This past Vision Sunday, we celebrated our 14th birthday. It was 14 years ago that we officially opened our doors in order to fully engage with God’s mission in the world through his church.

One of our core values as a church is making the most of our place in history. It is this value that has always resonated deeply with me.

One facet of this value is the recognition that we are a unique expression of the church at a unique point in history and how we live out the vision should be informed thoroughly by that reality. For example, in our unique time in history there is a stronger sense of global access and awareness than at any other point to date. This means we have the opportunity to know, care, and connect as the church on a larger scale than was previously conceivable. Therefore, if we are to make the most of our place in history, then we have to recognize our neighborhood is a lot bigger than it was a hundred years ago. Now, the admonition to love our neighbor means the same thing as originally intended by Jesus, but on a much broader scale in term of practical possibility. That is both exciting and challenging.

There are those who came before us, who invested and believed in us and, should God allow, there are those who will come after us, in whom we can invest so they may take their unique place in history.

There are a couple of other facets to the idea of making the most of our place in history that, in a season of celebrating milestones, rise to prominence in my mind. Implicit in that value is the humble recognition that we who make up Summit Church now are not the whole story of God’s Church. There are those who came before us, who invested and believed in us and, should God allow, there are those who will come after us, in whom we can invest so they may take their unique place in history.

We have a responsibility to make sure that our legacy as a community is one of intentional investment in the church of tomorrow, even as we make the most of what it means to be the church today.

When I think of those who have gone before, I think of the faithful who I will only know in heaven, who cherished the church through 2,000 years of unique opportunities to live well in their time and place. I also think, with deep gratitude, of those who invested directly in us so that we could be the church that God is making us. For myself, most prominent in my mind and heart, is Northland Church. God used the community of Northland, and the leadership of Joel Hunter and Vernon Rainwater in particular, to ignite in me the idea that God could use me in the world. If it weren’t for the example and the investment of that church, I am not sure Summit Church would ever have been imagined. I am, and will always be, grateful for the people God used at Northland to change my life and to cause me to love the church.

The other facet that this season of celebration brings to mind is the reality that we as a church have the opportunity to be the same type of community for others that Northland was for us. However long Summit’s story unfolds, my desire is that we will be the starting point for others who will be called into ministry, who will be invested in and sent out with love to be the church of their unique place and time in history. We have a responsibility to make sure that our legacy as a community is one of intentional investment in the church of tomorrow, even as we make the most of what it means to be the church today.

Thank you to all who made Summit possible, and to all who are making Summit today in how you live out the vision as the church. I am honored to serve alongside you and look forward to the years ahead as we make the most of our place in history.

 

 

John Parker is the Lead Pastor at Summit Church. You can reach him at jparker@summitconnect.org.