Raleigh Boy Scout battling cancer receives high honor (via @WRAL) If you’re not a part of the Summit, you may not have had the opportunity to get to know the incredible Noah Spivey. Noah’s fierce faith in Jesus has been inspiring all of us from the early days of his cancer fight. Watch the video to see why.

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“I wouldn’t say I’m the best Scout, but I try to be,” Spivey said. “My journey’s been rough. I got a lot of crap on my plate, but that doesn’t stop me. The Lord is greater than all the crap on my plate,” he said.

32 photos that will make you fall in love with Durham (via @movoto) I do love my adopted hometown.

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(click for photo credit)

Netflix introduces new “Browse Endlessly” plan(HT @LaughingSquid) It’s funny ’cause it’s true.

Day one is done.

Last night we saw well over 4,000 people brave the December downpours and fight downtown traffic in order to experience the first two of five Christmas Eve services at the Durham Performing Arts Center.

Missed it? Live local? There are three more services today at 10, 1, and 4. Plenty of tickets remain for the 10 AM, and though the 1 & 4 are technically sold out, we did have tickets turned in last night. Show up at the box office an hour before your preferred time, and there’s a good chance you’ll get in (but don’t tell anyone I told you that).

Here’s a small peek at what went down last night. Wanna see more? Check out #christmasatdpac on your social media machines. All the cool kids are doing it.

(all photos courtesy of the very talented Brett Seay)

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DPAC is back.

Last year’s services at the Durham Performing Arts Center were a high-water mark for our church. We swung the doors wide open to our community, inviting them in for two days as we celebrated the sights, sounds, and story of the season. Jesus’ birth was celebrated through spoken word, video, drumlines, rap, solos, and the proclamation of the gospel. Thousands experienced the Christmas story all over again…for the very first time.

We’re just days away from Christmas at DPAC 2013, another opportunity to invite friends and family to a common venue as we observe the birth of the King of the ages.

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Like any Summit event, this one is going to take volunteers. Lots of volunteers. 1274 volunteers, to be exact. And we need them in Summit Kids, Guest Services, Prayer, Set Up, & Tear Down. We’re challenging everyone at the Summit to consider attending one service and serving one service. Or, if you want to make it on Santa’s Nice List, you can attend one and serve four. Ho ho ho.

But let’s be realistic: you don’t really have time to serve during the holliest, jolliest time of the year without a really good reason, do you? Here are three:

  1. This is our gift to our city. It would have been far more convenient to pay DPAC to provide their own staff to open doors, point out seating, and welcome people to the venue. And while they’ll have a few of their folks helping us with some of those tasks, this is an event that we own. And as owners of the event, we want to own the experience. We’ve made huge inroads to our community with events like ServeRDU and Church at the Ballpark. Let’s not stop now.
  2. Your personal gifting demands it. Many of you reading this have gifts for serving kids or being hospitable to guests. You need to exercise those gifts. Do we need you to serve? Yes we do. But more than that, you need to serve. It’s how you’ve been wired.
  3. The gospel still starts in the parking lot…even when it’s not our parking lot. Every weekend we challenge people to share the gospel in the way that they serve. Just because we’re offsite doesn’t mean that challenge stops. With hundreds (perhaps thousands!) of first time guests expected, we have the opportunity to introduce people to Jesus by the simple act of serving them well and loving their kids.

So here we go again, Summit. Step up. Serve with abandon. Sign up today. We’ll see you at theDPAC!

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We’ve been trying to meet as many neighbors as possible, a difficult feat when the average temperature this summer was Surface Of The Sun. But one neighbor I met fairly early on was a delightful lady in her 70′s whom I’ll call Louanne, because that is her name and I’m fairly certain that reading this blog is not on her list of 1,001 things to do before she dies.

In the first meeting with Louanne, I was out for a walk with Haven and she was walking her dog, whom I’ll call Toby even though that’s not his real name, but really: why should I remember a dog’s name? It’s a dog. We exchanged names and pleasantries and went on our way.

