Summer Journey 2017 Recap
During summer 2017, Northwest University was honored to host thirty-three high school students from seven states for the first-ever Summer Journey program. Sponsored in part by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Summer Journey is a ten-day discipleship program focusing on encouraging young people to explore the narrative of Scripture and the call of God on their lives.
“Finding your place in the story of God” was the leading goal of the program. To accomplish this, the nearly three-dozen teens lived on the Northwest University campus for ten days, benefiting from teachings by Northwest University faculty and others. Some of the notable voices they heard were: Dr. David Hymes (Bible), Dr. Earl Creps (Theology), and Dr. Jeremiah Webster (Literature). The group also benefited from an excellent set of University Mentors from Northwest’s own College of Ministry. Serving as pastors, resident assistants, and discussion guides, these leaders not only helped program participants process what they were learning, but truly enriched and invested in their lives. Evening worship services featured the voices of area ministers such as Rev. Christi Villarias (Centro de Vida in Tacoma) and Rev. Neely McQueen (Overlake Christian Church in Redmond), helping enrich both mind and soul. Other Summer Journey highlights included area recreational activities and a backpacking experience in the Cascade Mountains hosted by Youth Dynamics.
“Frankly, I was overwhelmed by the quality of the young people who joined us for the Summer Journey,” says Dr. Joshua Ziefle, Director of Northwest’s Center for Calling and Theological Formation. “We knew we had put out a call for leading high school students, but this group went far beyond what I hoped. Barely knowing each other and initially unsure what to expect, they quickly bonded and embraced the experience God had for them. I was impressed by their passion spirit. It was an honor to host them this summer.”
The Summer Journey proved to be foundational for student participants as well. One wrote the following: “I learned so much more about the story of Bible, God, and the Church. It made me realize my faith wasn’t invested in nothing, [that] there was so much more. It helped me realize my story and who I am. Thank you for investing in us.” Another summed it up this way: “It was completely different from what I thought and was one of the best experiences of my life.”
The Center Calling and Theological Formation is eagerly looking to build on this year’s successes as they plan ahead for Summer Journey 2018, to be held from 23 June to 2 July. Up to fifty spots will be open for high school students currently in grades 9 through 11. Nominations and applications will be accepted as early as October 2017. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.