Shortly after the You are Here Singles Seminar a few months ago, Teaching Minister Zach Van Dyke approached me and told me he and his wife Kelly had an idea for a singles group they wanted me to be a part of. I was excited that my pastor and my friends were starting something like this, but wasn't initially convinced that it would be a place I would stick around in for a while.
I have a pretty solid community and have been around Summit for a while— going to a new Connect group didn't sound like my next step. But looking back on these past couple months, the Lord has done something profound in this group and in my life in the process.
A few really special things happened as I became a part of Zach and Kelly's group. First, I have found an incredible group of people to do life with and to study the word of God with. Week after week we discussed things I wouldn't typically bring up with friends— asking hard questions and wrestling through the answers. This intentional time has not only grown me in my relationship with God, but has also brought me closer to these people I am learning with. Before I knew it, I was going to dinner with some of them before group and talking to them in the Lobby on Sundays and inviting them to my college graduation party. These people that I have gotten to know at Zach and Kelly’s study have become people I am doing life with, after I was so convinced that I wasn’t even looking for that.
Another really sweet thing has been getting to spend time with Zach and Kelly in their home on Tuesday nights. As we show up for study, their kids are being fed dinner, finishing homework, and getting put to bed. Zach and Kelly not only invite us into their home, but into their lives. I have had the privilege of working with Zach and knowing him and Kelly on a personal level for a while, but this has been a really unique, new side to my friendship with them. Zach isn’t just my pastor I learn from on Sundays or my co-worker in the break room, he is a dad, husband, and friend. Kelly isn’t just a friend I look up to and get to see in the Lobby on Sundays, but a mom I get to see in action and a host that welcomes me and my peers into her home. Seeing them both live their lives in front of me and invite us all into it with them has been a profound gift.
For this summer, we’re going through Ephesians with the rest of our church. We started this together by watching one of the video resources Summit provides, reading through the entire book aloud as a large group, and then discussing in smaller groups. On any given week, someone other than Zach leads the discussion. It’s through this that I get to gain insight from my peers and talk through what I think about the Scripture. Though Zach is involved in the discussion, everyone has a voice and, in a really sweet way, we all get to learn from each other.
Time and time again the Lord shows up in ways that I would never have written in my story or expected. The community I have found in this study is yet another example of that. I am so thankful for the people I have gotten to know and become friends with through the process of joining this group and I am just so glad that Jesus has gifted me community in an unexpected place.
We are really big fans of community around here, and would love to help you get connected!
Carlin Johnson is a (recently) former employee at Summit as our First Impressions Coordinator at the Herndon campus. She currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a big fan of pizza parties, adventures, and her people.