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People Are the Program

Jen is a Summit Church member who, along with her husband Brian, helps out on Sunday mornings with our Starting Point ministry. (Starting Point is our monthly process people go through to get connected to the church. You should strongly encourage your people to go there if they have not yet. More info here) Brian and Jen also facilitate a SummitLIFE group. That fact will be important in a minute. Last week, A woman sat down at Jen’s table on Sunday morning at Starting point. One of our pastors stopped by the table and got to talking with her about knowing Jesus. What happened next was nothing short of inspiring. When the woman indicated she was not a Christian but wanted to be, the Pastor turned her to Jen who subsequently walked this woman through the gospel and upon understanding the gospel for the first time she placed her faith in Christ. Did you see that? It was subtle but extremely significant… The Pastor empowered Jen to lead this girl to Christ. And Jen was pumped to do so because she has been equipped by the church to do just that!
( I really want to stop here and talk about how much I love being in a family of believers that really strives to function like the New Testament Church. They want pastors to equip them for the work of the gospel. They want to do the work of saints. I pray daily God infects our church with more of this spirit.)

I cant stop because the story gets better. Last week Courtney and I were at Caribou coffee in Brier Creek (The unofficial hot spot for Summit people after hours. pray with me for the salvation of their staff as we are starting to build rapport with them). I look up from my computer to see the women in Jen’s SummitLIFE group having coffee together. Guess who is there? Yep, the woman Jen led to Christ just a couple of days earlier! I almost jumped up, ran outside where they were sitting and hugged Jen. But that would have been awkward on so many levels I chose to shake Courtney’s arm uncontrollably instead. I’m that giddy because nobody asked Jen to invite this girl into her life. In fact, Starting Point doesn’t do group placement for another 2 weeks. Jen’s group is pretty full as it is and doesn’t need another person. Jen brought her in simply because it was her first instinct to care for the person God put in front of her.

WHOA! So often we wait and hope on a church program or ministry to point people towards. These are good things, but the essence of the church, and the essence of discipleship, is relationships! Its not programs or processes. It is the people of God lovingly sharing the truth (the gospel) with love to those who God brings in front of us.

What would it look like if you asked the person you sit beside this Sunday morning if they were new to the Summit? Rough estimates are that we have 30 people each week who are at the Summit for the very first time. Scores more have yet to meet a single person outside of those they come with (if they come with anyone.) What if we all saw ourselves as the point of connection, for the person beside us, to the body of Christ? What if that person said they were new, and you offered to take them to lunch just to get to know them and let them get to know somebody at the church? Heck, what if you just stood outside for 5 minutes after the service and had a legitimate conversation with them?

Do you see what would happen? Our first impressions team would grow exponentially because we would all become in tuned , like Jen was, to the people God puts in front of us. What if we prayed for God to put a non-Christian in the seat beside us this Sunday?!!! WHOA!!! Did you just get as uncomfortable as I did? For me, that discomfort was no doubt conviction and I am going to pray that today. And I am going to do everything in my power to not sit beside someone I know this Sunday.

Would you be willing to pray that? Would you be willing to act on that? Would you be willing to, right here in our midst, begin transforming the culture of the Summit family to one that starts to live out the love of Christ by being the welcoming family of Christ the New Testament encourages us to be?

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  1. May 13, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Spence,
    Thanks for sharing this cool story. I hope people are reading your blog because it is inspiring to hear about God doing this stuff. It makes me say, “Hey, I want that to happen in my group too!”

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