May 10, 2022, Winfield, Kan. — The Summit Youth Academy will undergo a change in leadership when the Rev. Wendy Mohler-Seib steps down as director of faith formation at the Institute for Discipleship. Mohler-Seib will join the faculty of Friends University in August as assistant professor of theology.
Now in its sixth year, the Summit is a week-long experience for youth who will be juniors and seniors in high school. Held on the Southwestern College campus in Winfield, Mohler-Seib describes the event as “an intentional community where space is created to hear God’s voice and answer God’s calling.” It is under the auspices of the Institute for Discipleship, which is hosted by the college.
Leadership of the Summit will transition to Lori Richey and Miranda Priddy, who were on the organizational team when the Summit began in 2017.
A 2001 graduate of Southwestern College, Mohler-Seib earned a master of divinity and a master of arts in youth ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary. She is an ordained elder of the United Methodist Church and served two Wichita churches before joining the Institute for Discipleship in 2016. She is nearing completion of a doctor of philosophy degree from Nazarene Theological College (University of Manchester).
“Wendy did a brilliant job pulling together a great team and a great program that has really had an impact on the youth who have attended the Summit,” says Steve Wilke, executive director of the Institute for Discipleship. “We’re fortunate that part of the original team involved, Miranda and Lori, are very capable of continuing this strong tradition.”
With support of a major grant from the Lilly Foundation, Mohler-Seib guided the establishment of the Summit to its first on-campus event in 2017. She also had teaching responsibilities on the SC campus, served on a research team, and wrote grants.
After three years on campus, the Summit adapted to pandemic restrictions in 2020 and 2021: In 2020, youth attended online, and in 2021 the event was condensed into two one-day events in local churches. This year organizers expect about three dozen youth who will be joined by a variety of adult mentors and college-aged “guides.”
“The Summit uses Wesleyan practices of spiritual formation, piecing them together with people who are passionate and skilled in ministry with young people,” Mohler-Seib explains. “They know the field well and care deeply about passing their passion on to the next generation.”
Richey, who was youth director at Calvary United Methodist Church in Wichita before joining the Institute for Discipleship staff, is excited about resuming the on-campus Summit. She will assume the title of director of faith formation, as well as continuing to be director of certification programs for BeADisciple.com.
“This is a good time to take a look at the Summit through new eyes,” she says. “We want to preserve the tradition and goodness that has been established, even as we adapt to a changing world that affects teenagers in their local churches, their post-high school career plans, and their everyday lives. We will continue to offer a sacred space for young people to hear how and where God is leading them.”
New Summit co-director Miranda Priddy also is director of business operations for the Institute for Discipleship.
“The Summit Youth Academy is a program that I deeply love and am thrilled to be working with Lori Richey in our shared roles. Seeing the youth move through the program and transition into young adulthood brings me great joy,” Priddy says. “God is at work and I’m excited to be back on campus after the COVID years.”
The Summit is a program of the Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship, which is based at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. It manages or supports a variety of educational programs — both online and on the ground at the college — that increase discipleship and Christian leadership skills.