A week of change can be a bittersweet thing.
At home, my plans for the end of last week included soccer practice, Connect groups, and getting the kids to school. Under the threat of a major hurricane, they were replaced with clearing the yard, shopping for storm-supplies, playing board games, and lots of jumping on inflatable mattresses while our family of seven slept in one room together. This was a beautiful, unexpected time with my family… I recognize that for many, however, Hurricane Matthew provided much more trauma than beauty and I have been praying for those deeply affected by the storm.
Around Summit, our plans for a normal Beach Baptism that Jessica Meyer, our First Impressions Director, coordinates were also going to change due to the storm. She and our facilities team went to work days before the storm knowing that we were going to celebrate baptisms and those taking that step of faith, even if our plans had to change!
After the storm, the normal plan for a day spent at Bethune Beach was replaced and our staff and volunteers gathered in the Herndon Resource Center after the 11 a.m. service to get to work on Plan B. Coolers were filled, grills were pushed into place, tents were bought, grass was cut, and a stage was built on the sidewalk out front. Our Student Ministries team set up corn hole and volleyball, while some of our Base Camp kids began filling the trough that would become our “ocean” for our celebration. It was a beautiful thing to watch our ministry teams come together to pull off all the seemingly small tasks that create this huge event in the life of our church.
For those being baptized, the change of plans came with an understandable level of sadness. They had a vision of walking out into the water in front of a beach full of their church family cheering them on, and this would inevitably feel different. But even this concern with a church-wide change of plans quickly faded to something beautiful when the reality of their own life-change to be made this day set in. The change that their personal relationship with Jesus would be proclaimed publicly in front of over 500 of their church family members cheering them on!
One of those stories of life-change was Alica, who found the community she needed through Summit Connect in April of this year. She started volunteering in Base Camp and growing deep roots here at Summit. Alica was new to the area, and we had become her community in a difficult season. Although Alica was baptized as an infant, she wanted to take this step on her own, as an adult, with her church family. Because I had been a part of the story God was writing in her life, Alica surprised me with one last change and asked me to participate in her baptism. I could not have been more honored to play a small part in the beautiful story God is writing here at Summit. Watching baptisms—and, for me, experiencing one up-close—reminds us of the changes Jesus has made and is making in all of us. And that’s a beautiful thing.