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  1. Ten Great Disciplines of Christian Disciples Foundations for Living a Distinctly Christian Life
  2. Foundation Documents of The Gospel Coalition
  3. Break The Barriers Holding You Back
  4. Grand Canyon Theological Seminary
  5. We Believe

How can their roots in their own faith communities blossom into the fruits of leadership for the church now and in the future? FTE partners with the Lilly Endowment on its Youth Theology Network YTN initiative to offer spaces for young people to explore questions about their faith, purpose and call to ministry in the world. The institutes within this initiative work with colleges and universities, congregations, denominational offices, service agencies and youth ministry organizations to identify, ignite and cultivate the gifts of future Christian leaders who will impact our communities.

Porter, at jporter fteleaders. To learn more about specific programs, please contact the appropriate institute below. Explore gives young people in grades 10, 11 and 12 the chance to develop leadership gifts. The theological program nurtures youth who are passionate about the church and who desire a place in it — youth who are asking deep questions and long to share their vision, energy and hopes. Through a congregational experience and a day group experience, participants engage the world of theological ideas and foster a call to vocation in the church.

The Leadership Institute introduces high school youth to theology through a curriculum taught by college and seminary faculty. Students explore Christian theology, spiritual disciplines, cultural activities and leadership development experiences and receive college credit for completing the program.

The Academy of Preachers AoP is a national organization launched in now centered in Lexington, KY, with a mission to identify, network, support and inspire young people ages in their call to gospel preaching. Programs include festivals of young preachers, gospel slams, preaching camps, a gospel catalyst network and sermon publication print and video.

ASP provides one of the most rewarding structured service opportunities in the nation — bringing thousands of volunteers from around the country to rural Central Appalachia to repair homes for low-income families. Volunteers, staff, families and community members are encouraged to put their faith into action as they participate in service-minded discipleship. More important than construction know-how is a willingness to enter the communities and homes of Central Appalachia with sensitivity, concern and love.

Based in the Christensen Center for Vocation, the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute AYTI provides programming for rising 10th to 12th graders that combine worship and contemplation, theological study, diverse community-based service experiences and intentional small group conversations. Awakening: Inspiring the Next Generation of Theologians and Servants aims to increase the number of spiritually inquiring and discerning youth that enter Christian higher education, pursue vocations in ministry and become mission-oriented leaders in their churches.

Ten Great Disciplines of Christian Disciples Foundations for Living a Distinctly Christian Life

Youth will work with college student-mentors, interact with local and internationally recognized worship leaders and study with Hope College and Western Theological Seminary faculty. This six-day residential institute aims to introduce high school youth to the Catholic, Jesuit concept of faith in action and develop the next generation of faithful, ethical leaders who will "be the light" within their local and global communities. It aims to challenge youth to open their lives to vocations of service through the arts, the church, care for the earth and ministry with the poor.

Through partnerships with Ashland Theological Seminary and the National Office of the Brethren Church, the Brethren Academy aims to deepen the faith of young people and cultivate the next generation of Brethren leaders among high school students with denominational ties. COLLIDE combines service and mission work with significant opportunities for theological study in order to develop the faith of youth and adults.

The program provokes and nurtures disorienting dilemmas, giving youth and adults the resources to understand themselves, their world, their callings and their God in new ways. Participants leave the institute with plans, resources and support for sustained civic engagement and vocational reflection in their home communities. Campbell Youth Theological Institute CYTI is a residential summer experience that combines theological study and Christian worship with project-based learning experiences in the areas of restorative justice, public health, social entrepreneurship and religious leadership.

Ten Great Disciplines of Christian Disciples Foundations for Living a Distinctly Christian Life

Christ Academy consists of three essential elements: worship, learning and fun. The Academy focuses on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Students are incorporated into the community at Concordia Theological Seminary, worship in Kramer Chapel, learn with world-class faculty and have fun together while building lifelong friendships. Immersed for one month, mentored for three years, changed for a lifetime.

Foundation Documents of The Gospel Coalition

Compass is a leadership development program for high school students featuring an intense month-long immersion component and an extended three-year mentoring component. The immersion comprises three experiential-education components: a ten-day wilderness program in the Adirondack Mountains, an intensive ten-day classroom experience at the seminary campus, and a ten-day missions service trip to Iceland. Compass partners with churches, pastors, teachers, parents and other church leaders from across the country to identify youth for ministry, equip them for service and mentor them to maturity.

