I never cared to do anything at church beyond attend and occasionally play music with the worship team. I grew up as a pastor’s kid with a ton of siblings (9 to be exact), and had about all the “behind the scenes” experience I could handle.
When I was younger, my family would be in church any time the doors were open. Catering training event? We were there. Homeschool spider seminar? Yep. Tuesday afternoon manners class? Don’t even get me started. The last thing I wanted to do as a late teen exploding into my early twenties was commit myself to being in church beyond Sundays and the occasional Wednesday evening. Until I started going to Summit.
Let me give you a little context– I had moved from Jacksonville to Orlando on a whim because I needed a change. I didn’t have a church there, all my family had moved, and I had just broken up with—you guessed it—my band. I needed a new place to call home. A good friend of mine had interned at Summit the previous summer and convinced me I should move to Orlando and intern at Summit to get plugged in. The idea of starting over gave me enough confidence to quit my job at whatever retail store I logged 20 long hours a week at and move to the land of Disney. Within a few hours, I had packed up my Mazda Protege and was driving at a cool 70 mph toward my new life.
I started attending Summit immediately and applied to be an intern within my first few weeks there. My friend had been a worship intern, and I was convinced that was the only thing I’d be interested in doing. My transition from homeschooler to teenager-in-tight-pants-playing-rock-music was a pretty quick one, so I hadn't had any formal training in anything but helping patrons at our local American Eagle decide which pair of acid wash denims were more “dope.” I had gained some knowledge in designing band flyers and album artwork in my storied adolescence, but that seemed like a useless bargaining chip given my deep musical knowledge and background in playing power chords while simultaneously jumping up and down.
After submitting my application to be a worship intern, Lead Pastor John Parker followed up with me and set up an interview at Summit. I came dressed in my nicest Forever 21 suit, fully prepared with an acceptance speech for being selected as an intern. That was not how it went down. Very early in the interview, John informed me that the worship intern position had been filled. I was bummed, but hid it well. I assumed he’d thank me for applying and show me the door. Instead, he told me they had a need for a design intern and asked if I’d be interested in doing that. I knew I wasn’t a great designer, I’m sure he knew I wasn’t a great designer, but the fact that he had enough confidence in me to offer me the position was enough for me to accept.
I spent the whole summer working with the communications team coming up with posters and art for the various sermon series and learned new things every day. My final project was to design a new handbook for Summit Connect groups. I tried a few different things based on the look they had then, but kept coming to the same conclusion: I didn’t like the logo. I finally got the courage up to tell the team my feelings about it and they said “well, why don’t you rebrand it?” So I did. I spent the remaining month making about 30 different logos. All different shapes and sizes. And they picked one. The very last one I had designed. Three circles side by side that represent each type of Connect group at Summit. The logo that is still in use to this day.
I was unqualified and unprepared for an internship. And John knew it. But that didn’t stop him from believing in me and empowering me to do something huge not only for Summit, but for myself. I’ll always look back at my internship as a turning point in my life because that’s when I realized something – You don’t have to know how to make a difference to make a difference. You just need someone to believe that you can. And trust me, Summit does.
Do you want to be an intern? Great- we think you have it in you too! Apply here by April 4th.
Jeremiah Dunlap has been attending Summit for six years. In addition to his contributions to the communications department, he's volunteered as a worship band leader and member, led a Summit Connect group, and volunteered with our middle school students at Surge (that's where he met his wife, Mindy!). Jeremiah is currently a music producer, owner of Sugarcrash Kids, and a freelance graphic designer.