Jars of wonderful.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God & not to us.” {2 Corinthians 4:7}

Archive for the category “The Summit Church”

Gospel Summit

Last Thursday and Friday (yes, in the middle of final exams…our church is just way more fun than school), Bradley and I attended The Gospel Summit.

Our church put on a conference for church leaders about how to let the Gospel permeate every ministry, every heart, and the church as a whole.

It was warm outside.

PTL for AC.

I learned a lot about college ministry, being a wife, church planting, church organization, and the weighty role of a pastor.

I came away from the conference edified, blessed, and challenged–about my future and about my present.

Here are some of my notes from the talks I went to:

THURSDAY

Our pastor opened the conference:

“Marks of a Gospel-Centered Church”

  • The mission of the church–> (Acts 1:8) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
  • We are witnesses.
  • When people stand in awe of God’s grace to them, this is what happens:
    • Evangelistic Effectives AND Doctrinal Depth
    • The Presence of God
    • Fervent, Faith-filled [believing] Prayer
    • Empowered Members
    • Extravagant Generosity–“Generosity is the best apologetic for the veracity of the Gospel.”

First Breakout Session:

“College Ministry: Turning Atheists into Church Planters”

  •  Pursue them on their turf–then they see that Christianity is not something you turn on & turn off.
  • Community of believers is one of your most powerful evangelistic tools.
  • Once a Christian, bring them along in ministry immediately.
  • Disciple them.

Extremely convicting and motivating for me as a college student.  Am I seeking lost people?

Tony Merida, Pastor of Imago Dei Church

“Christ-Centered Preaching”


  • Make the hero of the Bible (Jesus) the hero of your message.
  • Satan is not concerned with moralism, he just doesn’t want us to preach Jesus.
  • [Your preaching must be] Wider; deeper; more responsible.
  • People may say that hearing about the Cross every week will get old–I say, does hearing your wife say she loves you ever get old?
  • Proclaim the facts: Jesus rose; He is alive; the tomb is empty; the throne is occupied.
  • Preach Christ until you die, and then worship Him forever.

FRIDAY

Second Breakout Session:

Veronica Greear & Jen Thompson

“For Pastor’s Wives: Balancing Family & Ministry”

These cute signs were one every table 🙂

  • When you say ‘yes’ to something, you are saying ‘no’ to something else.
  • There should be white space in your calendar–you need margin.
  • Have wise, godly council to talk about your marriage.
  • You will never regret honoring and choosing your husband.
  • Until your children are saved, you have pagans living in your home. Your primary ministry is in your home.
  • Figure out what your husband wants, and do it well.
  • Make ministry fun for your family.

Third Breakout Session:

Tony Merida & Nathan Akin

“The Nuts & Bolts of How to Plant a Gospel-Centered Church”

  • Plant with a team
  • Invest in the core team
  • Set clear expectations for potential members
  • Plant the church you’ve always wanted to go to
  • Don’t give leadership away too quickly
  • Start small groups soon and invest in small group leaders
  • Teach your people to be missionaries
  • Expect support from unlikely partners
  • Lead from the pulpit
  • Be sensitive to the unchurched
  • Don’t be surprised when people leave

JD Greear

“Creating a Sending Culture in Your Church”

  •  God builds the church.
  • The Great Commission is not a calling for some but a mandate for all.
  • The church is not an audience but an army.
  • The best pastors are those who build up other leaders.
  • Be courageous on God’s grace.
  • Once a Christian is soaked from the blood of Jesus & the stench of Hell is in his nostrils, you don’t need to preach evangelism.
  • Rest on God’s great compassion for His church. It is bigger than you, it didn’t start with you, and it will not end with you.
  • Focus more on what Jesus has done for you and less on what you are to do for Him.

Needless to say, I walked away more worshipful of Jesus and more charged to make Him known.

After the conclusion of the conference Bradley and I hung out with a couple we hope to emulate.  What a blessing to spend time with older, wiser council to help us see how we can see Jesus as bigger and thus surrender more and more of us for His mission.

