Summit is a special place for me because God has continually used this place and the people in it to challenge me to take my next right step. From Beach Baptism to reGROUP, I thank God for the strength and boldness He has given me to take big steps.
This time, it was a step out of a job I held in corporate leadership for more than 17 years into a staff position at Summit. God is the ultimate source of our strength, but it is the community He surrounds me with that He often chooses to deliver it through. This is why connecting with others matters and why this last step, which seems large and bold, was actually the easiest difficult decision I have ever made. Doing life when there is a community to cheer you on is just easier. I love Summit and I love Summit Connect! But I must be clear, my wife and I are not that far removed from the days of walking through the open space of the lobby feeling awkward, hoping one of the few people we knew would be around just so we could hang around a little longer. We had friends but lacked any sense of community to live life with between Sundays. We could clearly see those who had the type of community we thirsted for as we walked through the lobby. Gathered in groups, talking, laughing, comfortable in the open space. But we would just hang out awkwardly for a little while, share a passing smile with someone we recognized from week’s past and head for the door. We would talk on the way home about serving or attending a Group Day whenever that comes up next, but then we got into the busyness of our weekly routine with work, travel, kid's activities and seven days later we would repeat.
So we prayed and mentioned it to some of the few people we knew at Summit. For us, the Simon Family would be who God would use to invite us into our first Connect group. They were not the leaders of the group, but they took us by the hand and brought us in. What a game changer a helping hand can be in an unfamiliar community! That first group was everything we needed. As time went on, our Connect group started to live life with each other. It wasn't just about the book we would read or the prayer requests we would record. It was about being known and knowing others. We celebrated births and victories together, we allowed the tears to flow with each other when times were hard. We served together and the open space of the lobby at Summit became comfortable. We were known here, this was our church home.
Taking your next right step when you have a community cheering you on is not as hard. This is why in this next season of Summit Connect we will be working to create more frequent and easier ways to connect with others here at Summit. I am excited about my role here, but I am more excited about having a front row seat to seeing the many communities God will build through each of you who put your hand out to invite someone into community. God changes lives in this place and I am excited to be part of it!
Dan Sherfield is the new Summit Connect Director at the Herndon campus. Feel free to reach out to Dan via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more about Summit Connect or would like help getting into a group.