Envision Summit 2018
Sometimes we get asked to do things that take mere moments to agree to. The invitation to attend the Envision Leadership Summit in the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world, Queens, NYC, was one such decision. To describe that experience in a simple story has proven to be much more challenging than I first anticipated. Every element of that week still resonates in my soul and shapes the way I think and react to not only ministry but also life. For me, the last couple of months of trying to complete these thoughts has served to remind me what a rich and diverse experience it was. There are simply so many layers to the memory and significance of that week that are all important to share and are incomplete without each other.
What to say then? Do I share about the community and the triad-shaped soul conversations where people were prayed for and encouraged and blessed? Do I talk about the poignant teaching on taking care of our souls? Do I look at the historical genesis and significance of the Alliance and how we long to experience the deeper life of Christ with increasing measure today? Or do I talk about how inspired I was by the fellow young influencers of the Alliance and their impact on my soul?
So many elements … so many beautiful layers to the Summit! How do you accurately write about such a significant experience in any format less than a novel? I have yet to find out … Many years ago I remember hearing my Professor Charles Nienkirchen say in a Syrian Monastery that, “a traveler goes through a land or place but a spiritual pilgrim has the place go through them …” This resonates deeply with my Summit Experience today … I didn’t just go to the Envision Leadership Summit as a traveler, but as a follower of Jesus I had to allow the experience of the Summit go through me before writing about it. Ultimately, when it came time to write about the Summit I wanted to capture the moment and to savour the gift that experience continues to represent in my life.
The Summit is about shaping our hearts (who we are) and sharpening our hands (what we do).
Just so we are all on the same page, the Summit is an experience specifically designed, "for young emerging influencers within the Christian and Missionary Alliance.” The over rhythm was such that each morning is spent on soul care and each afternoon is spent wrestling through specific cultural ‘hot topic issues.’ We spend time on soul care in order that we may grow deeper in the life of Christ … and we wrestle through hot topic issues because the church ought to be at the forefront of culture and lead the way in thoughtfulness and intentionality on sensitive discussions. The Summit is about shaping our hearts (who we are) and sharpening our hands (what we do). All of this is done within the context of community - surrounded by other leaders. The Summit community is a fascinating mosaic of young leaders, including vocational church ministry leaders and pastors as well as marketplace leaders.
My friend Brian already wrote out a great description of what happened at the last Summit in NYC so rather than attempt to write again what he so articulately captured … and rather than just offer my own thoughts on that, I want to encourage some of you to attend the Summit.
What … wait … only some? Yes … only some of you. The Summit Experience really isn’t for everyone.
So, here is what I want to spend the few moments I have your attention and tell you that …
The Summit is for you if: You Want to Experience More of God.
Starting with the first book of the Bible to the last, the Biblical narrative includes a continual theme of God meeting with His people on the ‘high point’ of a hill or mountain. I think of Noah and finally finding dry land and receiving the rainbow packaged promise. Abraham and his son’s remarkable experience on Moriah. Moses’ encounters on the “Mountain of God.” Elijah and Mount Carmel. David and his wilderness moments. Ezekiel and Jeremiah and their visions. Jesus and His continual rhythm of seeking solitude. Peter, James, John and the Transfiguration. Each of their experiences were significant, not only for them, but for the people in their lives and leadership.
I imagine that I’m not alone in longing to have my own Mount Carmel experience, or transfiguration experience, or a moment to pen the poetic words of a Psalm 23 out of the overflow of my soul, or any of these incredible moments between God and His followers … but it is so very clear to me that these events don’t happen in isolation nor by coincidence. They happen to people and through people that have first postured themselves to encounter God. I believe with all my heart that if we long to see the move of God in our lives and through our lives, it is only born out of intimacy with Him. And while the Envision Summit did not literally happen on a mountain it provided all of the opportunities needed for a Summit experience and in a very real way created a spiritual summit for those of us that participated. I believe the same can be said for you.
“You have as much access to God as you want but no more than you are willing to risk.”
Dr. Rob Reimer
The Summit is for you if: You’re Not Afraid to Risk
Our morning sessions we were led by Dr. Rob Reimer. He began one of these soul work sessions by saying, “You have as much access to God as you want but no more than you are willing to risk.” This really defines what the Summit is - experiencing the deeper life of Christ as much as we are willing to risk, as much as we are willing to participate with His work in our lives.
As we know, often the “work” is actually not “work” in the classic sense, but posturing ourselves before Him in submission, allowing Him to do what only He can do … which is often the hardest “work” of all and certainly feels like the biggest risk of all. If you, like me, long to see all that God has for you it necessitates a willingness to risk all that you have held on to. If you want to see the beauty of a view, it is always a journey and a trek to get to a summit. The more spectacular the mountain, the more you have to risk to get there. If you want to experience the beauty and glory of all that God has for us it takes a willingness to risk much more than what it does to maintain status quo.
The Summit is for you if you are not afraid to risk your comfort, your convenience, and even your sense of calling for the sake of Christ. In the many discussions I had, it seemed as though God had disturbed, interrupted, or transformed many people’s understandings of who they were and why they were. Identity clarity and life purposes were discovered. A true sense of who and why you exist will always result in purpose and many of us Summit sojourners left with a sense of clarity and either a new calling or a clearer calling. For me, I’m still serving and pastoring at the church I was a year ago, but with a renewed sense of calling, clarity, and conviction.
We serve a God who gives BIG dreams but more important a God that can accomplish far more than we could ever ask or imagine.
The Summit is for you if: You Have Big Dreams
If you have a dream for the future that does not need other people then chances are it is too small of a dream. God wants for us to participate with each other, to work alongside each other, and to encourage each other in accomplishing His work in and through us. We serve a God who gives BIG dreams but more important a God that can accomplish far more than we could ever ask or imagine. With all my heart I am convinced that the same God that has breathed revival and renewal and life change throughout the ages still longs to do that today in and through us. He wants us, His people, to work together toward that end in every corner of culture and the world. This takes effort. It takes thoughtful thinking. It takes prayer. It takes risks. It takes a dependency upon the Spirit. It also takes authentic community. It takes intimacy with Jesus. We truly need each other for all these things.
It’s a special bond that is shared between leaders where you dream, pray, plan, and risk together and where we gather together to scatter together.
What a gift the Summit was to sit with videographers, musicians, pastors, teachers, artists, students, nurses, and all kinds of people from all corners of the world with all their unique and distinct giftings. The Summit facilitates an incredible opportunity to learn how to collectively be together the people of God on mission everywhere in our unique callings and circumstances. The collective Summit experience is a significant one. It’s a special bond that is shared between leaders where you dream, pray, plan, and risk together and where we gather together to scatter together. It’s a beautiful experience.
At the end of the day … Do you need the Summit to experience more of God? To risk it all to experience all that He has for you? To see the Kingdom come in and through your life? Obviously no, you don’t need it … but this is an incredible tool, an incredible opportunity, a significant catalyst in life, faith, and leadership. It’s worth the investment. It’s worth the time. It’s worth the planning and for the sake of your life and leadership, I cannot recommend enough that you go. Is it for everyone? Probably not … Is it for you? I’ll let you decide that.
Whether you see yourself as a young, emerging influencer or not, I’d deeply encourage to consider if the Summit is for you (or someone you know) and if there’s any prompting within, to apply and see what doors open.
Kyle Trigg is the Pastor of Student Ministries and Young Adults at Vernon Alliance Church in Vernon, BC. . He is married to the remarkable, Chelsey and in July of 2017, they joyfully welcomed their first child into the world, Charlotte Rae.