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A Brief History

9 times out of 10 these blogs will be geared towards either small group philosophy or discussion of a specific aspect of small group life. But every now and then I need to discuss the present state of affairs in our SummitLIFE ministry. This is a very exciting thing for me as I get to show you how we are actually putting feet to the mission God has given the Summit Church. The below information is set up in a timeline of sorts in order to hopefully help you grasp what is going on at the Summit, and how critical our groups are to the ministry of our church.

September 10, 2007 – Inaugural GroupLink
130 people connected to new & existing SummitLIFE groups in 1 night! This was a critical turning point in our small groups ministry and more importantly a turning point in the life of the Summit. The success of that night showed us our people were serious about being a family of believers and not just an audience on Sunday morning. Since then we’ve experienced a huge increase in people trying to connect to community here at the Summit. I look back to how God blessed that night (though we were woefully unprepared) as a visible sign that community was going to actually take place at the Summit Church. If I ever write a book, that night may get a chapter all by itself. Unsung heroes of that night are remembered below:
Danny Franks & the black shirt squad, Kristen Broughton & her insanely good catering, Courtney Shelton (my wife) and her continuous encouragement, Trevor Atwood for his priceless assistance in pulling the whole thing off, Every person who became a new leader that night(guys like David Wyatt come to mind), Carla Jardin & her girls for turning one group into 3 when we needed it most, Lori Perdue for all of her work in preparation for the event, and our Elders for guiding new groups and showing a great sign of support for community through their involvement that night. Several of you were not mentioned by name but I remain nonetheless forever indebted to you.

January 10, 2008GroupLink 2
Somewhere in the area of 100 people connected to new and existing SummitLIFE groups just 4 months after that huge night in September! And the night went so much smoother than the first. We were well staffed, and even a little over prepared. Get this, we finished….EARLY! first time in Summit Church history! Only 9 people did not find a group that night which helped confirm that we made some correct adjustments in our strategy.

February 22RENEW
No way I can summarize that night here. I make the following claim with full certainty: It was the best and most significant event I have been a part of at the Summit Church in the 6 years I have been here. There we laid out the renewed reliance upon small groups to carry out the ministry of the Summit Church. We called people out to lead new small groups. Our lead Pastor, J.D. Greear, pretty much laid it on the line for our church that the success of our ministry as a church will be based on the “buy-in” of our SummitLIFE leaders. What a challenge! That leads me to….

Last Night – February 25New Leader Training Session 1
Once again I walked into the evening a little concerned that no one would show up. You see, despite the great charge Pastor J.D. put out to our church, I still only had 5 people registered for the training. We have had 330 (maybe more since Sunday) people since January 1 tell me they want to be in community here at the Summit. 5 leaders just wont do it. But then 6pm rolled around. I looked out on the room of people who came to start the training course…roughly 30 people. WHOA! more than double our last course earlier this spring. And you know what most of them told me? They were responding to the call to step-up and lead our church in developing community. I AM PUMPED! Once again this unprepared rookie of a pastor got to ride on the coat tails of Jesus at work around here.

I hope you don’t hear or read an emphasis on numbers in the above recount of where we have come as a small groups ministry. Those numbers are nothing more than a flashing arrow pointing to the real thing going on. God is seriously at work building his community here at the Summit. Why am I so pumped about that? Because Christ prayed that the watching world would see Christ through the unity of the early church. I am pumped because as authentic community grows in the church, the message of hope found in the gospel reaches into exponentially more lives of those in RDU. Community isn’t the end game, missional living is. For more on that see the post on missional small groups.

Anyways, this is long but I am one excited guy… who has the day off because his office is moving so he could spend some time writing. Get excited Summit Church, we are growing bigger and smaller at the same time. It’s cool. Im glad to be along for the ride.

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