Tag Archive | "Summit"

Summit speaker challenges policy

When last week’s Summit speaker Jeff Eckart took the Chapel Auditorium stage Tuesday night, he also took a stand on a change in Indiana Wesleyan University’s policy. The change allows professors to choose whether they let out night courses for IWU’s three-day optional chapel as opposed to the previously employed university-wide mandatory class cancellations.

“When a school and a Christian institution based in Christian faith begins to slip away from its values by holding academic classes during times when we need to pause and hear from the Lord, to me that’s a problem,” Eckart said midway through his message.

Students responded with a 10-second round of applause, and Eckart said with a laugh that their applause was because they wanted to “stick it to the man,” and that he would never be invited to speak at IWU again.

Eckart closed his aside by saying, “I hope this is the last Summit in the history of Indiana Wesleyan where they hold classes.”

After Summit ended that night, Dr. David Wright, IWU’s provost, spoke with Eckart about his comments.

The next day during chapel, Eckart restated his stance, saying he meant no disrespect to the university.

Wright said his talk with Eckart, a personal friend, was a good one, and told Eckart, “I accept your word that you gave us as a warning not to let this become unimportant on our campus.”

However, Wright also said there were factors that the Summit speaker did not understand about the process. He cited logistics such as time required in class, accreditation and scheduling.

Dr. Brandon Hill, assistant dean of student engagement, said part of that issue was a deficiency in classroom hours for the night classes meeting (or rather not meeting) during Summit.

“We really have to manipulate our calendar so every class is meeting the same number of hours,” said Hill.

“It used to be that we would tell people to cancel, and now we realized we can’t because it would put us in an ethical, moral and accrediting problem,” Hill said. “So we basically said we’re not going to tell you you have to cancel. I think some faculty have made other choices, but we as an institution can’t remove those hours.”

While the university stopped cutting night classes short during Summit last year, both Hill and Wright said professors have that option. Wright even said he would “encourage faculty to go back to that practice.”

This has been a hot topic for students, with several different viewpoints coming from the debate.

“I think in an ideal world it would be left up to the discretion of the professor to decide,” said Sonja Kellogg (jr). “Worship can encompass a lot of different things, and that includes academic excellence.”

“What makes this school special from other colleges is its Christian emphasis,” said Trey Shigley (so). “Yes, God can be found in the classroom and in the dorm room and amazing things can happen in those places. But Summit is one of those times in the semester when the entire community can come together.”

Hill doesn’t think it will be an either/or choice much longer, saying “we can do both,” if the university moves the schedule around. This could result in starting Summit at 9:30 p.m., moving it to a Friday and weekend event or switching the times the night classes meet.

Until a change is made, Hill said students and faculty may have to make some tough decisions about which to attend.

“Students may have to make some of those choices sometimes, and I think that’s OK,” said Hill. “I don’t think we want to permanently put students in that place. I think we want to get to a place where we can sort out how to do both.”

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What’s next in chapel

For the spring 2012 semester, the Dean of the Chapel’s Office plans to challenge students by focusing on the idea of engagement in spiritual and outreach opportunities.

Overall, the DOC’s goal this semester is to shape students lives in a way that will carry on after graduation,  according to Pastor Pat Hannon, associate dean of the chapel.

The first event of the semester, spring Summit, began Wednesday, Jan. 18, and will last until Friday, Jan. 20, a slightly different schedule than in the past. According to Hannon, the switch was made in order to appropriately celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“In the last couple of years, we’ve tried to recognize that within what’s going on with Summit stuff, and we never felt satisfied with that response,” Hannon said.

The scheduling change also allows students to participate in Summit at the end of the week, giving them the weekend to rest and catch up on school work.

Summit offers students a chance to hear the preaching of the Rev. Robert Gelinas, pastor of Colorado Community Church, a multicultural, multisite church in Denver, Colo.

Gelinas is connected with Kingdom Building Ministries and is the author of multiple books, including “Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith.”

