Posts in Stories
Running to Repentance

The cold winter day started just as every day did for John Smith—with an early morning run. This morning in particular, it was out at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs with an old friend, a former high school athlete, who still calls John “coach.” The pair used to see each other every day when John was the track and cross country coach at Ocoee High School, but these days they only see each other about once a year.

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StoriesAllison HurtadoreGROUP
Yet Here I Am

In a couple of months, I get to marry the man God had in mind when he thought me up. I delayed announcing the engagement on social media, partly because I wanted to relive the joy of announcing it in person as many times as possible and partly because I didn’t know what to say. I always have something to say, but the thought of making the happiest announcement of my life to 1,500 of my closest friends left me speechless.

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StoriesLaura Diaz
Undercurrent

On April 29th, 2018, Nikki Blanton walked into the water at Bethune Beach and—moments before she was baptized—her eyes filled up with tears. Nikki, who grew up in South Africa and attended an Anglican church every Sunday, explains that while she had a foundation of faith growing up it “always kind of felt like it was out there, not in here.”

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Godspell: Come See Jesus

When I first learned that Summit would be producing Godspell, my response was simple. I Googled it. Sure, I had heard the name “Godspell” before and had a general idea of what the show was about (God…?), but beyond that I didn’t have much to go on. For anyone who, like me, missed the memo on this popular, almost 50-year-old musical, the premise is simple. Based on the Gospel of Matthew, Godspell follows Jesus and a small group of friends as they bring his teachings to life.

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An Integral Part

For the few years my husband Josh and I have been attending Summit, there’s been a backpack drive. Last summer was the same as previous years. Walk into Sunday service, take a postcard in the shape of a backpack with a nifty list on the back of what to fill in it. We love the idea of helping our community, especially children, but it can be expensive to do on your own.

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Forgive & Forget

My story is one that is all too familiar to many—growing up as a girl from all over, searching for community and meaning in different places, enduring under the hand of someone who was not who he appeared to be, and longing for freedom. I lived a life that, at the time, an outsider would assume was right up next to perfect. But in our home things were rather opposite, leaving the this girl seeking escape. Escape came in the form of moving across the country for college and finding some of that longed-for community. The figurative wounds began to scar over and life began to feel different.

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StoriesMegan W.
Pursuit In The Midst of Doubt

Erich Schurga couldn’t believe it the first time one of his fellow Starting Point group members asked the exact question he’d been thinking, but was hesitant to ask. Growing up in a rule-based, Catholic home, Erich thought his questions showed a lack of faith. But in Summit’s Starting Point group he and his wife, Jackie, were encouraged to explore their faith in a conversational environment where no questions were off limits.

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Finding Their Sabbath

It looked like a quiet camp site, deep in the woods of Wisconsin, where Lauren and Mark Lanker took a week to journal, canoe, marvel at God’s creation, and actually rest. It was in that quiet that the words they had heard in a sermon almost a year prior finally took root, not only in their hearts, but in their lives. It was there that their need for true and routine rest became more real than the fear of dropping all the plates they continually had spinning. It looked like going for it, even though it didn’t seem possible.

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Just Showing Up

I use to not really like kids. (If you think you’ve accidently clicked on the wrong blog post, you didn’t. This is, in fact, for Team Summer!) I mean, they were fine to be around and I was super glad that other people had them, but when they were in my care, I had no idea what to do. So when a friend asked me if I wanted to join Team Summer in 2012, my gut reaction was “Ummm, no.” But, she asked me to think about it and I told her I would. After some polite nudging on her part, I decided to give it a try.

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From the Inside Out

I’m more of a behind-the-scenes person or a sideline cheerleader, and I love planning events. I’ve had the opportunity to oversee Summit’s Beach Baptism event for the past six years, which—if we are giving numbers—that is 13 baptisms and exactly 1,033 people taking their next step to be baptized.

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Made New

When 2017 rolled around, Farrah Torres wanted more than a resolution. She was heartbroken from a seven-year struggle with infertility and done with a faith that felt empty. Even as she went to service every Sunday she felt alone, longing for greater connection with her Savior and a church community. Farrah says, “It was all just a routine. I was in church, but I honestly didn’t know how to allow God in; how to worship him or live his way. I was ready for more.”

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With the Smores and the Stars

You wouldn’t be surprised to hear 4 and 5 year-olds Caroline and Amelia Frye explain how tall and fast the waterslide at Family Camp was. Nor would it seem odd that they had a favorite camp song that they’re happy to sing for anyone who’s interested (it’s about bananas and it has some pretty cool hand motions to go along with it). However, it was the answer to the question, “What was your favorite part of Family Camp?” that made me stop and realize what a special experience the Frye family had.

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Perspectives

In late 2013, Becky had just moved to Orlando and realized really quickly that finding new friends in early adulthood can be tricky. A freshly-graduated Jordan knew she needed an environment to keep up with her faith. And after a previous Connect group had died a “natural, painless death,” Susanna was ready to start her own. And that’s how they got here—varied stories in their rearview mirrors, with different perspectives driving them, and solid friendships up on the horizon.

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This Hope

A few summers ago, Zach posed the question: “If you never get __________ (fill in the blank with your heart’s deepest desire), is Jesus still enough?” I sat there in the Herndon Sanctuary with sad, mad tears streaming down my face because I knew my answer to that question was no. I knew deep down that my hope was not in Christ alone.

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StoriesAsha Junot
At God's Table

It happens the same each time: the sermon has just been wrapped up, the band reenters the stage, and the campus minister explains the process, which leaves many wondering how to spell the word intinction.

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StoriesSarah Land
Driving In Circles

“Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” Those were some of the first sentences I learned in Wolof, a language spoken in a fair few places in West Africa. Though it’s been more than 10 years since I spent time working there, I have yet to hear or read that verse without it being replayed back to me in my head in Wolof.

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StoriesKari Freeman
The Search for Surrender

As we have begun our journey through reading the Gospels and discovering who Jesus really was as he walked this earth, I have kept this one verse on a loop in the back of my mind. As I’ve allowed the stories of the Gospel of John to play out in my imagination, I find myself looking for the moments in which Jesus faced all of the struggles I face in my own life today—from the intense and painful moments of my life to the seemingly mundane and innocuous ones.

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Choosing Faith

I once asked my 9th-grade girls at Edge if Jesus feels real to them. I asked if they felt the bigness of what God did for us in sending the Messiah to die for our messes. I don’t know that they actually understood what I was asking, but I kept going. “It’s one thing to logically know it, it’s another thing to feel it,” I said to them. Then I told them what I so desperately wish someone had told me when I was their age, “It’s OK if it doesn’t feel real to you right now. It didn’t feel real to me for a long time.”

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Worth The Risk

Last June, I walked into Cathy Drake’s Thornton Park home—full of strangers—for a Connect group meeting. I didn’t go because I wanted to make new friends or because I wanted to get plugged into Summit. I went because I thought I should go. I was wrestling with whether or not Jesus is who he said he is and the implications it would have for my life if I chose to believe it. 

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