Our church began in the early 90’s as a group of people studying God’s Word. In 1993, we became Grace Church of West Ottawa. As we grew we met in a local elementary school, and then eventually moved to the location where we continue to meet today. Our foundation has never been the buildings we meet in, our pastors, or even our people. It’s always been the Word of God. Jesus.
In 2007, we joined the Harvest Bible Fellowship (HBF). We appreciated the doctrinal alignment we had with Harvest, and desired to continue growing in some of the areas in which Harvest was already leading, especially worship and church planting.
From 2007-2017 we experienced the amazing ups-and-downs that come with walking together in fellowship with other like-minded followers of Jesus. Admittedly, sometimes we struggled to see where we fit into Harvest culture. And yet it was pure joy to take part in the work of glorifying God by making disciples of Jesus, especially by planting churches. The work in which God allowed us to participate was—and continues to be—astounding. God is at work in Liberia, West Africa and the Caribbean, and all across the world. The relationships we formed across the HBF are of an eternal quality: kingdom-minded, sharpening, refreshing, and supportive.
In 2017, the Harvest Bible Fellowship was dissolved out of great scandal with its founding pastor and the elders of its flagship congregation. It’s one thing to struggle with sin; it’s another to persist in it.
We immediately recognized the need to disassociate with the Harvest name, and began planning a name change that would help us do so. We did not and do not want to be associated with an unhealthy culture driven by domineering leaders, focused on the wrong things, and enabled by unbiblical systems.
Of course, God had a different timeline than ours. As God humbled us through our own unique trials as a church, He was extending the timeline for our rename. What a great God who works all things together for good for His people—both joys and trials, excitement and disruptions, even rebirth and disagreements. Because the longer it went, the less it became about moving away from something…and the more it became about what God was moving us towards.
That’s who we are. And it means something.
We are Summit Church because it reminds us to LOOK UP. God is transcendent: “beyond or above the range of normal or merely physical human experience”. He is holy—entirely different than we are— and the result of His holiness is what we call GLORY. When we say our mission is to “Glorify God by making disciples who exalt Jesus Christ”, we know we are not adding something to God, but pointing the whole earth to His glory.
We are also Summit Church because looking up reminds us to LOOK AROUND. As Jesus commanded His disciples, “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” The work of making disciples is urgent! Time is short. But we will not fear—because we are not alone. As the prophet Elisha showed his servant, we are surrounded by ministering spirits of God in the unseen realm. And even more powerful than that is the special relationships we have with each other: the Spirit-filled, Spirit-fueled CHURCH, the household of God, the Bride of Christ, unfettered and unstoppable (Matthew 16:18).
And we are Summit Church because it reminds us to LOOK FORWARD. The bible tells us to continually look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Our name reminds us that looking upwards is not simply an action for the present, but the future. Our hope is not in a better world, but to be with Jesus.
All this meaning, and yet…it’s still just a name, right? Soon it will simply be what we say to indicate “we” and “us”. It’s like naming a child. Wrought in anticipation and thought and toil and then great joy. But soon the meaning grows into what the life behind that name has become. Given God’s sovereign choice and promise to conform us to the image of His son, it’s our hope that soon this name “Summit” will simply be one more thing about us that points to Jesus.
We hope this explanation helps you understand our name. But there’s even more to our story. Do you play a part in the next chapter? God knows. Ask Him. And wherever He may have you, and whatever He may have you do, know that… YOU ARE LOVED!
WATCH OUR JANUARY 12, 2020 ANNOUNCEMENT
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