A Lasting Impact
“Bigger than any win on the court or field,” Gloria describes her niceSERVE project last Saturday. At first glance, it may seem a bit of an odd description for anyone who’s participated in niceSERVE, but Gloria was able to share a different perspective on Summit’s church-wide day of service.
Gloria is on staff with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and oversees their ministry at Colonial High School. She’s recently been connected with Summit as folks from the church and FCA have partnered together to help serve the school’s football and volleyball teams. Through this connection, Gloria heard about niceSERVE and shared the idea with some of the student leaders in FCA, who quickly became excited to jump on board.
They found that one of the organizations Summit serves, Orlando Children’s Church (OCC), is one with which FCA also has a long-standing relationship. When Gloria saw the “OCC Fellowship” project, she was excited for the students to have the opportunity to serve younger children as well as peers through their athletic platform. And so Gloria and nine of the students signed up to spend the morning playing games, helping with homework, and leading worship at OCC.
“We had a great time!” Gloria recalls. “Our group consisted of volleyball, soccer, and basketball players. So the girls were able to play soccer, basketball, and kickball with the kids at OCC. It was great to see them use the sport they love to connect and build relationships with others.”
But one of her favorite parts was toward the end of the project. Gloria and the FCA students split up into two groups to help lead worship; some went with the elementary school students and others went with the middle and high school students. As the student leaders started worshiping with the middle and high school group, Gloria noticed that the OCC students were all worshiping from their seats while she and the FCA students chose to stand and dance as they helped lead songs. Shortly into the first song, she watched the rest of the students, upon noticing the unrestrained worship happening around them, starting to stand and even dance a little as well. This was the kind of example she’s always encouraged her students to set—not to let fear of what others might think hold them back from expressing themselves, especially when it comes to worshiping!
After such a fun and encouraging morning, each FCA student expressed interest in serving with OCC again. Using their platform as athletes to serve and encourage others in a way that only they could is exactly the kind of thing that Gloria hopes to see come out of FCA. And as Summit continues to explore what serving and partnering with local schools looks like, it seems clear that much more of this is to come. The FCA students choosing to join Summit for niceSERVE gave us a glimpse of some of the amazing things our local schools have to offer—the relationships that only they can build, the influence that only they can have, and the skills that only they can offer.
Sometimes serving looks just how you would expect it to look. But sometimes, serving others illuminates just how much those you’re serving have to bring to the table. niceSERVE allows us all a brief look at some amazing organizations that are serving some amazing people. And through it all, Summit is incredibly grateful to get to serve and be a part, however small, of supporting systems, structures, and relationships that have potential for such a big and lasting impact.