A few weeks before a niceSERVE event, a collection of words goes into the bulletin that says “Mark your calendars! niceSERVE is [insert date here].” As the person who writes bulletins at Summit, I sure want to believe that there are real people out there who actually do excitedly mark their calendars, but I just didn’t know for sure and now I do.
“As soon as we get the new date for niceSERVE, we email blast all our friends and families with it so they’ll mark their calendars and join us,” Christie Hinkle explains. She and her husband, Alex, are excitedly anticipating their 7th niceSERVE together. And their calendars are marked, which is a big win for me.
Their first niceSERVE project was a few years ago at New Hope for Kids, an organization that comes alongside children who have lost a loved one. Christie explains that that first experience was especially impactful. “I’m always looking for signs from God why I should be here, and New Hope for Kids hit really close to home because Alex lost his mom when he was 8-years-old. That day was just one of those things where I knew we were in the right place, that we needed to keep up with this niceSERVE thing. We haven’t missed one since and we don’t plan to.”
After that first niceSERVE, Alex and Christie have also done a handful of projects with GreenUp, which is an organization that partners with the City of Orlando to help with various parks around our community. At this most recent niceSERVE, Alex and Christie’s group was joined by Kyle’s Bike Shop and SORBA, who were working to promote biking around the city and had come up with an idea for the park the Hinkle’s niceSERVE group was taking on. Together, the three groups collaborated and were able to finish everything that needed to get done in tandem together. “Their group was mixed in with our group the whole time. So they were a part of our group when we were working together and when we were praying together.”
That prayer at the end of a full day of niceSERVE is Christie’s favorite part of the event, explaining that “by the end of the day, you all have all these inside jokes together and you’ve sweat a lot together, and you just come into one big sweaty mess and you pray together. It just feels like one big family.” Christie has found that through niceSERVE, that one-big-family-feeling can last beyond the event into knowing glances on Sunday mornings, quick catch-ups in the coffee line, and even a couple joining her Connect group after a day of serving together.
While Christie and Alex have developed friendships during the event, they also take seriously the opportunity to approach niceSERVE as an inviting environment for friends and family, even those who may not be comfortable walking into a church on a Sunday. After all, as Christie explains, there’s something really universally rewarding when 20 people gather to serve together and use sledgehammers to smash concrete and cheer each other on. “I mean you’re working hard, but you’re also just having a blast.”
We are past the "mark your calendars" stage of niceSERVE and onto sign-ups! Join us for our upcoming church-wide service day.
Katie Schmidt is the Content Coordinator at Summit Church, which means that pretty much anything you can read at Summit, she either wrote, edited, or coordinated. If you would like to get in touch with her to ask her a question, or to bum her out and let her know that you found a typo somewhere, email her at email@example.com.