Published: 7 years ago

The Sermon Really Does Start In The Parking Lot

Every once in a while an email comes across my computer screen that just has to be shared. This is one of those. I share the following (abbreviated) selection with the author’s permission:

Hello Danny,

My name is Johnson Bishop*, and I am a freshman this year at UNC. I have been attending the Summit at [Brier Creek] South since I have been attending school.Within these first few weeks, I cannot adequately describe the way that I have continued to be encouraged by the welcomers/welcoming committee at church, which I recently learned was called “First Impressions.” We generally park up beyond the [Brier Creek] North campus, and to be honest, one of my favorite parts of Sunday mornings is the chance I have to walk to and from North campus to South campus. In those few hundred yards, I feel like I am so at home.

Not only has your First Impressions team been extremely warm and welcoming, but I feel just as welcomed by many members of the congregation that I pass on the sidewalk. It is so evident that the love of Christ is what is compelling the people at the Summit to act in such a way, even at 9 am on a Sunday morning. Each week I have caught glimpses of members living life as the body of Christ, and it is such a powerful display of the importance of community, fellowship, and the true church – all three which are priorities in my life.

So, I guess you can consider this email as a “thank you” email! Thank you to your First Impressions team who has done an amazing job making me feel welcome in the first few weeks that I have been attending the Summit – those first impressions have been so positive! Thank you for making the Summit a church that is visible body of believers which extends far beyond the church building. Thank you for the joy that is felt, because of Christ, on a Sunday morning. I have loved seeing what Jesus has done in me through the few weeks I have been attending the Summit, and I am praying fervently that He will continue to display Himself through the Summit and will work in my friends at church in the same way He is working in me. It is obvious to me that the Holy Spirit is vibrantly present among the people of the Summit, and I pray that His presence will be a noticeable to others as it has been to me.


Johnson Bishop
Did you catch that? This guy parks at one end of the campus because he enjoys the walk to the other end. If you don’t attend the Summit, you need to know that while we’re not the biggest church in America, we’re definitely the longest. Walking from one end of campus to the other is a journey of epic proportions. People without rollerblades need not apply.I shared this email with our First Impressions team this weekend, and told them that it’s stories like this that remind us why we do what we do. We’re not just door holders and car parkers. We’re an extension of the message of the gospel that people will hear inside.When someone takes time to fill out a comment card, that’s one thing. When a college student of the male species takes time to sit down and write what was originally a five-paragraph email, you know a team of volunteers really turned his world upside down.Want to join the First Impressions movement? Want to help the sermon start in the parking lot? Find out more here.(Oh, and Johnson, I’m still holding you to your promise that you’ll join us soon. You obviously understand the win!)


*name has been changed

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