each night we would break down the lectures from the day and my roommate became convinced that the teachings held truth. He began to ponder if he wanted to follow Christ and surrender his ways. He questioned his own motives for following Christ. Would he only follow him to be saved from hell or did he believe in his heart that Jesus was the way, the truth, and the life? Through wrestling with these questions, this young man was able to see the beauty held within the biblical narrative and is now a Bible study leader at his college and encouraging others in their pursuit of Christ. My biggest takeaway from my second experience at Summit was not found in the lectures, but rather found in my room, in the late hours of the night, talking with my roommates and seeing firsthand that truth changes everything.
This summer, I have had the privilege to work at Summit. I chose to return to Summit as a staffer because I was able to see firsthand the impact small group leaders made in the lives of students, leading in humility and love. Seeing this as a student created a drive within me to stand in the gap among fellow staffers and provide the same leadership I was given during my time as a student. This summer has held countless memories of students seeking hope and truth. Each night before students arrive, the staff prays over the binders of the students in our small group that will arrive the next day. This time in prayer was marked with longings placed on my heart for the incoming students that I could not understand. As I prayed for certain students, I had an overwhelming weight placed on my heart. I did not know what was yet to come, but the Holy Spirit gave me insight that each session would hold its own challenges. I have had students who struggle with suicide, depression, and broken relationships searching for answers.
Each session God was faithful to prepare my heart for the conversations to come. One of my students shared that he was recently struggling with depression and suicide during small groups. I asked to meet with him afterward and he shared about his current struggles. He trusted me with the information that he was standing at a bridge three weeks prior to his time at Summit. He continued by saying that he felt unworthy of Christ’s love, and in that moment he asked God if it was not his will to bring a presence of fear on that bridge. At that moment, he was consumed with fear and returned home. This student pressed into every moment while at Summit. I remember walking into his room to check on him and he was in tears on his knees crying out to God. I met with him several times, and over the course of two weeks he was able to find a new sense of meaning and hope. I will never forget the smile he had on the last day when he shared with me his new desire to spread the gospel to Muslims. He had found that hope and truth he was so desperately seeking, and that brought forth life.
Without a biblical worldview, men and women are left without purpose for their lives
These stories ring true for nearly every session. The students that are coming into sessions are lost in a world of meaningless satisfaction with no pursuit of truth. Without a biblical worldview, men and women are left without purpose for their lives. With no security in Christ we see identity, belonging, and purpose becoming our foundation. This creates a longing for something greater, a longing that will fulfill the void within our hearts. I have been incredibly blessed to see the change within the lives of others when Christ becomes the Rock upon which they stand.
During my time as a student, one speaker gave a very profound message that has still stuck with me. He said, “There are times in life that we are given a glimpse of what is to come, a glimpse of heaven.” A glimpse of what will be in the newness of life through Jesus Christ our Lord. I believe Summit Ministries has, and will, continue to be a piece of what is to come.
By Tommy Stevens
Tommy Stevens is from Ord, Nebraska, which is an hour from a stoplight. Tommy is currently studying Biology at the University of Nebraska Omaha with aspirations of medical school. He is the youngest of five siblings and has been a follower of Christ since he was four years old.