“I still can’t believe they don’t have kids that go to this school and this is how they are spending their Friday night! I don’t have friends like that…”
That was what a parent told me at one of the events my Connect group hosted at the elementary school in our neighborhood. For me it was proof that we don’t always have to say a lot about Jesus for people to see him. It is why we started our Connect group last year; we wanted to be a group that was all about our community.
We started by finding people who live around us to join our Connect group. A couple we are friends with at Summit jumped right in—they had also thirsted to be part of a group that would make it easy for them to invite some of their neighbors to. Then we asked our actual neighbors to join in who don’t attend Summit. They did. Then we posted the group on Summit’s website, stated our mission to be all about the Pine Castle/Edgewood area, and met some others who joined in.
The core of our group is made up of 10 people, but throughout our time, almost weekly some months, members are bringing over friends and neighbors for social nights or for a short season. This is why we chose to be a group that meets on Fridays; so we could be available, interruptible, and sometimes just social on a Friday night.
Being on mission for our neighborhood has shaped the way we learn, serve, and worship as a Connect group. We started off our group studying “The Art of Neighboring”, a book that takes a look at what it means to love your actual neighbor. We have prayed for neighbors who are not part of our group, but who we know have suffered loss or are dealing with cancer in their homes. Our first service project was last niceSERVE, in partnership with the PTA at our local elementary school. Our group members hosted a Fall Family Fun Night that included decorating the area, managing fun games for kids, cooking hot dogs, making popcorn and even borrowing an inflatable movie screen from Summit to show Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving and A Christmas Carol. Over 200 people showed up and the kids and their families loved it. The next morning many of our group members joined one of our members who led a project at The Russell Home for children with disabilities that is located in our community.
Our focus on serving in our neighborhood has caused us to serve on a more consistent basis. The group member that led the Russell Home project has returned and served with others from our church and will lead that project again this upcoming niceSERVE. We served at several more events at the elementary school, including Breakfast with Santa and a sock-hop dance. We even got that movie screen again and hosted a movie night for our neighborhood in our front yard.
It makes an impact when we serve consistently within any community. We get an opportunity to see why God has placed us where we are and how he wants to reach others through us.
At Summit, we think service is a way of life. Join us for our upcoming niceSERVE and help us serve our city as the hands and feet of Jesus.
Dan Sherfield is the Summit Connect Director at the Herndon campus. Email him if you're interested in finding out how you can connect in community here at Summit!