Let me start by saying, attending Partnership Class was a wonderful and impactful experience for me when I attended last fall - despite my expectations to the contrary.
For a little background, I became a regular attendee at Summit in 2011, though I’d been coming with my parents during college breaks since 2008. I even worked part-time at the front desk and with First Impressions in 2012 and 2013.
Despite all that, I never actually became a partner at the church. By the time I was an employee, I decided I probably already knew everything, and I had class on Tuesday nights, and it probably wasn’t that interesting anyway (and I was feeling pretty sheepish about it, too).
But last fall I had a totally free Tuesday night, a woman from my Connect group had told me the week before that she was going, and I kind of did feel guilty for never having made my commitment to Summit formal. And formal, really, is what I assumed the class would be - or at least, a pleasant formality, since Summit has wonderful, caring, and funny staff members.
It turned out that I had already heard a lot of what we discussed that night during the class (knowing what ages Foothills covers even got me a Starbucks gift card). If I just listed the topics that Partnership class talked about, you’d probably be familiar with a lot of them as well. Though I did learn some new things about how Summit is run at Partnership Class, that isn’t what made it so meaningful for me.
What caught me off guard was how profoundly moving it was to hear the gospel and the core beliefs of the church affirmed. To have the mission and the vision of this particular incarnation of the global Church laid out so clearly was impactful. Seeing how the gospel and Summit’s core beliefs shape every aspect of how Summit the church and Summit the organization are run was meaningful to me. To hear Summit's story, growth, and everything it is doing to steward its resources and take care of the staff and congregation, while serving those outside the church - it was really beautiful. And it was so, so important. Hearing the entire story laid out is so much greater than the sum of the individual pieces of information.
Joining in and becoming a partner was a challenge to me to participate more fully in the life of the church. To continually renew my own walk with God as I grow. Making a formal commitment— and accepting guidance, support, and love in return— was challenging and changing in ways I did not expect when I blocked off the time on my calendar the week before.
Susanna Miller is—you guessed it— a Summit partner since Fall of 2015. Whether you've been attending Summit for a few weeks or a few years, if you are interested in what it looks like to go all in at Summit, Partnership Class is a great next step. Attending Partnership Class does not automatically make you a partner, but it will give you a plethora of helpful information as you prayerfully make that decision.