Connect is designed to connect high school students to Christ, Community and the Church.

Conducted in collaboration with faculty from Union Presbyterian Seminary, Convergence seeks to help youth examine, recognize, understand and share with others the different messages of faith and science, and to learn how those disciplines complement one another. The CrossRoad Summer Institute is a ten-day theological institute for Orthodox Christian high school juniors and seniors. The mission of CrossRoad is to inspire youth to respond to the call to travel the road of Christ, for it is in Christ they will find direction, meaning, hope, love and answers.

CrossRoad invites students into life-long journeys of Christian formation and Christ-centered leadership -- to be shaped by Christ through scripture and the tradition of the Orthodox Church, and then to shape the world and culture around them. CrossWays seeks to inspire youth through an intensive and interactive summer institute involving theological study with Pepperdine faculty and staff, worship, service projects and presentations by guest speakers. Crosswise Institute is a summer experience that seeks to inspire young adults to prepare for the challenges of their futures by practicing the art of theological reflection, applying theological insights to contemporary issues and engaging in vocational discernment.

Dig helps students uncover their future as they explore how a calling to ministry can be lived out in any vocation.

Break The Barriers Holding You Back

Through interactions with Calvin Seminary faculty and ministry practitioners, off-campus excursions to ministry sites, small group time and reflection activities, high school students form a strong community as they explore where God may be leading them next. Dig helps students understand their own gifts and learn how to seek leadership opportunities. Through partnerships with Livingstone College, Hood Theological Seminary and the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ, Discover provides high school youth a dynamic summer learning experience designed to stimulate theological and moral reflection.


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The Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation DYA is a year-long program for high school students to experience an intensive encounter with Christian life during one week of residency at Duke University and one year of ongoing engagement and practice. DYA seeks to empower young people to embody faithful life and worship in the midst of their everyday life, in their homes, schools and congregations. Focused on the formation of Christian baptismal identity, DYA guides high school youth in learning about and living into practices that shape them as more faithful disciples of Jesus.

ENGAGE: Youth Theology Initiative helps students discern the deep connections between Christian theology, vocation and the task of racial reconciliation, integrate new understandings about race, class and poverty in America with Christian theology and explore how they might become catalysts for racial reconciliation as leaders in the Churches of Christ and beyond. EXPLORE: Faith Launch brings high school youth to campus to immerse them in close examinations of their Christian faith and practice while preparing them for college life as a Christian leader. The program combines classroom experiences focused on comparative denominational theology and praxis with small group reflections, worship, service projects and practical leadership skill development.

This summer institute aims to assist high school women in the development of a healthy self-image, a confidence in their ability to contribute to the world and an understanding of social justice and interfaith dialogue. Emory YTI IMPACT is comprised of four distinct opportunities for youth: intentional Christian community and theological reflection, justice ministries in the local Atlanta area, peacemaking travel seminars and workshops on the theological and practical dimensions of transitioning from high school to college.

Empower: Lives That Matter seeks to foster theologically-minded youth who will step into leadership roles in their home congregations and emerge as Christian leaders in the church and society through vocational discernment and mentoring opportunities. Hometown mentors will work with youth to design capstone leadership projects to undertake in their local congregations. After program completion, youth will work in their home parishes for one year to complete a leadership project. Encuentro is a summer institute that fosters theological reflection and dialogue for rising high school sophomore and junior women.

It aims to equip participants to serve as theologically-formed leaders in their communities, and it includes an at-home project. Engaging Stories: Listening and Telling from the Heart of Faith invites high school youth to explore theology as an academic study and a lived practice through the process of engaging stories. Youth will explore the theological concept of vocation and the many ways they can live out their vocations, including paths to leadership within the church.

EnvisionPDX offers youth each year three pathways for theological exploration: theological video and tabletop game design institutes for 9th graders, social justice community projects for 10th and 11th graders and Christian leadership development opportunities for 12th graders.

Grand Canyon Theological Seminary

Housed in Boston College's Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, Ever to Excel engages youth in a summer program that involves the study of Christian scriptures and Jesuit spirituality focused on themes of identity, voice, service and pilgrimage. Each summer, young people will have the opportunity to take a theology course for college credit and participate in Ignatius' Daily Examen with a small group of like-minded peers and mentors.