Meeting number two: I was working in the yard when Louanne stopped on the sidewalk while she was walking Toby. Picture it: I was standing about three feet away from her, and she said, “Welcome to the neighborhood!” and spread out her arms. My friends, she spread out her arms.

Read the entire original post.

In case you missed the service this weekend, here’s the 2:38 recap of one of the most fun weekends we’ve experienced in a while.

 

I recognized that moment immediately yesterday. It was the same moment I’d experienced two years prior. It was the experience of seeing hundreds of people leave their seats, walk the concourse, take the steps, head to a tent, and move from death to life in a relationship with Jesus.

It’s that moment where all the months of planning, praying, and strategizing comes to a screeching halt, and we tangibly saw God moving people into his plan, the plan he’s had since the beginning of time.

And it’s that moment where I was simply rendered incapacitated for a while, unable to do anything except stare, mouth agape, tears flowing, throat constricting, and heart overflowing with gratitude to the God who doesn’t need us, but allows us to participate in the joy of this journey.

When the dust settled, the final count was 11,500 in attendance, 530 baptized (79 of those were first time salvation decisions), somewhere around 1,300 volunteers, and $75,000 in cash and two truckloads of supplies given to Urban Ministries of Durham and Salvation Army Women’s and Children’s Shelter.

More Church at the Ballpark posts and stories will be coming later this week. But for now, enjoy some of the images captured this weekend, and thank God for his mercy and kindness in the tiniest of details.

(Big thanks to Brett Seay for providing most of these incredible shots!)

The excitement is at a fever pitch around the our office and throughout our church family. Church at the Ballpark ’13 is coming this Saturday. I thought it would be entirely appropriate to go back into the archives today and show you some pictures from the 2011 event. Enjoy.

And show up Sunday. You’ll be glad you did!

View the “Speechless” photos.

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Five days. FIVE DAYS, people. Five days is what’s on the old countdown clock as we prepare for Church at the Ballpark ’13, arguably the largest worship event in the Summit’s history.

And with large events usually comes large confusion. Unless you landed here. In that case, you’re going to be in the know, smarter than the average bear, and the coolest kid on the Durham Bulls’ block come Sunday. That’s because you’re getting the inside scoop on everything in 3…2…

When & where? CatB happens Sunday, September 15th, at 10:30 AM, but you should arrive earlier than that. Much earlier. We suggest getting downtown at 9:15. Gates will open at 9:30 AM, and we’ve got a full slate of goodies prior to the service’s start time that you won’t want to miss. We’ll be at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in downtown Durham, which is an easy drive from anywhere in the Triangle. Map it. And by the way, there are NO services at any Summit campus on September 14-15 (although we’ll have a few people armed with flip cams just to get your stunned reaction when you show up to an empty building because you haven’t been paying attention for the last week or seven).

Parking. We have access to all decks of the American Tobacco Campus. When you arrive downtown, you’ll see our parking army outfitted in neon vests and ego-boosting radios. They hold a lot of power, so you should follow their instructions. Trust them, and they will get you to the closest possible spot. Ignore them, and your car will be sold on eBay while you worship. All parking is free in the three ATC decks on Sunday.

Accessibility. Handicapped parking is available on Blackwell Street, adjacent to the stadium. Blackwell will be one-way this Sunday, so you must enter from Jackie Robinson Drive, and you must have an official handicapped placard. Those spaces are first-come, first-served, but there’s also handicapped spaces available in the ATC South Deck.

Fill the trucks. We’re partnering with two local organizations who serve the homeless population in Durham. We’re asking every CatB guest to bring one or more of their needed items. Those trucks will be located on Blackwell Street just to the left of the main gate…fill ’em up before you fill up the stadium.

