Lake Mary Campus Update Part 1: A Note from Garry

Over the past nearly two years I have seen incredible things. I have seen people sacrifice for, give to, pray for, and believe in something that didn’t yet exist. I have seen people give up what is known for something unknown, all because they believe God can and will transform people’s lives if doors are opened for them to come in contact with Him. I have seen people form new Summit Connect groups, serve in new places with new organizations at niceSERVE, and volunteer with teams like First Impressions or Base Camp at a new expression of Summit in Lake Mary. I’ve seen people say again and again, “I’ll go.” We call all of this  multi-site. The result has looked like people finding places to serve that they had no idea would fit so beautifully with how God has wired them up, or finding new people to do life with, or taking the bold step of being baptized because they walked into a building on Sunday and heard about Jesus, who came in love to make this life and the next different for anyone who would follow Him.

Over the past nearly two years I have been asked to cheer as loudly as I can as I watched God work through ordinary people with extraordinary potential, saying, “I’ll go.” But I knew from the beginning, eventually, as ministry grew and the right leaders for what comes next at the Lake Mary campus were identified, that a time would come when I would no longer have the privilege of serving in that role. From the beginning, we wanted to do ministry likened as close to what we see in the church of the Scriptures as possible. In Acts 14, we get a picture of Paul and Barnabas recognizing, as people were leaving everything they had and everything they knew to follow Jesus, that what is best for the church in specific locations was to appoint leadership who knew and cared deeply for those places.

In like fashion, OJ Aldrich will be taking over the campus minister role at the Lake Mary campus. At the core, what is needed most for a campus minister to succeed is loving God and loving people, caring about the ministry of Summit, and loving the specific place in which the campus is located. I could not be more excited about this, as OJ and his family love God and people so well, have led ministry at Summit, and care deeply about Lake Mary. Over the past few months OJ has been learning the specifics of the role as we transition leadership to him.

It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the campus minister at Lake Mary. My family has grown there. My son was baptized as part of that congregation, and we have enjoyed so much doing life with the family there. Though it brings me a certain level of sadness that I won’t be with the Lake Mary family as those wonderful people continue to reach people who are far from God with the love and hope of Jesus, I know God has prepared OJ and the campus for this. For that reason, I have great joy about what comes next. The incredible things are just starting.


InsightsGarry Abbott