I am giving to Second Stories because there are so many out there like me who need a second start. Who need to know that God loves them and cares for them. I know myself I turned away from God after my mom passed away. I did things that I am not proud of. I blocked God and Jesus out of my life completely and I have to tell you as I look back I NEVER want to go back to that place again. Sure it was full of fun and partying but i felt empty. I felt as though there was this HUGE HOLE to fill and all the lust, smoking and partying could never really fill it. My sister introduced me to Summit and i felt this warmth this pulling at my heart. I began to cry right there in the middle of the sermon. Finally I began to feel that hole filling back up and it was Gods grace. Last year was a year of Second Stories for me. In March I got married to a wonderful husband who despite everything has been supportive. I truly believe that he is a gift from God just like Summit. And in October i got rebaptized. In that moment as the waves crashed into me i felt my past being washed away, my sins drifting away. As if God was washing my slate clean. Now as I look back I think to myself. if Summit can do this for me and reach out to my heart, think of the others who could benefit from this wonderful gift which is Summit. Summit has done so much for me and continues to do so that it is worth every mile of that drive to Orlando on Sunday just to attend. Thank you Summit.
"How many more chances and how many more people was God going to put squarely in my life, before I ran out of chances or people?"
It was in 2000 that I accepted Christ into my life with six close friends as witnesses. That night I called Ron and Kim Hauser (Isaac’s In-Laws) and my friend Karen. Ron and Kim were ecstatic to say the least. It was also on that day that my main focus in life became having my daughter Megan accept Christ into her life.
My first exposure to Summit was in the clubhouse of the complex where Rhonda and Isaac lived. Megan was with me and has always remembered that experience.
And now I have the privilege and honor of attending Summit on a very regular basis and not only get to listen to and learn from a man I admire very much but also get to experience the love of the Summit community.
The greatest part of this story is that a few weeks ago, my daughter Megan flew down and surprised me for my birthday. She was in cahoots with the Hauser family. But by far and away the best part of that weekend and the highlight of my life was when Megan gave me a card that in part said: "… I am so happy that you haven’t given up. I do love and believe in God and am ready to accept Him into my daily life."
Those words will forever be seared into my heart and soul.
And to Ron and Kim, Kelly, Rhonda and Matt, "thank you for never giving up on me!"
I was at Summit's first service at the Aloma Cinema Grill in 2002. I came because I felt that a smaller start up church would make it easier to get more involved and connected to others. I feel blessed to have walked through every season of Summit's history (okay except for the part at the clubhouse where Isaac led worship and preached). From a group of 50 or so people who had to turn a movie theater into a church and children's ministry every week, to today's reality of multiple sites all around Orlando, it's been an amazing story but not at all surprising. From the very start Summit has been committed to teaching people that they matter to God. But we don't keep that knowledge confined within a building. Summit has always been a church that wants to be the hands and feet of Christ in our community and in the world. If you've ever been to a niceSERVE event for example you've experienced the impact made by a church that exists to serve.
So my original goal of getting more involved has been fulfilled. I have had the privilege of serving on First Impressions for quite a few years. I LOVE (yes I'm shouting), getting to talk to people who are new to Summit or who may be new to any church. Never a week goes by when there isn't someone in the lobby who looks a little apprehensive and nervous and alone. That's exactly who I want to talk to. The great thing is when I see them come back the following week, looking at home and enthused. That makes me happy.
I'm going to give to Second Stories because it is crystal clear to me that because Summit is a biblically functioning community, it is making a difference.