First Time Guests. If this will be your first visit to a Summit service, we have a special experience just for you. Stop by one of our eight First Time Guest tents (they’re both outside and inside the gates) for a gift and a personal greeting. Summit regulars who try to pass themselves off as a FTG just to get free swag will be subject to fingerprinting and church discipline.

Childcare. We’re taking care of kids ages six weeks through 23 months old. The childcare area opens at 9:30 AM, and is located in the VIP suites overlooking the field. Families with strollers can access that area through the elevators inside the gates and to the left. Non-stroller families can access the suites from seating sections 207 & 208.

Bigger kids. We’ve set up a family-friendly section close to right field and just below Wool E. World. Watch for our Summit Kids team – they’ll be distributing white goodie bags with enough stuff to keep your kids happy and you sane. In addition, Wool E. World will be open before and after the service so that your home team can run off some energy.

Seating. We nearly filled the stadium in 2011, and this time around we’re expecting to overflow it. That’s why we’re bringing in thousands of extra chairs, and why we need you to follow the instructions of our 200+ person seating team. Please scoot to the front and center when you enter the stadium and fill in all empty chairs so that no one is left without a seat. If you’d like to meet up with your family, small group, biker gang, etc., we simply request that you gather in the concourse before entering the seating area.

Deaf / Hard of hearing interpretation. We’ll be providing assistance in section 114, just to the side of the right field dugout.

Baptisms. They’re back, and we’re excited. We’ll be offering the opportunity to celebrate baptisms in front of thousands of your closest friends. If you’re interested in being baptized, all you have to do is show up. We’re providing decision counselors, clothing, towels, photographers, hair gel, you name it. (Just don’t name arm floaties, because we’re not providing those.)

Concessions. We’ll open the concession stands at the end of the service. You can get several items for a buck (hot dogs, soft drinks, popcorn, etc.) as well as traditional $26 ballpark nachos (those had better be some awesome jalapeños). Bring some money and plan on hanging out with your Summit family for the afternoon.

Merchandise. The Summit’s resource table will be located at the top of the front entry steps, in front of the MVP suite. We’ll have the newest CDs from Matt Papa & Hank Murphy, as well as souvenir CatB t-shirts. Please note: we can only accept debit or credit cards at the merch table, no cash this weekend. (Our sincerest apologies to Dave Ramsey.)

Social media. Bring your Instagram, bring your Twitter, bring your Facebook, bring your MySpace if you’re still stuck in the 90’s. #ChurchAtTheBallpark is our official hashtag. Help us spread the excitement all over the interwebs.

Serve. If you still haven’t signed up to serve this weekend, we don’t want you to miss out. Visit the sign up form and let us know you’re coming. That form will officially close on Thursday at noon, so jump in.

Everything else. We’re blanketing the park with hundreds of people that can help you. If you have a question or need assistance, simply find one of our volunteers in the gray shirts. We’d be glad to serve you!

You read the book, now see the movie. Want to get all of this info in living color? Check out the helpful video below. No, we don’t know who that dashingly handsome man is, but look at how awesome he is at sucking in his stomach!

 

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As I type, we are eleven days, one hour, and twenty minutes from the moment where the gates swing open and Church at the Ballpark ’13 goes into full gear. So today’s question: Who are you bringing with you?

Events like Church at the Ballpark are custom-made for guests, especially guests who wouldn’t normally attend a traditional church service. We all have ’em: those friends who respond to an invitation with “Ah, you know, if I came to your church the roof would probably cave in.” (Great news: the ballpark has no roof. Problem solved!)

Or, “I just don’t have the right clothes for church.” Well, (a) the standard Summit weekend attire is always casual, and (b) on September 15th it’s going to be super-casual. (Think t-shirts, shorts, and possibly mustard stains from concession stand hot dogs.)

And perhaps my favorite: “I just don’t trust those organized religious types. I feel like they’re just a bunch of bull.” (Absolutely. A big one. He overlooks left field and smoke is gonna come out of his nose when Pastor J.D. makes a good point.)

