Not Over Yet
The sun is shining, although there’s a chill in the air. The sound of hammering is thick and chaotic. There are ladders and boards, and people milling about everywhere. There’s work being done, by many different hands. A laugh echoes across the property and you see in the faces of those gathered that there’s more being built here than just a house: we’re building a home.
A particular group of guys stands out to me. They have fun, but look focused on getting the job done as well. “I went in there expecting to knock out a task,” laughs Todd Radcliffe later. “But I realized there was a different atmosphere… it was more about being there, spending time investing in each other and the family personally, even more so than working on the house.” That task Todd is referring to is building a Habitat house for a family.
That family, well they’re one of ours. (Read the family’s story, as it appeared in Issue 28 of the Summit Magazine, here.)
Habitat for Humanity is an organization that provides a family who would not otherwise have a way to purchase a home, the opportunity to do so at a more affordable cost. Although there’s much more to it, one way this is accomplished is by allowing the family to make a down payment in hours worked. However, since this equals around 500 hours in sweat equity, it is no easy task.
This particular house started as a prayer request.
For a while, a Summit family had been asking the prayer team after services for prayer regarding a house. One Sunday, that request for prayer turned to a celebration of praise… God had opened a door for them to walk through the Habitat process. As this story was shared with Summit staff, several staff members started asking how we could serve the family in the process. Summit Connect Director Dan Sherfield remembers, “We knew they had a large number of hours to contribute and that half of the time could be contributed by their community. So we reached out to Connect groups to help.”
Without any real knowledge of who the family was, Dan rallied people together to meet the need.
Because the family had young children, one parent and the older son were contributing hours by working on the house, while the other parent had to stay home. So Dan reached out to Connect groups who could best partner with the family and provide childcare, allowing the family to significantly increase the number of hours they could contribute in a day, expediting the completion of their hours. Nick Augello, a Summit Connect group member working on the house, shared, “I think it speaks to the church having their eyes and ears open and asking those right questions.”
As I pick up a hammer next to a couple of groups over the next few weeks, I start to wonder—what does it mean to build a home? And what happens when raising the four walls of a house becomes secondary to the slow piecing together of another home—community.
“It was a missing piece in our group, to serve alongside each other,” says Jerod Freeland, a Summit partner. “As we worked together, our stories came out. During that time, conversations arose that would not normally come up. I learned more about these men who I’d been in group with for a few years. And as we serve more as a group, those curious questions continue.”
Even though he’s part of a different Connect group, Nick agrees. “It’s the best way to get to know each other. It’s knowing them as more than just a face on Sunday morning, but a person you’ve helped build the body of Christ with.”
All this talk of serving the family may sound one-sided, but it’s just the opposite. This is a family that pours into Summit as well. Jerod has been volunteering with Surge and Edge (Summit’s middle and high school ministries) for years. “Seeing the son grow, and watching him as he volunteers day in and day out, pouring into Summit every Sunday… it’s great to be able to serve him back, and partner with him in this.”
Dan jumps in, “This is a story that’s not over yet. Here’s a family right in our community that loves us and gives to us, and we have the opportunity to love them and give to them."
Our church-wide service event, niceSERVE, is right around the corner! Sign up for a project with your family, your Connect group, your friends, or ride solo and see what kind of community God builds through a group serving together!
Del Schwalls has been attending Summit for ten years! He has been involved at Edge, has led several niceSERVE projects and Connect groups, has volunteered on First Impressions and the Prayer Team, performed in BCL, led at reGROUP, and served on our worship team. Yep, that's a lot.