High School students who believe they have been called to teach God's word, pursue careers in the ministry, or simply learn more about the role of religion and spirituality in their lives, spent two weeks at Wiley this summer discerning that calling and growing in faith at the Running with the Giants Youth Theology Summit.
Funded by the Lilly Endowment, the all-expenses-paid residential summit, now in its sceond year, is designed to strengthen students' ways of thinking and feeling about the place and relevance of religion in their personal lives as they explore questions about their faith and the moral dimensions of everyday challenges through theological study, worship activities, and service learning projects.
"If your faith is low with God, come to this because I got a true faith experience out of this," said Markel Pipkins, a sophomore at Marshall High School. "I learned that I need to let things go because God has forgiven me."
The Institute is named for the John Maxwell book about heroes and heroines of the Bible, which the students read during the program and then formed teams that gave group presentations about Biblical figures including Esther, Noah, and Moses.
Students also learned about the principles and practices of faiths outside of Christianity,including Judaism and Islam, through their theological studies and by taking part in an interfaith dialogue workshop with faith leaders from numerous religions.
Enrollment in this summer's institute nearly tripled from last year's, with 45 students taking part in the program compared to 15 in July 2016. Wiley is one of 82 colleges and universities that recevied funding to host a youth theology summit. It is funded for three years, and the 2018 program will again be hosted in July.
In top photos, students and leaders from numerous faiths, pray together after an interfaith dialogue workshop during Wiley's Running with the Giants Youth Theology Summit, which took place on campus for two weeks in July.
In second photo, students study Biblibal principles during the summit.
In photos above, a team of students gives a presentation about Noah, a hero of the Bible, during the summit, whch is is named for a book by John Maxwell about heroes and heroines of the Bible. In second photo, students and leaders from numerous religions learn more about the world's many faith traditions.