The 105th annual Summit will begin its focus on Isaiah under the theme “Enough” Sunday evening. About 150 sessions will take place around campus from Monday-Wednesday.
Summit will feature speakers such as authors Max Lucado and Rachel Held Evans, columnist Susan Campbell, and minister/evangelist Billy Curl. Eric Peters and Mindy Smith will give concerts during the conference, and musical groups will perform during all three days of the event.
Students will be able to earn up to 10 Chapel credits during Summit, which offers two credits per attendance of sessions by theme speakers or featured guests.
Brady Bryce, director of ministry events, said that this year’s preregistration was up from the past four years. Last year’s Summit had a record attendance of 1200. The university is expecting an attendance between 6-8000, but the actual number of attendees is impossible to know beforehand because Summit is free and does not require preregistration, Bryce said.
Bryce chose the theme “Enough” for Summit based on the needs of today’s culture, he said. Although Summit has focused on Isaiah before in the last 20-30 years, the book is still essential for Christians to remember, Bryce said.
“I just love how it begins with this indictment from God basically saying ‘I’ve had enough of the ways you’re thinking you’re pleasing me,'” Bryce said. “I’m hoping that by the end of the week people will say ‘We’ve had enough, too.'”
Dr. Randy Harris, instructor of Bible, missions and ministry, said he is most interested in hearing the voices of speakers who come from a background other than the Church of Christ, like Rachel Held Evans, author of Evolving in Monkey Town. “All of the speakers are fantastic,” Harris said, “but sometimes hearing new perspectives brings out new ideas.”
A presentation by the unconventional James Bryant Smith at last year’s Summit gave birth to this year’s session titled “Cruciformity” by Harris. Smith’s teaching that everyone must have a story to live by inspired Harris to contemplate the cruciformed – or cross-shaped – life example that Christ left believers.
“We have a crucified messiah,” Harris said. “He could have come to us any way, but he came to us as someone who goes to the cross. We are called to live that life.”
Harris said his three-part presentation will be geared toward both students and visitors. He hoped that students would take advantage of the opportunity to hear both highly sought-after speakers as well as presentations from their peers.
One session led by students will feature alumnus Evelyn Henshaw and Matthew Hale, graduate student from Uvalde. The two will be present “Just Food,” a talk on what food means from both a nutritional and a spiritual standpoint, Henshaw said.
“I would encourage any student who likes to eat to come,” Henshaw said.
Henshaw and Hale led the Locavore Club last year, and Henshaw said that their impact on campus was enough to prompt students and faculty to request them for Summit. Hanshaw said she hopes the session will inform and engage students the club’s activities this year.
Students and attendees can expect to be engaged in vigorous discussion at the session “We Are All Liberals Now,” hosted by Dr. Vic McCracken, assistant professor of Bible, missions and ministry, and Dr. Cole Bennett, associate professor of English. The two will converse about what the Bible says concerning social justice, where Christians agree on its application and where Christians disagree, McCracken said.
McCracken said the idea for the session came out of the long philosophical discussions he had with Bennett over the course of their friendship.
“Cole and I disagree with each other on a lot of things, but we both really like each other,” McCracken said. “We wanted to develop a session that would be a place of friendly and informed dialogue.”
This fall is a timely opportunity to talk about what social justice means to different Christians as general elections loom ahead, McCracken said. He and Bennett also hoped the session would work well in conjunction with Summit’s study of Isaiah.
“We thought that with the focus this year that justice would be an appropriate topic since justice is often a theme in the Old Testament,” McCracken said.
McCracken said he hoped the session would foster the kind of conversations on Christian faith and living central to Summit’s values.
More information on speakers as well as a schedule of sessions and events can be found at www.acu.edu/summit.
All Summit guests will have the opportunity to experience the Royce and Pam Money Recreation and Wellness Center. Guests interested in using the new facilities must bring confirmation that they are attending Summit to the Rec Center’s front desk and sign a waiver. These guests will receive a wrist band giving them access to the facility from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. during the conference, said Rec Center Receptionist Samantha Burmeister, Â marketing sophomore from Bettendorf, Iowa.