In yesterday’s post I mentioned that we’re celebrating the Summit’s 10th anniversary. On February 17, 2002, Merriem and our two kids at the time walked into Homestead Heights Baptist Church (I followed along the next weekend…more on that later). The following year I went on staff, and it’s been a wild ride since.
Did I say “wild ride?” I meant “fasten your seat belts, hands inside the vehicle, stomach distress bag is in the seat in front of you, keep your eyes open, and know that the in-flight movie is something by Quentin Tarantino.”
In other words, it hasn’t always been easy, but it’s never, ever been boring.
Over the last few days I’ve reminisced on some of my favorite moments from the first decade. The vast majority of my readers probably haven’t been around long enough to remember these, but this is where we’ve come from as a church…
- I remember experiencing my first real prayer meeting where we prayed for real needs in our community. This was no organ recital (Aunt Ginny’s liver, Uncle Bob’s spleen)…we were asking God for big, bold things and believing he’d answer.
- Standing in front of a group of 30 or so Sunday School teachers and telling them we were going to make the final jump to small groups. No more classrooms. No more Sunday mornings. No more sacred class coffee makers with a brass plaque stating it’s ownership. I was as much of a rookie as you could imagine, and they handled me with more grace than I could have asked for. Those leaders accepted the challenge and today we are running nearly 8 times that number of groups.
- Standing in the back of the room at an event with my dear friend Curtis Crutchfield. I made some comment about it being “unbelievable that the Lord would bless this church this way.” Curtis – in a way that only he could – looked at me and said, “Why? Why do you ask God for something and then are surprised when he does it?”
- The Sunday mornings in the building on Holt School Road where people kept coming. And coming. And coming. We had people sitting in the hallways, in the lobby, and on the steps leading up to the balcony. People on the front row didn’t have to worry about J.D.’s spit as much as him kneeing them in the eyeball…that’s how close they were sitting to the stage. There were mornings that I was seriously afraid the Fire Marshall would show up and drag us all off to jail.
- Sharing cramped office space with Brad O’Brien, the man who saved my life.
- The Riverside High School days where we’d show up at 6 AM, not leave until 2 PM, and usually smelled like sweat or frostbite in between. Who would have thought that we’d look back at that as the “good old days?” Unloading four tractor trailers is not my idea of “good”…but what fun it was!
- Leading our very first First Impressions Team of 30 or so people to make a high school into a worship center and help every person feel like an honored first time guest on that first day.
- Baptizing UNC students as Duke students good-naturedly booed them, and vice-versa. J.D. baptizing an Indonesian girl, speaking to her in the baptistery in her native tongue (not a dry eye in the house). Baptizing my two oldest sons on the same day, and dousing the back row of the choir in the process. Baptizing my good friend Tommy Swain…a moment I’d prayed for since I met him. Baptizing dozens of people in Falls Lake in the middle of a drenching rainstorm. The first Sunday we tried mass baptisms (against all my protests, by the way) and I was proved so, so wrong in a glorious way.
- Officiating the wedding of Mike & Kristen. I’ve officiated more before and since, but theirs will always stand out because of their amazing step of obedience in letting Jesus direct their relationship.
- And the big events? Oh how I’ve loved the big events. Our first Easter service at the Marriott in downtown Durham. Church at the Ballpark. Christmas Alive / Spectacular / Palooza / whatever we called it in that particular year.
- Seeing story after story after story of life change. My life change. It would take a thousand blogs to begin to scratch the surface.
So what about you? Whether you’ve been here since 2012 or since 1962, I want to hear your favorite memory. We all do! Comment below…