Forge “feels like a family” — Anna’s Forge Story

It’s easy for me to tell you the incredible work of the young men and women who come through Forge each year. But what might be even more remarkable than all that they accomplish is the heart and intention behind their work. That is why I am excited to share Anna’s Forge Story with you — because it perfectly summarizes the “why” that is the foundation for world-changing callings. She demonstrates that through relationship with God and others, we find our deepest purpose and fulfilment.

Anna is a Sophomore at Concordia University Wisconsin and a 2020-2021 Forge Mentorship Academy graduate. She is a pro-life activist and a gifted communicator who is passionate about protecting the unborn.

Her story of finding community within Forge is a beautiful testimony of the power of God through our friendships with one another.

“Feels Like A Family”

“As I reflect back on my year I had with Forge I cannot help but think of Zephaniah 4:10 which says, ‘Do not despise these small beginnings.’

Two summers ago, I was 18 years old and had just graduated high school. I was a pro-life activist, having started a life ministry during my time in high school. I certainly had conviction. I had experience with leadership. But I was still lost. I still was confused at my conviction. I didn’t understand why God had called me, a girl who wanted to be friends with everyone, into a calling that truly speaks life into death’s face in such a tumultuous time.  

A fellow pro-life activist I looked up to recommended Forge, and I applied. I didn’t think much of it at first. When it drew closer, I felt nervous and felt unqualified and really young. This was my small beginning. I had only been to Ohio once or twice before. I thought it was only a place filled with fields and farms, but I soon found out that it would be the place where confidence and clarity were added to my convictions.

The Forge Summit was life-changing, and it truly was just the beginning of a year of growth through being part of the Forge Mentorship Academy. We would meet a couple times a month on zoom where we were mentored and shaped and challenged, discussing how to be a person of character, learning what an active dual citizen of both heaven and the United States looks like, and being exposed to various industry leaders and scholars and getting the chance to engage with them personally.

Anna participating in the 2021 Forge Leadership Summit legislative simulation


Forge did not merely impact my political engagement, it impacted every avenue of my life.

I had just moved to a new state for the first time. I was a freshman in college with barely any friends. It was such a blessing to get together virtually on zoom a couple times a month and pray together, see some familiar faces, and be part of such a life-giving community. Those times of learning and discipleship impacted me personally.

When I look back at who I was a year ago to now, I see evidence that my small beginning led to a huge breakthrough. The confidence that led me to go to the Supreme Court the day Roe v. Wade was overturned to declare life; the confidence that led me to lead a pro-life ministry at my college; the confidence in who God has called me to be for such a time as this — I owe that confidence to God and how God worked through Forge to grow me into the woman I am today.

“There are other conservative groups.

There are other leadership groups.

There are other Christian groups.

But I have never experienced such a seamless

combination of all three until I came to Forge.”

Anna at the Supreme Court


I see similar themes in the stories of my fellow academy members. In my class alone, we have students, writers, businessmen and women, elected officials, legislative directors, nonprofit liaisons, law students and the list goes on. What really makes Forge special is not the hotels, or the awesome food, or even getting to go on awesome trips to D.C. and Israel, it is the relationships forged. Over the past year we have truly lived out our faith in communion with one another.  I have yet to find another group of people that are as kind, generous, genuine, and Christ-like as my Academy class.

There are other conservative groups. There are other leadership groups. There are other Christian groups. But I have never experienced such a seamless combination of all three until I came to Forge. I learned that as Christian, I have a calling to engage in the public square. And that takes leadership and courage that only the Gospel can inspire. Forge is different because we engage in the public square not to gain fame, notoriety, or even success. We engage out of duty, out of love for neighbor, out of love for country, and above all else because of our faith in Christ.

I am honored to be a part of this network, because, to be frank, it doesn’t feel like a network, it feels like a family.”

We are so grateful for stories like Anna’s that demonstrate that Forge is not just creating a pipeline of talented leaders for the conservative movement, but that those leaders are also equipped with life-long friendships and callings. 

If you know a young leader who should attend the Forge Summit, you can nominate them for the 2023 Summit today! 

Nominate Young Leaders HERE!

Adam is passionate about investing his future in the future of students who will become the next innovators in the marketplace, champions of free enterprise, inspiring educators, shapers of culture, and statesmen and stateswomen in government.

Joseph Backholm is Senior Fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement at Family Research Council. He combines extensive legal, political, and policy experience with a love for the way biblical truth cultivates human flourishing.