In Your Very Own Backyard


Last month, I put on my cowboy boots and headed west.

Okay, so I don’t actually own a pair of cowboy boots. But I did head west. My wife Diana and I were invited to join a Summit Connect service event for groups in the Windermere/Dr. Philips area. And let me tell you, it was a blast.

On this particular evening, Connect groups were serving the West Orange campus of United Cerebral Palsy by organizing a Fall Festival. UCP is a truly outstanding organization. They have seven public charter schools throughout Central Florida that serve kids with and without disabilities. As someone who has Cerebral Palsy, I see tremendous value in what UCP does. It is a wonderful thing to see kids build friendships with each other regardless of their differences.

Upon arriving at UCP, Diana and I were greeted warmly by the Windermere/Dr. Philips Connect groups. Although we do not live in that area, we were treated as family and even given a Go West T-shirt (you know you’re legit when you get a T). Then it was time to get serving!

Connect groups set up games outside the school for the families to play. As families began arriving, I could see the excitement in the kids’ faces. Diana and I manned the corn hole station, and we loved encouraging the kids to give it their best shot. I remember one little boy who was absolutely beaming – he seemed to smile all night!

As some Connect groups helped with games, others pitched in by working the grill. There was a constant stream of hot dogs all night for families to enjoy. There was also a photo area for families to get their pictures taken. And even when the point of the night hit when mosquitoes started feasting on us, nobody wanted to leave; we were having so much fun!

this is what Connect groups are all about. Sharing the love of Jesus with our neighbors by serving them.

As we drove home, I was filled to the brim with joy. I thought to myself, “this is what Connect groups are all about. Sharing the love of Jesus with our neighbors by serving them.” The cool thing about Summit is we have Connect groups spread across all of Central Florida. Groups don’t have to travel very far to be the hands and feet of Jesus. There are opportunities in your very own backyard.

What would happen if Connect groups throughout the Summit community got together to serve their respective communities? I think the joy I saw that night would be multiplied exponentially. Over the coming months, they’ll be more “neighborhood gatherings” of Connect groups. I hope you’ll jump at the chance to be a part of them, because something changes in us when we see God at work in our communities. I know that Diana and I would love to be part of the next Windermere/Dr. Philips service project…

I’d better get a good pair of boots!



Connect groups provide the opportunity for folks at Summit to connect in Christ-centered relationships as they learn, serve, and worship together. If you would like to join a Summit Connect group,

Michael Murray is the BCL Content Coordinator at Summit Church. If you'd like to get in touch with him about BCL, how much he loves Summit Connect, or to give him advice on what kind of boots he should buy, email him at