Skip to Content
Several Students Helping a Man Lift a Canoe Out of a River.


A Theology Institute for High School Youth

Dates for 2022 TBA

What Is Empower?

Empower is a one-week summer program for high school students from urban areas, who demonstrate promise for ministry and leadership. The program is designed to develop theologically-minded youth and empower them. Alongside their mentors, they will be trained to act on their convictions and lead in their congregations, schools, and community.

As part of Empower, students and mentors will…

  • Reflect on Scripture and Christian theology as a means for engaging specific contemporary challenges
  • Experience God through Scripture lived out in worship, Christian practices, service, and intentional community
  • Cultivate a robust and growing love for God, others, and creation through worship, mentorship, spiritual formation, and ongoing learning
  • Explore their callings and uncover a vision for their future
  • Take what they have learned about theological reflection and Scripture engagement back to their hometown congregations

High school students spend two weeks on Taylor’s campus. Empower faculty are drawn from Taylor University’s 15-member Bible & Ministry department, partner ministries, and are assisted by current Taylor students.

High School Students

Empower is an 8-day summer institute for high school students. The program also includes resources and training for their hometown mentors. Students gather in a cohort surrounded by mentors and faculty. They participate in classroom and service learning experiences that spur on theological reflection and application.

To Participate, a Student Will…

  • Be recommended by one of the partner organizations or their mentor
  • Demonstrate maturity of faith in an application essay
  • Be ready to grow as a Christian leader

The Program Involves Three Components:

Explore: Five full days of training and education.

  • Mornings are spent exploring contemporary challenges, led by professors and college staff.
  • Afternoons are focused on local service, community building, leadership development, and one-on-one mentoring between the student and his or her mentor.
  • Evenings engage students in practices of Christian faith through prayer, worship through music, and Scripture engagement.

Encounter: Service-learning and leadership opportunities set up as immersion experiences take place at partner sites and through outdoor experiential learning. These opportunities provide practical application of leadership and ministry skills.

Engage: In collaboration with their mentors, students will prepare, practice, and critique a series of lessons or a ministry project, which they will carry out in their home congregations.


Each Empower student has a hometown mentor connected to a partner organization or church with whom they have an established relationship.

Mentors participate in training and help facilitate theological conversations and leadership development among young people.

Selection of Mentors

ActSix, Elevate, Str8up, Dream Alive, Pursue Scholars, By the Hand, and Youth for Christ will identify key ministries and mentors in L.A., Chicago, and Indianapolis.

Mentors will…

  • Be in relationships with young Christian leaders prior to the summer institute
  • Identify key high school-aged leaders
  • Facilitate the mentee’s completion of his or her capstone project in a local congregation
  • Receive training and resources for their work

Contact Us

Contact us with any questions.