When I first arrived at Summit, I was almost eighteen years old. It was July of 2022 and I had no idea what to expect. As a new high school graduate, I came to Summit with a lot of uncertainty about what was next in my life. In those two weeks I became convinced that Summit was one of the greatest places on Earth. I now know that Summit was the beginning of a big transformation for me. In fact, I found those two weeks to be so pivotal that I decided to return as a staff member for the first half of this summer. In my time on staff and as a student, I have seen Summit change lives by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. Summit offers its students a robust guide to understanding worldviews. However, the engaging environment accomplishes much more, opening doors to larger questions about the universe and our place in it.
I came to Summit having studied a lot of the topics that are lectured on. I thought that I had everything figured out and that I was doing things right. I painfully realized that I was terribly wrong. I was opinionated and ready to debate at all times. Through the content at Summit, I learned more than just good apologetics; I learned how to love. I thought for so long that I was loving people by having the best arguments and proving them wrong. That was not love at all; it was pride. Summit connects truth to relationships in a way that changed my life and how I treat others. Loving people is not about being right. It is about loving them when they are wrong, just as you would want someone to do for you. At Summit I got the opportunity to enter into the joys and sufferings of others just as Christ did for us when he became man. And we get challenged to do the same thing when we go home. In some way, I carry Summit with me wherever I go. Dr. Jeff always tells students a variation of the same thing at graduation. He tells us that Summit is just the beginning of something greater to come.
Through the content at Summit, I learned more than just good apologetics; I learned how to love
Dr. Jeff was absolutely correct about Summit being just the start of something new. I can see the impact of my worldview training from Summit in every aspect of my daily life. This is the case because the questions Summit’s curriculum examines deal with how we should live. Questions like ‘Is there such a thing as good’ or ‘what was I made for’ and ‘how do I love’ are the questions that Summit students are asked to consider. Through contemplating these questions, Summit taught me that Christianity is not simply my religion, but it is the true story of reality. Scripture is the greatest story ever told, and its greatness lies in its truth. C.S. Lewis, in God in the Dock, describes this idea as “the myth made fact.” Recognizing this reality about the world has influenced how I interact with those I disagree with, Christians and non-Christians alike. Summit allowed me to find my place in this incredible story and to see the deep meaning behind all things. By studying worldviews, I gained insight about myself, others, the world, and ultimately my Creator. Worldview training does this by equipping students to understand the patterns of thought behind the influential ideas of our time that shape people’s values. The Christian faith is defined by a pattern of healing and is the only worldview that offers true purpose, meaning, and hope of redemptive transformation. Christianity invites participation in transformative redemption by knowing where you belong in this great unfolding story. How beautiful is it that we get to be a part of the story of the universe!
We live in an age where people yearn for purpose, meaning, and hope, but they are looking for them in all the wrong places. To quote John Stonestreet, “Ideas have consequences and bad ideas have victims.” Our world is full of people who have been captured by bad ideas that cause them pain and suffering. They search for meaning inside of themselves, ideologies, or scientific discovery. The Christian worldview is unique because it offers meaning outside ourselves and this world. Christians fix their eyes on the transcendent rather than the transient. This is not to say that Christians will not suffer; we live in a world that has been broken by sin. However, Christianity is the only worldview that can make sense of suffering because of Christ’s own sufferings, which bring hope of restoration. This idea is best expressed through a statement made by a student graduation speaker at one of this summer’s sessions. She said, “Summit has made me excited to live.” When I heard this I began to tear up because I understood exactly what she meant. I have not met many people who can say that they are excited to live and mean it.
Ideas have consequences and bad ideas have victims
I am now almost nineteen years old, and I have arrived and departed from Summit twice. Both times, I have left Summit better than when I came. The people I have met and the things I learned have left me with an imprint that I will carry with me into eternity. Because of Summit’s impact, I strive to stop trying to win arguments, but to instead try to leave people better than I found them. In doing this, God in his kindness allows us to participate in the restoration of the world. Because of Summit, my worldview is committed to the truth that flows from Christ. This allows me to see the beauty in life and to hope for the greater beauty that is to come. This is the true story of the world. This is the story of you and me. This is the story of Jesus Christ.
By Claire Wilkerson
Claire Wilkerson is a Summit alumni who attended Summit’s Session 4 in Colorado in 2022. This past summer, Claire got the opportunity to serve on the Summit Summer Staff as a member of the Colorado Classroom Team. Claire is a sophomore at Houston Christian University, where she is pursuing a degree in Theological Studies and is a member of the honors college. In her free time Claire likes to hike, rock climb, kayak, and spend time with her puppy named Finley.