I grew up in a Christian home, went to church for as long as I could remember. But as I got older, I started to feel disappointed with "Christianity" today. I was tired of watching "Christians" look down upon others. I never understood why we were returning to the ways of the Pharisees. The more weary I became of Christianity, the farther I felt myself getting from God. Try as I may, I couldn't seem to build the relationship with Him that I longed for. I eventually stopped going to church and trying. God had other plans though. I noticed the signs for Summit Waterford driving down Lake Underhill one day. For reasons I don't yet understand, I became curious. I never enjoyed going anywhere alone, but I gathered my courage and on May 1st I attended for the first time. It was love at first sight. For the first time in years, I didn't have to get dragged to church every Sunday. I even woke up early for it! Every Sunday I sit down and, no matter what the topic, there is at least ONE moment where I feel like I'm being spoken to directly. There have been days where I have to remind myself for a second that Isaac can't read minds, that God just has a funny way of communicating with me. And it's wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. I find myself grateful that everyone at Summit said "yes" to God's calling because He used them to reach me.
My husband and I started going to Summit nearly six years ago and though God has written my story it was Summit that helped me read and follow it. I had never been a "joiner" and after two years we finally joined a Connect Group. It wasn't pretty at first but by the second try we felt like we were home. Through our Connect Group I have been enouraged, challenged, and changed--taking steps towards God finding obedience, humility and the joy of loving others and being loved. Last month our Connect Group took a radical leap and traveled to Haiti after a year of planning to "adopt" a whole orphanage. Never would I have thought this would be where I am but the awesome part is that God knew all along. I am beyond excited about Second Stories because I know what can happen when you trust and obey!
I'm giving to Second Stories because I have friends in Lake Mary that I've been inviting to Summit that won't come because of how far away it is. There's a big difference between inviting someone to drive 15 minutes down the road to go to church with you and inviting someone to drive 40 minutes across town to go to church with you. To me, Second Stories means meeting my lost friends where they are (literally) instead of inviting them to come meet me where they would never go.
Second Stories is something that I can't wait to be a part of!
It took me a long time to find a church like Summit. I feel so blessed that I get to be a part of a community like the one I have here--one that serves often, loves people, and continues to teach Truth.
I am excited that we are looking to create more space, so more folks in Orlando can hear the word of God. Summit has made such a difference in my life, I can't wait for the opportunity to share it with more people.
It has been such a blessing to me to find Summit. I had more than one friend recommend Summit before I made the leap to start attending regularly, All of the different ways that Summit is involved in the community and allow people in such a large church to connect are fantastic. I'm always excited about the next thing that's going to be coming up and Second Stories is going to be an awesome change. I'm planning to be involved with the Lake Mary site as soon as they start getting folks together in April. I live on the outskirts and have worked in that area for the last 5 years and have quite a few folks that it will be much easier to invite them to church when it's not so far for them. My budget is tight so I tend to give of my time to new things outside of my tithe. Fortunately God is fine with taking my labor as my offering! Looking forward to seeing how all of this takes place and will be praying for it all.
In His grace, God uses people to reach those who are far from him allowing us to contribute to the building of His kingdom. It's God's great love, shown in the death and resurrection of Christ and His promise to build His church, that moves me to give. This gives me great expectations to see God draw people to himself through the good news of the gospel!
I am giving to Second Stories because there are still people in Orlando that don’t know how much they matter to God. They need to know this fact because it changes everything. I’ve seen lives change simply because of an understanding that the Creator of the universe is in love with His creation. My own life has changed because of that fact. We have such a great community of people at Summit who care deeply for their friends who are far from God. We desire to see lives transformed. I know we’ll keep inviting our friends to Summit, and I don’t want a lack of space to be the reason people don’t come. I am giving to Second Stories because as long as there are people in this city who don’t know God, there is work to do… Because He knows them!
I'm giving to Second Stories because by increasing capacity at Summit, we're able to make room for the friends we've been wanting to invite and that family member that hasn't decided if they've bought into this whole Jesus thing yet. There are still people in the Orlando area struggling with the questions "Is Jesus who He said He is? and if He is, does that even change anything?" I hope that the expansion allows more lost people to make Summit a place where they can work through those tough questions or at least get them thinking about them.
I can't wait for the Lake Mary campus to open. I have friends with small kids who live in Sanford. I have been praying for them and their marriage for years. I know that their kids would love Base Camp and BCL! I also know that driving to the Herndon campus is not an option for them, but a campus 10 minutes down the road?? Totally doable!