So this is your opportunity: invite your friends. Invite your co-workers. Invite your neighbors and family members and classmates and roommates. This will be a service unlike anything they’re expecting, and most importantly, it will be an opportunity for them to take a clear step of faith. Think about it…your act of faith (inviting a friend) could lead to their act of faith (responding to the Gospel).

So how do you invite? So glad you asked. Here are some easy ways:

  • Go viral. On Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, you should use the #churchattheballpark hashtag and start promoting like crazy. You can grab a Twibbon for your profile picture (and just repeat that word: Twibbon. Twibbon. Twibbon. Because it’s fun.) Use the picture in this post or previous posts (linked below) for your blog, Evites, whatever.
  • Get personal. Don’t hide behind your social media profiles. Walk across the street. Pick up the phone. Knock on the cubicle next door. Make the ask, and get ready to be surprised at what God may do.
  • Grab some flyers. We’ve printed up thousands of handy-dandy inviter flyers for you to use. The good news? Many of you have already grabbed them, because we ran completely out at some campuses last weekend. The better news? We’re printing thousands more, and will have them ready for you this Saturday and Sunday. Keep a stack in your car, in your purse, in your Timbuk2 bag, and use them as a conversation piece. Give them to your barista, your grocery bagger, or your restaurant server (with a healthy 20% tip, of course). Ask to hang one up on the community bulletin board at your Starbucks, Panera, or other favorite hangout. Blanket the Triangle with these things: it’s litter with an evangelistic twist.

In 2011, we saw over 300 people take a step of faith and respond to the Gospel. Many of those were people who had not attended the Summit before, but were there because of the invitation of a friend. So think: who do you have in your life who needs the life-transforming power of the Gospel? Who has told you “no” to dozens of church invitations, but might just say “yes” to this one? Who has God put in your path today?

Who are you bringing with you?

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This thing is really happening.

After months of planning, weeks of fine-tuning details, and hours upon hours of thinking through every last contingency, we’re almost ready for Church at the Ballpark. It’ll be the biggest worship service the Summit has ever hosted, and an opportunity for the church to gather in one location.

As with any Summit event, this one is going to take an army of volunteers. We’ve identified spots for well over 1,000 people serving in various capacities. Here’s the skinny:

  • Set up. Help load in First Time Guest tents, Summit Kids’ supplies, and hundreds of towels for baptisms.
  • First Impressions. Slap on an orange vest. Greet people on the concourse. Work that seating team like you were born for it.
  • Summit Kids. Let’s face it: this might be your one shot to visit the VIP suites at the Bulls’ Park. Might as well take a couple dozen toddlers in there with you.
  • Baptism Logistics. Pass out clothes. Help with registration. Direct foot traffic for hundreds of people responding to the gospel.
  • Baptism Counseling. Help make sure those who respond understand the gospel and are ready to take the next step. (Limited to Summit covenant members who have completed training.)
  • Prayer. Church at the Ballpark will be lots of fun, but it’s not a game. We’re asking God to do what only he can do.
  • Tear Down. If it goes in the park, it’s gotta come out. Stick around for an after-party workout like you’ve never experienced.

Do we need volunteers? Sure we do. But more than that, you need to volunteer. Believers are hard-wired to serve out of their skill sets, and we want to give you an outlet to get involved.

Don’t currently serve at the Summit? Not a problem. Church at the Ballpark is a great way to jump on a “one-serve” opportunity. Kick the tires. Take us for a test drive. Don’t knock it ’till you love it. (Trust us…you’ll love it.)

Afraid of serving on your own? That’s understandable. But as our volunteers often discover, serving is a great way to make new friendships and discover shared interests. But hey – if you have a small group, bring ’em along.

Don’t overthink this. Don’t put off the decision. Let God use you to welcome thousands of people to Church at the Ballpark. Sign up today.

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