One Thing Hasn't Changed

Mar 31, 2017

I consider myself one of the lucky ones to have known J.D. Greear for 25 years. I met him while he was spending the summer interning for my church’s youth group in Florida. He was a college student, and we were a small church, just starting out. Instantly our church family—and my own family—loved J.D. The pastors there recognized that there was something very special about him. My mom and dad were new believers, and I watched as every day J.D. faithfully poured into them. They looked to this 20-year-old man as he led them and taught them about Jesus.

J.D. taught the weekly youth group gatherings, usually at our home, and I watched my parents soak in everything he taught. They began to thrive in their walk with the Lord. My sisters and I were growing through all of this, too. Our home was J.D.’s home, and he loved me and my sisters like his own family.

During that same summer, he led a group of teenagers to love and reach their friends for Jesus. I saw dozens of middle and high school students’ lives radically saved that first summer and many summers following. This was the J.D. that I knew then: a young man modeling what it looked like to walk with Christ; a young man who met with God daily; a young man who prayed big prayers, loved people well, and wanted the good news of God’s salvation to be heard all over the world.

I moved to Raleigh in 2004. I had needed a change, and J.D. talked me into believing that Raleigh was the best place to live (12 years later and I still believe it!). I was a little unsure of what God had in store for me, but since that time, I have been blown away. I joined the Summit while they were still transitioning from Homestead Heights Baptist Church, and I watched God move in big ways. I watched as the church grew in numbers and people grew in their faith. I watched as the passion for our city and the nations grew in the people of my new church. With all the change happening around the Summit, there was one thing that did not change: J.D. was still modeling and teaching the church what it looked like to walk with Christ. I watched him meet with God daily. I watched him as he continued to pray big prayers (and I rejoiced as I watched God answer them). I watched him love people well. I watched him spread his desire for the good news of God’s salvation to be heard all over the world.

For 25 years now, I have watched J.D. grow in his passion for the gospel. I have learned more from him about being a friend, being a disciple of Jesus, studying the Bible, hiding God’s truth in my heart, and loving as Jesus loves than from any other person in my life. To have known him for these past 25 years has been a joy and a privilege. I am so thankful.

I do not believe that The Summit Church is growing and thriving solely because of Pastor J.D.’s leadership. I do strongly believe, however, that God has blessed us with a pastor who leads us to Christ daily. I am so grateful to call J.D. a friend, our leader, and our pastor. And I am excited to watch God continue to work through him in the life of The Summit Church as I look to the next 15 years with great anticipation for what God has in store!

by Leslie Douglas