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When God called me to be a pastor, he did so by first calling me to the mission field. I spent the first two years of my ministry as a church planter among Muslims overseas. God never relinquished that call to missions; he showed me that my role in it is to be a part of a church that sends and supplies the mission field in extravagant ways.

In light of that calling, the elders at the Summit have extended an opportunity for me to go with my family and live with some of our church planters—in South Africa, then in Central Asia—for a few weeks this summer. This is a special opportunity for us to spend some time on the “front lines,” allowing us not only to encourage our teams there, but to renew my own passion for missions, and to spend some focused time with my kids sharing this passion with them.

This past weekend, just as we often do at our weekend services, some of our leaders prayed for me and officially sent me out. Would you join with them and pray for me and my family as we prepare for this trip?

Pray that God would refresh and renew my passion for missions, that he would use us to lift up the arms of our missionaries, and that he would use this trip as a catalyst to reach our goal of planting 1,000 churches in our generation!

For those of you here at the Summit, this weekend I asked an important question: who among us is climbing the mountains of poverty, homelessness, and lostness to tell the good news? As the writer of “Go Tell It On The Mountain” knew, hearing the message of salvation should move us to tell the message of salvation.

Over Thanksgiving, my oldest two daughters and I took a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. (It’s a tradition we’ve established, to take each of my daughters on a mission trip when they turn 10.) We went to the DR because our family supports some children there through Compassion International, a group that works with churches to get children out of poverty. We have been sponsoring these kids for years, writing back and forth with them, and were finally going to meet them.

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We’ve had an extraordinary past few days, as just under 3,000 Summit volunteers served in 47 different projects around our 8 campuses in Raleigh-Durham.

We catered appreciation lunches for foster care workers, public school teachers, and police officers. We threw baby showers for single moms and up-fitted pregnancy resource centers. Small groups remodeled and landscaped schools and homeless shelters. Summit volunteers were out in the rain, were in our local schools, were visiting prisons. The women’s prison inmates actually gave our volunteer team a standing ovation. One of the prison workers commented, “In all my years of prison work, I have never seen that.”

Summit, thank you. You were all over the community this week! What an incredible sign to our city of God’s great grace to us!