His six messages focus on the question, “Do you really want to know God?” a challenge he directs to students in light of the suffering inherently part of a life of faith.

“I feel like I’m here to simply do one thing: to extend an invitation,” Gelinas said in Wednesday morning’s chapel service. “But I need to warn you. If you choose to accept this invitation, if you RSVP, it very well may end up costing you your very life.”

Following Summit week, a special chapel Jan. 25 will focus on the importance of urban church planning and will feature the Rev. Julie Collins, lead pastor of The Grove church in Fort Collins, Colo. According to Hannon, the service’s focus on urban church planting is due to a recent movement within the Wesleyan church for “holistic impact on communities.”

“Yes, we want to see people get saved, but we also want to see people get educated and have good job skills … kind of see holistic transformation happening in our urban centers through church planting,” Hannon said.

Students especially will be challenged to make a difference in the urban Marion community.

“This challenge isn’t just for our ministry majors, but for people to take whatever skills they’ve got and say, ‘I’m willing to move in to partner with one of these new church plants, and I’m going to move in and share my skills with them, have an impact in that community and using the skills that have in nursing, in journalism, in media design … whatever your impact area is, and to use this as a way to use your gifts to have an impact,” Hannon said.

According to Hannon, the DOC will offer students concrete ways of making a difference, through not only Collins’ preaching, but others’ messages as well.

“One of the things that is unique and I think special about Indiana Wesleyan’s chapel program is that we do try to bring in some very high-quality speakers from the outside, but we have a lot of speakers from inside our community who also speak in chapel,” said Hannon.

Student Body Chaplain Garret Howell (jr) will speak Jan. 31 at “Breathe,” the student alternative chapel service.

“A huge thing we want to see happen is to see the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a new way,” Howell said. “I think if that’s going to happen, we have to respond to the Word of God differently.”

The next major spiritual event on campus is “Love Revolution,” a partnership between Intercultural Student Services and the DOC, which begins Feb. 6.

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A new Summit experience

For students across campus, fall Summit 2010 brought a challenge to revival in an ever changing postmodern world.

Pastor Mick Veach, a Marion native and Taylor University graduate, spoke at this year’s Summit services. The selection of Summit speakers is made long before students are aware; Pastor Veach was selected around a year ago.

“When we select a speaker for Summit, we ask them to pray and seek God’s face as they select a topic on which to speak,” said Dean of the Chapel, Dr. Jim Lo.

Veach has served as a youth pastor and currently pastors at a Stoney Creek Community Church in Washington, Mich. He has traveled to 55 countries and spent nine years in the Middle East with an Islamic people group.

During this fall’s Summit, Veach expressed a need for young people to put their passion into action.

“Students need to catch a vision that their lives can count as something bigger than themselves,” he said.

Summit was broken into morning and evening sessions. During the morning session, Veach spoke on what it means to be ablaze for God. At evening Summit services, he dove into the subject of revival. Questions such as “Is it possible for revival in 2010?” and “Do you have the discipline it takes to become ‘ablaze for Christ’?” were raised for students.

Dr. Lo believes Veach is right on track when it comes to today’s college-aged students.

“One of the biggest struggles of young adults is they are full of zeal and passion, but they are unsure of what to do with it,” Lo said.

Dr. Lo explained that “Summit-like” services have been around since he arrived at IWU 14 years ago. The emphasis has always been on students starting the academic year “centered around Christ.”

“Students need to catch a vision that their lives can count as something bigger than themselves,” Lo said.

The selection of a Summit speaker has laid in the hands of students at IWU for the past six Summits. “Oftentimes students will make a recommendation for a Summit speaker, then a committee will discuss and seeks God’s direction in the matter,” said Dr. Lo.

With hours of preparation and prayer, Summit was designed for students to experience Christ in a newer, deeper way.

“For three days it is the most refreshing experience to have a mindset that is completely focused on God and how he is moving in us and through us, not only individually but as the church of believers corporately, said Tim Veenstra (jr), a regular attendee of Summit. “There is a contagious air to Summit that is humbling and invigorating!”

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