Registration is open for Pfeiffer University’s two-week Youth Theological Institute (YeTI) for summer 2017 for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors interested in exploring new ways to become effective servant leaders in their communities and throughout the world. YeTI takes place June 18-July 1, with residence the first week on Pfeiffer’s Misenheimer, N.C., campus, followed the second week by service learning opportunities in Asheville, Charlotte or Washington D.C.
Over the course of two weeks, up to 36 students will put faith into action through hands-on learning and imaginative community service, prayer, worship and fellowship. The experience is designed to energize students for becoming better equipped to lead mission and ministry in their communities and congregations.
“The Youth Theological Institute is for high school students interested in learning more about themselves in relation to God and God’s call on their lives—as they consider the definition of church and ministry in today’s world,” said Reverend Sherri Barnes, YeTI director. “With an opportunity to hear the stories of people they serve, learn reasons behind the issues they face and partner with groups doing good work, participants will explore nontraditional ministry approaches for solving real challenges. In doing so, they may have a broader understanding of ministry and decide to pursue vocations or other opportunities that make a difference in the lives of individuals and communities.”
During the first week, which takes place on Pfeiffer’s Misenheimer, N.C., campus, students will engage with local partner organizations that are serving the community in creative and effective ways. These include Pfeiffer’s Center for Outdoor Leadership and its Hunger Relief Garden, Mt. Shepherd Retreat Center, Monarch NC, GHA Autism Supports and more.
For the second week, each YeTI participant will travel to one of three locations for a weeklong service experience where they will apply principles learned during their Pfeiffer residence. Students will choose among participating in active sports ministries in Charlotte, N.C., with the Panthers, Hornets, Knights and NASCAR and their community partners; engaging with a congregation in Asheville, N.C., that is in the process of redefining its mission and reimagining its relationship with and services to the community; or examining issues of social justice in Washington, D.C., through the lens of homelessness and perspective of political asylum.
YeTI is funded by a grant to Pfeiffer University from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., as part of its High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service. Pfeiffer is one of 82 schools from 29 states and the District of Columbia, and one of five in North Carolina, participating in the initiative. Although some schools are independent, many reflect the religious heritage of their founding traditions. These include Baptist, Brethren, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian and Reformed, and Roman Catholic churches as well as non-denominational and historic African-American Christian communities.
Support from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., offsets the cost of the YeTI experience, making participation possible for a cost of $300 per person. For more information and to apply online, visit Pfeiffer.edu/YETI, or contact Rev. Sherri Barnes, firstname.lastname@example.org, (704) 463-3073.