Is it a school? No. Is it an internship? No. Is it a gap-year program? No.
The Forge is the unique environment for the spiritual and personal development of collegiate Christian men and women in the United States.
More specifically, the Forge is the leadership development ministry of Pine Cove. Each school year it serves 30 single, young men and women between the ages of 19 and 25. It is a Christian discipleship program for men and women who are looking for personal spiritual growth while living in Christian community. The primary aim of the Forge is to see our graduates lead with their God-given design while modeling a faith worth following within increasing spheres of influence.
The Forge has a unique curriculum that utilizes four key environments for growth: classroom learning, adventure travel, communal living, and hospitality work.
The classroom environment is an essential part of any education. Unlike collegiate courses, however, Forge classes are aimed at developing the God-given design within each student rather than simply downloading information vital to passing an exam. Instead of having the same classes year after year, Forge classes are catered to the specific needs and interests of each class. No one year is like another because no student and no class are like another. Forge teachers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and levels of expertise. The classroom environment is as experiential and challenging as possible. Many of our students say the learning they had in the Forge was more stimulating and effective than any of their four years in college.
A brief description of some of the courses within our curriculum:
Scripture paints the picture that Jesus did some of his most effective disciple-making while traveling with his twelve disciples. Often without understanding, the disciples followed Jesus on his travels, simply because they trusted Him as their Rabbi. Forge trips adopt a similar method.
Traveling flings the Forge students into formative decision-making opportunities and memorable experiences. As the students encounter the unexpected in unknown places, they gain new perspective and chances to learn lessons that cannot be taught in a classroom. Travel affords Forge students learning experiences that must be considered, tried, handled, and often failed and reconsidered.
Forge students embark on six of these types of trips and experiences each year. While some of the trips change from year to year, others remain the same. The culmination of all of our travel is our tour of Israel. This trip combines virtually all of the lessons of the Forge year into a 10-day experience that is the climax of 8-months of training.
Independence and individuality have no celebrity in the Christian faith or in leadership. Genuine community, however, is exceptionally valuable. Community requires closeness and selflessness with one another and with other leaders, leading to an environment that is almost always personal, challenging, and real. Within the community are innumerable opportunities to practice a life of serving rather than being served.
Forge students live in a close community of 30 men and women from all over the country. The wide range of personalities and perspectives becomes our program’s primary means of character development. Without the opportunity to run from conflict, Forge students learn new dimensions of love, respect, and service as they share living space, meals, spending money, trips, and classes together.
Pine Cove is one of the largest Christian camps in the United States. Founded in 1967, it has served over 1 million campers in its 50 years of existence. Forge students get the opportunity to host and serve Pine Cove’s guests that utilize our facilities in the non-summer as part of their learning and growth. Each student is required to work six weekends each semester. Working a weekend affords Forge students the opportunity to practice leadership, service, hospitality, and decision-making in a professional environment. The hospitality industry is a fantastic testing ground for leadership, character, and attitude.