The institute will include a hour guided retreat with the Sisters of Victory Noll. Explore Your Call EYC offers high schoolers the opportunity to dive into theological thinking, submitting hard questions about the Bible and faith that they address with seminary professors during the ten-day program. Youth shadow pastors, learning about vocations in church ministry. EYC also is a learning lab for seminary students who serve as staff during the program.

EGG is a residential summer experience for rising 11th and 12th graders that aims to help young people live out their calling to serve God and the world and prepare them as theologically minded and socially engaged leaders for the church. EGG also will offer workshops for local youth ministers and lay leaders to share insights from the summer program. The heart of Faith Front, open to Mennonite Brethren and other Christian youth, is a mobile summer intensive retreat. Faith Front also offers a ministry innovation program for alumni who attend Tabor and workshops that encourage local churches to cultivate a culture of calling.

Faith and Service in the City: Vincentian Leadership Institute is an intensive theology and faith formation program for youth to explore Christian scripture, Catholic Social Teaching and Vincentian spirituality while examining contemporary issues of social justice. Focused on youth sports and conducted in partnership with George W. Truett Theological Seminary, RRW is designed to inspire Christian youth to integrate their faith into their lives in God-directed ways that enable them to be discerning, vibrant leaders alive to their own and to others' well-being.

Focused on environmental sustainability, FaithActs seeks to help rising high school juniors and seniors draw on the wisdom and resources of the Christian theological and biblical traditions and apply them to the context of New Orleans' rich cultural and religious heritage to help Catholic youth become leaders in the region's renewal. Students may earn college credits and high school service hours.

The mission of TRaX Messiah College is to nurture students' faith by deepening their understanding of God and by fostering their commitment to meaningful engagement with the world. TRaX integrates faith, learning and living by providing stimulating intellectual engagement, challenging spiritual growth and fulfilling service to students. The goal of Faithways Academy is to develop the interest and deepen the knowledge of high school youth sophomore to senior in the core areas of biblical knowledge and interpretation, church tradition and theology, worship and ministry vocation, and Christian ethics.

We Believe

Inspired by Pope Francis' Laudato Si and grounded in the Ignatian tradition, the Francis Youth Institute for Theology and Leadership offers youth transformative experiences that enable them to see the connections between theology, ecology and economics, exploring questions about the interdependent character of the natural environment and human community.

Francis of Assisi as a model for action. Designed for rising juniors and seniors from Knoxville area inner-city high schools, the Future of Hope Institute is a selective program that includes opportunities to interact with community leaders, entrepreneurs and educators while examining the city through a biblical lens.

For the eight months following the summer institute, students form teams and work with mentors and project advisors on a community-based vision project that meets a critical need and may address issues such as housing, violence, racism, healthcare or education. The Gustavus Academy for Faith, Science and Ethics allows young people to interact with leading scientists and outstanding theologians to explore creative alliances between religion and science and efforts by these leaders to solve ethical problems.

Youth will offer at-home public presentations and will be invited to a Celebration Event in conjunction with the college's annual Nobel Conference. A Christian ecumenical program, Head, Heart and Hand Summer Theological Institute brings together rising 10th graders to deepen their theological knowledge, develop their personal faith and encourage them to express their faith through acts of service.

Hampton will implement the institute in partnership with its Hampton University Ministers' Conference. Using a holistic approach, HYI helps high school youth understand their call to the ministry and introduces them to vocations in ordained and professional ministry. The institute culminates in a mission trip and also includes the opportunity to shadow a minister. With calling as its primary theme, HLA seeks to engage high school aged youth each year through a summer theology program and a year-round online network to promote sustained theological reflection on the Bible, Christian tradition and their spiritual experiences.

Immerse: SPU Youth Discipleship Academy encourages youth to grow deep in their Christian identity as they explore their role in the church, community and world.


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  6. Youth will participate in a leadership immersion experience and international mission trip as well as university study and year-long mentoring. Kaleo Academy seeks to identify Quaker youth who demonstrate high potential as leaders and encourage them to explore potential vocations in ministry and service in the Evangelical Friends Church. The institute includes online interaction with other youth and mentors throughout the year. Light the World! Institute seeks to cultivate young Christian leaders by engaging them in the intersection of faith and culture through the areas of art, science, sports, business and politics.

    Participants hear from Catholic men and women who model faithful excellence in their professional lives at prominent Washington, D. Living Into Our Future is designed to provide youth with opportunities to explore theologically and discern thoughtfully their vocational aspirations in a faith-focused and nurturing environment on the college campus.