Summit Community Church: Be Strong and Courageous!

Summit Community Church in Buckeye, AZ will always hold a special place in our hearts. Summit was the first church to trust us with Intentional Growth Planning, our process to develop a vision and plan for double impact. We started Intentional Churches in 2013 and a mutual friend recommended we work together.

Immediately, we realized Pastor Nate Schaus and his team were a courageous group of church planting pioneers. They had planted Summit in the new, but fast-growing, west valley of Phoenix as a portable church with seven acres of land for a future building. Nate called, we spoke, and in no time, we were working together. It was a true leap of faith.

Since our initial eighteen months of work together, we have remained connected with Nate and the Summit team. They have continued to use our Intentional Growth Planning (IGP) system for churches. At the heart of it is the Great Commission, and Summit is fully committed to doing whatever it takes to reach the lost and grow the found. 

We recently had the privilege of spending two days with the Summit team to kick off an Advanced Lap of IGP, and we were amazed at some of the courageous things this fearless team has accomplished over the past six years. Brace yourself and be inspired by their example:

  • Started a video cafe for the ONE and young families (more about the ONE here & here)
  • Changed a major Lutheran tradition to create more room for the ONE in their weekend worship experience – people leave, God moves, and Summit grows
  • Expanded their vision beyond a neighborhood to ALL of the west valley
  • Seven acres of land wouldn’t do – they needed a bigger home base – but how?
  • Staying portable was necessary but hard – not an easy thing to be portable for over a decade
  • Kept vision hot and the church growing while still portable
  • Prayed for God to lead to a home base – a big piece of land and central location to the west valley
  • Committed to buying a piece of land on Interstate 10 and expected God to orchestrate the purchase
  • God moved and through a miraculous three-way deal, provided property, sold seven acres and provided finances for new construction
  • Prayed for finances – and God moved to raise millions from the Summit body and connected them to a lender willing to partner to reach the west valley
  • Embarked on a 40,000sf building campaign – say what?  While still a portable church! 
  • Raised millions of dollars to support the vision of reaching the ONE
  • Kept a white-hot focus on the ONE the entire time
  • Envisioned and designed a facility that will be a landmark of spiritual impact for the west-valley in the name of Jesus
  • Chased down all the bureaucratic obstacles and solved them one by one
  • Sold a portion of the new property on I-10 in order to fund the vision – no small feat
  • Put themselves in a position where God must provide (miraculously)
  • Planning for the next 3-5 years of impact before relocating – this is just the beginning!

Wow!  What have we learned from this team?

  • Nothing is sacred except the Gospel – everything must be on the table when it comes to reaching and making disciples of the ONE.
  • God shows up when we take risks in his name – He can do immeasurably more.
  • When God does show up, we can’t settle for less or slow down.
  • There is no reason any church can’t continually expand its vision and make great plans to reach people for Christ.
  • Consistently repeating visionary and strategic conversations aligns your team.
  • Don’t settle, fight hard, and He will move in ways you can’t imagine.
  • Be patient – remember you are building up to a breakthrough.

Our faith in the power of God to move is strengthened with every church we work with. But we could’ve never imagined all that could be accomplished through this crazy, faith-leaping team at Summit!  Don’t let fear and discouragement win the day! God commanded Joseph to be “strong and courageous.” It wasn’t a recommendation. It was a command. 

What can you do today to follow his command?

Bart Rendel

About Bart Rendel

Bart was an executive leader at Crossroads Christian Church in Lexington, KY and Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV for over eighteen years. Bart’s passion for serving churches comes from his upbringing as a pastor’s kids where he learned about the intentionality of reaching and growing people in Christ from his mother and father. His conviction runs deep. Bart and his family remain connected to Central Christian. He is married to Catherine with two children and finds the occasional time to play a round of golf or take in a Kentucky Wildcats game. He has been helping churches and leaders around the country increase their Kingdom Impact since 2004.

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