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This weekend Summit Church will be celebrating 13 years since we first opened our doors as a church, and we should celebrate! If Brandy, my wonderful wife, were in charge of commemorating such an event, it would involve lots of decorations and thematically connected games (quirky Summit trivia, Summit logo-shaped pinata, and a rousing game of pin the mustache on Andy) all with old leftover (I mean “vintage”) Summit shirts as prizes. That will have to wait for another year though. I really feel like reaching that level of awesomeness needs to go with our 20 year anniversary...

This year, though bereft of mandatory fun and the corresponding decor, we will be celebrating in line with long-standing Summit tradition. As we have in every year, we will take the week to tell the stories of God’s faithfulness and to look closely at who we are as a church. After all, it is not merely existing from year-to-year that is worth celebrating. It is when we decide to be the church, the hands and feet of Christ, that we have reason to celebrate another year gone by. When we are the church as God intended, then He shows up and does what only He can do—He actually changes lives. And changed lives are worth celebrating!

One way we understand our identity as a church is to look at our Vision:

To form biblically functioning communities that reach lost people, connect in Christ-centered relationships, teach truth, serve others, and worship God.

This Vision, drawn from the Great Commision, the Great Commandment, and the actions of the earliest church, reminds us of what we ought to be about as a church. This Vision reminds us why it matters that we be extra good at welcoming people on Sundays, why it is worth having scores of super-awesome volunteers in Base Camp, and why it makes all the difference to be in a healthy, committed Summit Connect group. The Vision gives direction to our actions as a church, and because of that, everything we do as a church gets filtered through the Vision.

As we celebrate entering our teenage years as a church and look with fresh eyes at what is possible if we commit to living out our Vision, we will be asking three very important questions:

  • Who is the Church?
  • What does the Church do?
  • Why does it matter?

The answers to these questions are incredibly important, and if any of them goes unanswered, then we miss something big. If we miss who we are, then we miss what God is inviting us into. If we miss what we do, then we underestimate what God wants to do through the church. And if we forget why it matters, then the world misses seeing hope in the one place where the promise of hope can actually be delivered on.

My hope is that, as we answer these questions on Vision Sunday and in the years ahead, the answers will not just inform what you know, but will become who you are for the sake of others.

My hope is that each of us will be a story of transformation.

My hope is that, when we hit 20 years old, not only will we have all kinds of themed decor and games, but there will be hundreds, and even thousands, who are not yet included, who will be there telling stories alongside us about how their life has changed because of how we answered those three questions.