A Christian Liberal Arts University, Est. 1846


A Theology Institute for High School Youth

July 7-21, 2019

What Is Empower?

Empower is a two-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.

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 and earn college credit. The second week of the program, their mentors join them on campus for a four-day capstone, during which mentors and mentees collaborate to prepare a ministry project for their local congregations.

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 a 15-day summer institute for high school juniors and seniors and their 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 Must…

  • 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

Upon Completion of the program and their capstone ministry project, students receive college credit from Taylor University

The Program Involves Three Components:

Explore: Eight full days of training and education.

  • Mornings are spent in academic inquiry concerning contemporary challenges, led by theologians and trained 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: Two service-learning and leadership opportunities set up as three-day immersion experiences take place at partner sites and through outdoor experiential learning venues. These opportunities provide practical application of learned theory.

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.

Apply to Empower


Students do not attend Empower alone. Each student participates with a mentor with whom they have an established relationship.

Mentors participate in 20 hours of intensive training, in addition to Empower programming with their youth participant. Mentors help facilitate theological conversations and leadership development among young people.

Upon completion of the capstone project with their mentee, mentors will receive Taylor University graduate credit.

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
  • Will identify key high school-aged leaders
  • Attend four days of the institute
  • Facilitate the mentee’s completion of his or her capstone project in a local congregation
  • Can receive graduate credit, a stipend, and a mentoring/discipleship library for their work

Contact Us

Contact us with any questions or concerns.