Pathways to Wholeness
In the past, Summit has offered various independent classes providing different lessons and experiences for attendees. This year, the Summit team has focused classes into “Pathways” of interest. Each Pathway spotlights an area in which the Christian community is invited to seek wholeness in our broken world. The Pathways on Monday and Tuesday will include four to five individual classes addressing specific aspects of each subject area, culminating with a panel discussion and Q&A session between the presenters and audience. Wednesday morning will consist of several mini-Pathways.
Our Prayer is that with Pathways, you should have a wealth of knowledge, scriptural and spiritual education available in one event on the beautiful campus of Abilene Christian University.
I. Ethical Wholeness – Monday, September 17
This year is not the first year that we and others have experienced a broken world and abuse. Stretching back more than a century, racial stereotypes and discrimination based on faulty theories of mankind, science, and society have dramatically affected life for many. This Pathway examines how Social Darwinism has resulted in disrupted relationships with persons of other races, religions, and nationalities, both here in the United States and in international relations. Come see a new documentary and consider how we can become whole again based on Ephesians.
II. Biblical Wholeness – Monday, September 17
The world is broken, but it has been for some time. Over the centuries Christians have responded to this brokenness in a variety of ways: reinterpreting, redirecting, re-envisioning, and reproducing the Word. Perhaps we might learn from the past both how to address and perhaps to heal this brokenness.
III. Small Church Wholeness – Monday, September 17
There are far more “small churches” – 250 or fewer members and often far smaller in number – than large ones. However, the success stories and strategy books rarely highlight what would actually benefit those who worship in these congregations. Small churches are found in big cities, urban inner centers, rural towns, mission locations, and in every other nook and cranny of the brotherhood. The speakers in this Small-Church Wholeness pathway will address a variety of different areas that are of dedicated interest to those who love and labor alongside those in smaller assemblies.
IV. Marriage Wholeness – Monday, September 17
While larger society is downplaying and even rejecting the institution of marriage, there is a need for churches and Christian communities to use their collective voice to speak to its value and offer resources to strengthen it. These sessions, led by pathway guides Heidi Morris and Greg Brooks, will offer helpful marital resources and guide participants to consider how the sacredness of marriage can be revived. The Marriage Wholeness pathway is presented in collaboration with ACU’s Family First initiative.
V. Worship Wholeness – Monday, September 17
When you hear the word “worship,” what comes to mind? How did we get to where we are today? How do you work with creative teams (and do you even need one)? From those new to worship ministry to those with years of experience, this pathway – led by guide Sam Souder and others – takes an honest and open look at the practical nuances of leading worship in today’s churches, and what the future holds for this important aspect of congregational life, regardless of church size. Be a part of the discussion!
VI. Technology Wholeness – Monday, September 17
Church leaders and technology experts like pathway guides John Weaver and Berlin Fang will explore practices for maintaining and supporting meaningful connection to other people in four contexts of our lives: self, family, church and school. By assessing the impact of digital technologies on community, and exploring possible ways forward for meaningful connection, each session offers valuable and practical descriptions of wholesome Christian relationship to technology.
VII. Interfaith Wholeness – Monday, September 17
When scripture tells us to love God and love others, it’s not just a call for how Christians should treat each other. Our call is to love our neighbors, even those who follow other religious paths. Establishing friendships with people of other faiths is a much better witness than condemning them for not believing as we do. Pursuing interfaith friendships does not assume that the friends have the same spiritual beliefs and practices. What remains true, however, is our call to love God and love others. The sessions in this pathway will suggest ways that we can reconcile the brokenness of interfaith differences by reaching out in love.
VIII. Business Wholeness – Tuesday, September 18
It is possible to be a business leader fully on mission for God! However, just as many believe incorrectly that science and Christianity are at odds, some believe business and God do not mix. This pathway will consider the ways in which businesses and business people are redeemed by God when fully committed to him. Join us to hear several believers who have business success discuss how they mesh their training and careers with their vocational calling in Christ. The Business Wholeness pathway is presented in collaboration with ACU’s Halbert Center for Missions and Global Service, and the Lytle Center for Faith and Leadership Development.
IX. Congregational Wholeness – Tuesday, September 18
Congregational ministry presents a unique leadership challenge. We are broken men and women attempting to lead our churches towards wholeness in a fractured world. A key way forward in this leadership dilemma is admitting and embracing the brokenness we all carry. Pathway guide Eric Gentry and others will speak into this paradoxical predicament by providing hopeful and helpful ways to guide congregational leaders as they seek to guide churches towards wholeness.
X. Discipleship Wholeness – Tuesday, September 18
Our faith and commitment to Christ are frequently separated from the rest of our lives, yet a disciple is one who is fully devoted to him. In spite of living in a fragmented and broken world, Christians should be growing up in every way into the fullness and wholeness of God. Join hosts Ben Pickett and Phil McKinney with their guides on a pathway to explore ways in which we can grow into spiritual maturity as disciples of Jesus Christ.
XI. Preaching Wholeness – Tuesday, September 18
God – Father, Son and Spirit – seeks to bring his people into a place of unity and wholeness. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians lays out in a wonderful way how God’s eternal plan brings us into life to the praise of his glory. Join host Eddie Sharp and others in exploring how preaching Ephesians might offer to those who listen and respond a clear path to wholeness in Christ.
XII. Racial Wholeness – Tuesday, September 18
Are societal pressures and a divisive climate drowning out the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of nonviolence in the face of oppression? Escalating racial, political and religious polarizations in America require Christians to be as clear as possible about what their biblical response should be regarding acts of civil violence against their neighbors. What is a Christ-centered answer when an increasing number of people believe they have authority to personally use violence when deemed necessary?
XIII. Discovering the Enneagram – Wednesday, September 19
The Enneagram identifies nine ways of seeing and experiencing the world and describes with amazing accuracy how we think, feel, and act. It is a fantastic tool for all kinds of relationships because it not only helps us understand ourselves but gives us compassion for other people in our lives. It also identifies our core struggles and sins that keep us trapped and helps us get out of our own way so we can grow into the person God created us to be.
XIV. Still Wrestling, Faith Renewed Through Brokenness – Wednesday, September 19
When the preacher’s wife and son are murdered, what then? Where was God? How does one recover from grief and loss when faith is shattered and doubt reigns supreme? Life happens to us all. When good turns to bad, the journey from bad back to good can seem impossible. In his recent candid book, Pastor Les Ferguson shares his true story of when he struggled to believe not that God existed but that he cared. The questions of faith and doubt shared in Still Wrestling show Les’s journey through tragedy to a deep, renewed faith.
XV. Mercy and Justice Wholeness – Wednesday, September 19
Scripture makes provision for immigrants because they are the individuals who were most likely to be treated unjustly. From the beginning of Israel as a nation, there was recognition of their pain of oppression. There were laws established to protect the asylum seeker (the sojourner) and the immigrant. Justice demands justice for all—not just for a select few. We cannot say, “We shall love this person this way, and that person another way.”
XVI. Christians at Work – Wednesday, September 19
Christians at Work, based on a Barna Group study conducted in partnership with ACU, offers a broad and introspective assessment of a sense of vocation in the church, specifically through one’s employment. In addition to new findings about how Christians engage with their calling and career, this report includes full-color infographics, interviews with practitioners and leaders in a variety of industries and an introduction to the various models of faith and work integration.
XVI. Special Events
Summit will host several different events throughout the week like a Film Festival, the opening of the Carl Spain Center, and a Dramatic Reading of Ephesians. Check out all of the special events on campus!