Summit Stories

Featured Stories

Through Unlikely Circumstances, Summit Couple Sent as Missionaries

Ben and Rachel Ober always thought they would go to the nations as missionaries some day. They heard this calling separately, before they met one another, and now they are being obedient to where God is leading them overseas. When Ben was in college, he started underlining his Bible everywhere he could find missions mentioned. This radically transformed his perspective. “I was accustomed to thinking of the Great Commission as a verse at the end of Mark, or the end of Matthew, not really God’s heart running from Genesis to Revelation.” After that, Ben was committed to going overseas as a missionary, and...

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Amid the Pandemic, the Care of Community Prevails

Kelly and Aaron Griffin know the importance of a small group community—they’ve seen it firsthand in their three years as members of The Summit Church. But they’ve never been more grateful for it than after having a child during the COVID-19 pandemic. When they began attending the Summit in 2017, Kelly was seven months pregnant with their first son, Brayden. Right away, Kelly expressed interest in serving in Summit Kids and was connected to Julie, a staff member who invested in her and trained her to be a leader when she was able to start serving after maternity leave. But...

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Summit Members See God Working Through Home Gatherings

The following stories are from the Summit’s Alamance County campus’ home gatherings. To find a home gathering nearest you, visit Jeff and Laura Jeff and Laura host a home gathering in Gibsonville. They started by sending an invitation to their entire neighborhood, where they had already begun to develop friendships, to gather with them on Sunday mornings. Recognizing the beauty and value of hospitality, Jeff and Laura extended the invitation to include a meal after the service. For their first weekend, two couples from their neighborhood joined to worship alongside several Alamance County friends, and one of the couples stayed afterward...

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Disciple-making Disciples: Jonathan’s Stewardship Story

When Jonathan Marrero and his wife, Marilyn, attended Financial Peace University years ago, God began calling him to trust and surrender his personal finances—and teaching him to use what he was learning to serve others.Now he and Marilyn both serve with the stewardship ministry at the Summit, coaching others on personal financial principles that honor God. As Jonathan counseled people at the church, he also felt he could offer something to his coworkers, who often talked about their financial struggles.“I would hear people talking about their lights getting cut off or worrying about a paycheck being late,” he said. “And...

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We Send Every Member | The Ashby’s Story

Emily and Reid never thought a global pandemic would be their ticket to serving with a church plant overseas. But when the world turned upside down this spring, and Emily began working remotely, God was bringing something beautiful out of something tragic. In March, Emily, an accountant in Research Triangle Park, was allowed to work remotely as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, something that didn’t seem possible before social distancing procedures became necessary. A few months later, Emily and Reid started praying about a risky possibility. Rather than working remotely from their home in the Triangle, they wanted...

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Durham Neighborhood Sees Impact of Summit Member’s Faithfulness

Lou Brogden has worked with children all her life. She loves their bright smiles and big hugs. As a music minister and a teacher for many years, she has always had the same aim: for children to know how much they are loved by God. A native of Durham, Lou has attended the Summit for 15 years and has always been involved in serving and local outreach. She serves with pre-K classes in Summit Kids at the North Durham campus. And about 14 years ago, she started Kids Club at Oxford Manor, an under-resourced housing community in Durham.Every Saturday, Lou packs...

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Refugee women experience the gospel, learn job skills through Hope Threads

As Katherine Jackson listened to a podcast in April 2018, she learned about a program that helps refugee women learn job skills and earn an income within a community. This sparked an idea.Being an English as a second language (ESL) teacher, Katherine saw the need in her own community for refugee women to improve their English skills, earn income, and become more independent. She shared her ideas with her friend Amy Rauch and her Summit small group. Pretty soon, she and Amy had an outline for Hope Threads, an educational workforce program for refugee women.But Hope Threads wouldn't only meet...

