When my husband, Jimmy, and I moved from Asheville to Orlando, we couldn’t wait to be a part of this incredible community that we had heard so much about and had experienced glimpses of during our visits to Summit. We began attending the Lake Mary campus around the time that niceSERVE was coming around. We didn’t really know how to get connected in a church as big as Summit, but we had heard a lot about niceSERVE and knew we wanted to be a part of it!
We loved the idea of God’s people being on mission to serve the community around them in a tangible way. Until then, neither one of us had ever been a part of such a thing and it was intriguing.
When niceSERVE came around, I felt nervous. This was the first major thing we were going to do to really get involved at Summit. Up to this point, many people knew of us but did not know us and this was our first step to letting people in, even if only for a few hours. When we chose our project we chose blindly. We didn’t know the people serving and we didn’t know a thing about the organization, we just knew we wanted to serve, wanted to be a part of the bigger picture being painted here.
As we pulled into the driveway of our project the morning of niceSERVE, we got a call from the babysitter saying that our daughter, Isabel, was very upset and they thought we should come and get her. Feeling a little deflated and very embarrassed, we headed back to Lake Mary to pick her up. After a very tense car ride with a very upset child in the backseat, I said to Jimmy, “We should just go home. We’ll try when she’s older. It would just be easier to take her home and let her nap.” We sat in the parking lot trying to decide what to do. We didn’t want to let the organization or our serving team down, but this no longer seemed like a convenient morning for serving. Our group was going to be cleaning and organizing a food pantry. When I cleaned at home, I would wear Isabel in a wrap, so I figured I could do that while serving too.
So, once my frustrations and embarrassment had subsided, I was able to see that this day was bigger than my nerves, bigger than my screaming child and bigger than my momentary frustrations. We were being called to serve— called to serve God and others, not when it is most convenient for us, but when it was needed. And this was a day that there was a very real need for our help. With Isabel in her wrap, I mopped floors, wiped down fridges, and helped organize a food pantry.
I can tell you with great confidence that I would not be where I am today if we had given in to the nerves and embarrassment of that morning and just gone home. I would not have discovered my love of serving and my heart for ministry. We would not have met our first Connect group—some of our best friends that we continue to do life with today. Participating in niceSERVE was a great first step for us and God used that day of serving others to open our eyes to all that he had in store for us through this place. We just needed to be willing to take that step. God can and does do amazing things through niceSERVE, not just for those being served, but for those serving too. My story is a testament to that.
Our church-wide service day, niceSERVE is May 14th. This is an amazing day in the life of our church and you should absolutely be there as we serve our city together! Sign up for a project and find more information here or at your campus on a Sunday.
Amy Kaufholz is the Ministry Coordinator at our Lake Mary campus. So when she talks about niceSERVE being her first step into community here, she means it and she's taken lots of great steps since! You can email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about niceSERVE, Summit, or the best way to mop while wearing a baby!