When you think of church, what is the first thing that comes to mind? A building?
But what if church is not actually a building?
What if church is actually the very people in the building?
People like you and me.
And with people, come stories… all different kind of stories.
Meet Angie, one of the people who makes up this great church we call The Summit:
“I came to the Summit after an invite from a longtime friend whom had been attending for about a year. She couldn’t say enough great things about this place. I was like, why not, it would give me an opportunity to reconnect with my dear friend on a regular basis and get back into the Word.
Each Sunday, I came in, hummed a few songs, received the message, hummed a few more songs, had some prayer time, and then headed out the back door greeted by Pastor Jim’s friendly smile and farewell handshake. Each week my cup was being filled, I was surrounded by friendly people, and I heard great sermons. Life was good and I was content.
This routine carried on for well over a year, and then something started to stir inside me. I wasn’t sure what was causing it; I just knew something was different and I had to figure out why. Eventually, I started to realize that being content wasn’t enough, I wanted more…
Not long after this realization, I ran into an acquaintance from work as I was leaving church one Sunday. We chatted a few minutes and something was mentioned about small groups. I told her I was reluctant to join a group because I really didn’t know many people in the church and I’m not really one that likes to ‘join’ things (I’m more of the reserved type that likes to worship quietly and leave unnoticed). Well, the next thing I knew, she invited me into her small group and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I was very apprehensive, but I figured I would put my toe in and see what the water was like, if I didn’t like it I would politely decline the next invitation.
We were a group of twelve and we met weekly on Wednesday’s. We had dinner, watched videos and discussed the messages contained in the study guide. It was a little awkward at first discussing God’s word with a group of strangers, but as time went on, we all became more comfortable and leaned into the experience. After two or three study series we were all cutting up and having a good time joking around with each other. This small group experience was great, who knew?
Our group met weekly for about a year when the group leader asked if we would be interested in taking on a new challenge. She thought we, as a group, were ready to embark on the Follower’s Made series. However, this decision came with one caveat; the group as we knew it would disband after the series ended. I was distraught. No longer had I considered the other eleven people strangers, they were my friends and I didn’t want to leave them. We eventually got over our sorrows and agreed we would take on the new endeavor together.
Although I hadn’t been ‘long’ in my walk with the Lord, I did think I had a solid belief and I considered myself a ‘follower’ of Jesus Christ. Well, that was my thought ‘before’ reading the first book in the Follower’s Made series called ‘Not a Fan’ by Kyle Idleman. After reading this book, and doing some self-reflection, I realized that I couldn’t be further from the truth. I was a ‘fan’. This book got me all fired up. I didn’t want to just simply ‘call’ myself a Christian; I wanted others to ‘see’ that I was a Christian. The Follower’s Made program helped me get closer in meeting that goal.
One of the lessons from the Follower’s Made study was to find our spiritual gifts and put them into action. Okay, this totally freaked me. I had no idea what a spiritual gift was, let alone try and find one that I could put into action. I had many long conversations with God asking Him to reveal my spiritual gifts. Deep down, I had an idea what He wanted me to do, but I kept trying to convince Him otherwise. There was absolutely no way I was going to put myself out there and lead a group of any sort. No way, no how, never!
Well, two small groups and one Follower’s Made group later, guess who ended up with the Leadership spiritual gift. You guessed it!
Trust me; this discovery didn’t go down without a long and fierce battle. I fought Him tooth and nail, trying to convince God that He really wanted me to use my other gifts – faith, administration, helping, encouragement. Turns out, those gifts come in handy while leading others on a quest to find their own spiritual gifts.”
– Angie Ackerman