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Summit Friends and Members Help Renew Homeless Woman’s Faith

Everyone needs someone to believe in them, especially when life has knocked them down. For some who are experiencing crisis, the timely encouragement and support of others can lead to renewed faith in God and humanity. Allison,* a Summit member, first became acquainted with Tori in 2014 when she hired Tori, an interior designer, to help decorate her home. They quickly found that they enjoyed each other’s company and soon became close friends. Then Tori’s life suddenly spiraled out of control, as she experienced a messy divorce, a downturn in business, and even the loss of her home. Finding herself homeless,...

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Prison Ministry: Lay Down Your Fears

For years, I had been praying for God to lead me to a group of marginalized people that I could feel a real burden and love for. When my husband became the prison campus pastor at the Summit, I was sure that this was not the people that I had been praying for. I had never been inside a prison and was quite confident that I never wanted to be. In fact, I was terrified at the thought. Getting my blue card was the first step in showing my support of what he was doing. At the campus launch of NCCIW,...

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ServeRDU Testimony: There Is a ‘Sense of Pride’ at Fox Road Elementary

“Fox Road Elementary School is back in session!” ministry leader Lori Surlak shared. “I was recently at the school, delivering some items to the Fox Den hygiene pantry we support, and I cannot tell you enough about how appreciative the students and faculty were for all we accomplished over the summer through ServeRDU. Dr. Lewis, the principal, put together a slide show with pictures of our teams working and gave a presentation to the faculty when they arrived back at the campus. They were overwhelmed by the amount of people and support they saw at the school. Parents and students...

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How One Summit Couple Let Go of a ‘Normal’ Life to Follow God’s Call

Giles and Lacey Fort, members at the Summit’s North Raleigh campus, have been married for seven years. For the first few years they lived a fairly typical American life. With great careers, a happy marriage, and a cute French bulldog puppy, life was good … for the most part. While they were fairly happy in their careers, Giles says something was missing: “We couldn’t shake the feeling that we were being called away from the ‘normal life’ we were living.” Sharing a common background of ministering to young people and more specifically to young girls in need of Christian love and...

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Serving to Make the Invisible Visible

“I just want to say thanks for your help with the backpack that is really helpful for us. I hope God bless [sic] you for everything you’re doing, and gives you the chance for keep helping to us [sic]… Remember, ‘with God, all things are possible.’” This note was written to our church by a Riverside High School student, one of more than 2,000 students at 24 Triangle schools and organizations who received a backpack from the Summit’s backpack drive last August. In addition to being filled with much-needed school supplies, each backpack included information on getting connected with a mentor from...

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8 Ways To Get Started In Local Outreach in 2017

As the new year kicks off, our Serve365 teams at every campus are looking for folks to join them as they serve our city. We’re highlighting 8 ways you can get started in one of our local outreach initiatives right now. If you’re not sure which to choose, grab a small group member to go with you or find out which Serve365 teams are at your campus. Dinner For Homeless Families – Wednesday, January 11th Join the team serving dinner to more than 250 homeless neighbors at the Urban Ministries shelter in Durham. Learn more about serving the homeless year-round. Prayer Night For...

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ReCity: A Project of Unity

4,000: This is the estimated number of disconnected youth in Durham who aren’t in school and aren’t working. 400: This is the number of non-profit organizations in Durham that serve youth. Something about these two numbers doesn’t add up, and that’s exactly what pastors at the Summit thought when they heard these statistics two years ago as part of a report from the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant. With 400 non-profits specifically targeted at youth in Durham, how could there still be 4,000 disconnected youth? Seeking answers and solutions to this situation led to the Summit starting what is now known as...

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Multiply: Made For This

An award is intended to recognize the person receiving it. But Summit member and Heritage High School English and global studies teacher Miles Macleod prefers not to have the attention. In fact, he was nominated multiple times for his school’s teacher-of-the-year honor, but he refused to accept. Finally, this year, he relented when his wife, Erin, pointed out that it could be useful for future opportunities. He went on to be named 2016–2017 Wake County Teacher of the Year. Miles doesn’t see the award as validation. In a humble spirit, he knows he’s a good teacher. He knows he is a good...

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