Jesus Redefines Family - Part 3: Stephanie Devincenzo

Seeing Jesus challenge our definition of family in Mark 3:33-35, we've asked a few members to write about what this means for the church and for their daily lives. Check out Part 1 by Justin Almas here and Part 2 by Meredith Knodel here.

Being a member of the Summit church has radically transformed my view of the word ‘family’. I didn’t grow up in a tight-knit home, so family was not something that I initially valued. I used to pride myself on my independence and never asking for help.

While still living in North Carolina, I remember Bryan Barley speaking on Acts 2 and the formation of the church. This group of people had all things in common, shared when others were in need, broke bread together, and devoted themselves to learning about God. It was an appealing concept, and I had seen glimpses of this growing up in church, but it wasn’t until I moved to Denver that I genuinely began to understand the church as my family.

There was a group of us recent college grads that moved from the east coast to be a part of the church plant in 2011. We didn’t have much, and I remember so many instances where the people in our church graciously helped us to get on our feet as we transitioned from college to real life. I moved out with one suitcase and a couple hundred dollars in savings. I had a place to live but no furniture, no car, and no job. Within the first two days of arriving in Denver, a woman at church heard I was in need of a car and generously lent her second vehicle to me without expecting anything in return. Incredible stories of generosity like this occurred over the next couple years as our group settled and made Denver our home. 

We shared and experienced so much together- struggling to pay rent, juggling multiple jobs as we sought out careers, dating, breakups, heartaches, joy, exploring the mountains, and learning to be more like Jesus. We celebrated together, wept together, and helped take on each other’s burdens.

One of my favorite moments where God showed me how to rely on the church as my family was when my mom was very sick. I was told she had months to live but she was on the east coast and it was during the holidays, so flight prices were beyond what I could afford. My pride prevented me from asking for help, but my Denver family knew my need and bought tickets so I could see my mom one last time before she passed. The love I felt in that season of my life was overwhelming and unforgettable. The Summit comforted me and pushed me to draw nearer to Jesus in the midst of my sorrows.

Countless experiences like these have helped me to realize the importance of family and how beautiful it is to need people in my life. I live halfway across the country from my biological family, but have never felt in want or need. As God showed me the value of true community in Denver, He even restored and strengthened my relationship with my biological family. The church has been a genuine depiction of Acts 2, and has pushed me to invite others into this movement and share the joy that inevitably follows.