Reflections: Eric Barley

There are a lot of exciting developments happening at The Summit! In anticipation of planting our AM Congregation on February 15, we asked some of our members to share their experiences of what it's looked like to be part of the Summit family.

Last summer I had a good conversation with Justin Almas. It was right before my wedding and he wanted to know how I was doing and how the planning was coming along.  As we talked, we reminisced on when we first met. He reminded me that on that February day I had planned to look for jobs, but put it on hold after I realized it had snowed. We laughed, and he said “Eric, don’t take this the wrong way, but you’ve really come a long way since I first met you.” He was right.

When I first met Justin, I had just arrived in Denver. I was living with my brother and sister-in-law and heavily examining the post-graduate crossroads I had stumbled upon. Life had been pretty easy and planned up to this point, yet in recent months the difficulty had picked up. That year I completed my bachelor’s degree, but struggled to find consistent work, gone through a rough breakup and picked up some seriously unhealthy habits (don’t start smoking or rely on fast food for meals!). I just had this feeling there should be more to all of this and my immediate priorities didn’t offer sustainable hope.

It was right around that time I was welcomed to the Summit. Bryan and Megan invited me. I knew they were intimately involved with a church plant in Denver but upon my arrival church going really wasn’t a priority for me. I offered to go out of courtesy.

That night, the focus was on Jacob’s story in Genesis. He was at a crossroads, wrestling with God, and like myself, he was unwilling to face the challenges ahead of him. God intervened with fear, yet he provided safety. It felt like the sermon had been written for me. With the series of events in the prior year, it seemed like this moment had been planned. I wanted to know more.

It is easy to write off those blue cards that the Summit references each Sunday, yet they really were a gateway for the next step.  They led to conversations with leaders and involvement with a city group. Attendance led to new friendships and many of the next steps I was desperately in search of. I found a job through my friends at the Summit, I met my wife at the Summit and I was encouraged run my first 5K because of the Summit. The last three years with the Summit have been a crash course into one of God’s most wonderful provisions: the Church.

This year will mark three years since I had the opportunity to proclaim my faith in Christ through baptism. Now, as I continue to walk in community and faith I cling to the words that were spoken in that moment, “His death your death, His victory your victory.”  

Reflections: Brian & Melissa Turney

There are a lot of exciting developments happening at The Summit! In anticipation of planting our AM Congregation beginning February 15, we asked some of our members to share their experiences of what it's looked like to be part of the Summit family.

Corrie ten Boom once said so perfectly, "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." There have been plenty of times in our marriage that God has taught us the power in trusting Him who loves us to infinitely, but never more so than when we decided to buy a house in the city of Denver.

When the idea of buying a house came up, we had been in Denver for over a year and half. The idea of buying a house – of really committing, of putting down roots in a city across the country from our families was pretty scary. Aside from the commitment aspect, finances were another issue, yet as we explored the idea and sought out wisdom in prayer - something just seemed to be right about it. We knew Denver was home. We had fallen in love with this place almost immediately after moving here. More than mountains or craft beer, our love for Denver was fueled by a church full of people whom we loved and who loved us back; people who we were excited to live on mission with to share the love of Jesus with the people around us. So when a house opened up, and finances miraculously came together, we were ready to go all in and make Denver our home for the foreseeable future.

We wish we could end this post here, and that’d be the story of how the Turneys bought a house. Unfortunately, things did not go quite as smoothly as we had planned. 

Our seemingly known future suddenly became very unknown when there was a title mix-up between the bank and the seller of the home we were under contract for. The purchase of our home was delayed, although we had no idea for how long, nor did we have another place to live – our lease at the apartment that we had been renting to that point had lapsed. We were essentially homeless - the two of us, our 8 month-old son Charlie and our dog Oreo. 

Enter Chris and Jen Wooten, who offered their home to us in our time of uncertainty. Oftentimes, as Christians, we want to be generous - we give some money here and there and practice generosity in the least messy ways possible - the kind of ways that allow us to go home unaltered and seriously unaffected by those acts of generosity. But not the Wootens, they invited us to an open-ended stay and never once made us feel like we were in the way. They loved us more than their comfort. They loved us radically as Christ does. 

What we hoped would be a couple weeks eventually turned into a four-month ordeal and ended in us never getting the original house we wanted (we found a better and cheaper one - thank you Jesus!). The whole time, the Wootens and other families like the Barleys and Gambills generously served and cared for us. Countless friends offering to babysit so we could take time to have real conversation and time together to grow in our faith and relationship as our family was growing too (Did we mention that we discovered we were pregnant with Zoie during this time?). Despite the adversity, we came away from the whole thing more firmly committed to being a part of The Summit family and its mission to Denver. 

Bryan promised us before we ever moved here that God would use Denver and the Summit to push us, to show us His love and character more than we could imagine. Four years later that has proven to be so very true, especially in the times we can’t see the path clearly. It is in those times that the gospel, the fact that Christ laid aside all comfort to love us in a way that would hurt him so much, but bring us to know Him more, is our known in the unknown. 


Reflections: Joshua Kerr

There are a lot of exciting developments happening at The Summit! In anticipation of our upcoming Celebration Sunday (Feb. 8, 5:15pm), as well as us planting our AM Congregation beginning February 15, we asked some of our members to share their experiences of what it's looked like to be part of the Summit family.

When I think of the Summit, I think of two things: Life Change (personally and collectively) and Family. 

Life change is the first thing that comes to my mind because God used the Summit to significantly change my life and I have the privilege of seeing the Summit change lives around the world. The Summit changed my life because you continually preached the Gospel to me until it fundamentally changed my heart and then you modeled to me a life lived with a heart changed by the love of Christ. You poured into me, taught me what it meant to study my Bible, to pray, and to share my faith.  At the Summit I was taught that just as surely and strongly as I was reconciled to God, I am as surely and strongly called to reconcile people to God, to make disciples (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). 

This all began to spill over into every area of my life and eventually lead me into full time ministry with Cru. Because of God’s work through the Summit, I now have the privilege of sharing the love of Christ with Graduate Students and Professors at Penn State and around the world. There are now new believers in Central Asia and around the world because the Summit was/is obedient and available to be used by God to change peoples’ lives. The impact the Summit is having reminds me of Jeremiah 29, where God calls Israel to plant, invest, and grow in the land they are exiled, because when the people of the land prosper, so will they. By the Summit planting and investing in the city of Denver, God is changing lives at a personal, community, and global level. It starts in your heart, spills over to your neighbor, your street, your city, and then to the ends of the world (Acts 1:8). 

I may not attend the Summit each week anymore, but I was trained, equipped, and sent by you. I am forever thankful for the men who invested in me, the couples that modeled for me Godly marriages, and the selfless service of the members of the church. The best part is that all of this takes place in the context of family or community at the Summit. In essence you tangibly live out the Bible’s call to do life together as a body of believers. This type of community, one in which the Church comes together to encourage, serve, teach, and care for one another, is prioritized at the Summit and it is where I first saw this lived out. It reminds me a lot of how Acts 2:42-47 describes how believers are to live life together. Though I am miles away I feel as though a large part of my family and my heart is in Denver. So what does the Summit mean to me? It means a Family living together, on mission, to fulfill the Great Commission.