As Toni’s boyfriend tossed her things onto the front porch, she felt deep disappointment and embarrassment—she was 32 years old with two children, six months pregnant, and homeless.
She called her friend Nick, who helped her pack her car and found her a place to sleep for the night. The next morning, she met Nick’s friend Valerie, who asked if she could pray for Toni and offered to walk her through the prayer of salvation.
“That prayer changed my life,” Toni shared. “I fought her, and I fought Nick. I fought myself for that matter. But on that day, I couldn’t fight God. In just an instant, I surrendered, and I never felt better. For the first time in my life, I stopped trying to be my own superhero or my own savior.
“It’s amazing how tragedy can turn into triumph. From that day forward, I removed my own cape and stopped trying to solve all my issues on my own. I let the Lord handle it, and he’s proven to be better at the job.”
Nick and Valerie invited Toni to attend the first service at a new church, City Awakening in Orlando, where they were part of the launch team. This September, on the day of the launch, Toni was there—with her boyfriend. They were two of 220 people who attended that day, many of whom heard the gospel for the first time.
Stories like this are now a part of The Summit Church’s legacy, as City Awakening and several other Summit church plants have recently launched with huge numbers. Every one of those numbers represents a life being changed by the gospel.
At King’s Cross Church in Charleston, South Carolina, 232 adults and 56 children were present for their launch this summer, and new volunteers have stepped up from all walks of life to make the church a success. One man, Mike, was an elder at another local church and felt led to be a part of King’s Cross, along with his family. He now humbly and faithfully serves on the set-up team each week. He is part of a team that makes it possible for people to be spurred to obedience, like four adults who stepped forward during a service and want to be baptized for the first time as believers.
Another plant, Two Cities Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, launched in September with 519 people, a staggering number that is a testament to the Summit’s influence on that city. That’s bigger than most churches in the country, on day one. The pastor, Kyle Mercer, shared that he heard many stories from people who had been impacted and led to Christ by the Summit’s ministry. Winston-Salem was ripe for the gospel, and Kyle and his team are now harvesting the fruit of what the Summit has been sowing for 10 years in that city.
At the Summit, we believe that the local church is God’s “plan A” for reaching the nations, and to that end, we’ve sent out people from our church to plant 25 churches in the U.S. so that more people could hear and respond to the gospel. These stories from our latest plants represent the thousands of people who are now part of gospel-centered, sending churches because ordinary people—pastors and volunteers alike—allowed God to do an extraordinary work through them.
If God is calling you to be part of planting churches here in the U.S., consider applying now for the 2017-18 Church Planting Residency at The Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina. For more information, go to thesummitnetwork.com/#plant.