I am anxious to see how God will love, challenge, test, and use us this summer, throughout the duration of our time as college students, and for the rest of our lives.

Jesus, You are on the throne.  All the universe pants for You.  You allow me to join in Your deserved praise.

You are worth it all.  You are better.

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Bradley/City Project

READ THIS.
This is my sweet boyfriend. He is indeed sweet, but he is also fervently passionate, wonderfully patient (especially with me), and absolutely sinful–but the best thing about him is that Jesus gave up His righteousness for Bradley.  All Brad did was become aware of it and desire it.
The Lord has, in the past 9 months, taken Brad’s life, plans, and mindset, and turned it on its head (and is doing the same thing in me currently).  Watching God move in him has been one of the most humbling things I’ve experienced, and has made me worship Jesus vastly more than I did before this happened.  How the Lord will use Brad’s career is unknown.  Thankfully, he is an example to me of how to relinquish control in this area of life–read: I love to control my life.  
Brad, while he has much to grow in and learn and refine, has been given passions and skills that align with pastoral ministry.  He is seeking counsel and discipleship from older and wiser pastors and laymen that speak truth and wisdom into his life.  He did not experience an epiphany-like “calling” from the Lord to enter ministry, but instead his heart has been, and is, rejoicing at his own salvation and breaking for those who do not know the One for whom they were created.  Jesus is constantly tearing at Brad’s and my notions of what ministry is and how that will play out in our lives.  Brad is zealous for the hearts and lives of college students and loves big cities–where a lot of young people congregate.  He is taking steps to prepare to be a part of a church plant/plant a church and be a college pastor/pastor.
I first ask that you be praying for him–that Jesus would continually become bigger to him so that his humility would increase and his sin would become more and more distasteful.  Pray that the extent of his trust in Jesus and his hatred of sin would increase in light of the grace lavished on him by the Gospel.
Secondly, he is going to be spending his summer participating in a discipleship program for college students, The City Project, through our church, The Summit. He will ministering to Muslims (mostly) in Queens, NY, living in downtown Durham, NC, being discipled by pastors, ministering to Durham locals, doing two internships (one in the church, one with a nonprofit organization–both currently unknown), taking a seminary class, and carrying the message and mission of Jesus to Taiwan.
Participating in any one of these opportunities would be wonderful, but to be able to get a taste of multiple types of ministry in one summer, especially for a man who is seeking full-time ministry, is a phenomenal blessing.
In order to participate in The City Project, Brad needs to raise $4,500 by the end of May.  That is a lot of money.  But 5 dollars, 25 dollars, 100 dollars goes a long way, even just emotionally.  If you would like to financially support him, simply write a check, addressed to The Summit Church, and send it to the church office:
The Summit Church
2335-114 Presidential Dr.
Durham, NC 27703
Also make sure you write in the subject line:  City Project: Brad Johnson
He would also love to talk to you more about it.  If you’re interested, you can email him at: bdjohns6@ncsu.edu
Or you and I can chat! Email me at: kjwilliford@gmail.com
Prayer is most powerful tool we possess.  I am believing God on behalf of Brad’s support-raising process.

Something to Chew On: Lint Rollers

It is easy to just let people vacuum over my life.  Yes I am involved in my local church, yes I am making good grades, yes I have awesome friends and a wonderful godly man in my life…blah blah blah.

But in reality, I fail constantly at being an effective and equipping small group leader; I am not making straight A’s this semester; my friendships are encouraging and edifying, but we often do a terrible job at loving each other; my relationship with Bradley is certainly blissful and sanctifying, but it is also a cycle of loving, failing to love, repenting, apologizing, and looking to Jesus for complete satisfaction.

In reality, I am chock-full of shortcomings and sin.  I can be “sweet” or even sacrificial, but in the depths of my sinful heart, I am prideful, self-centered, and controlling of myself and other people.

There is always something to be redeemed. 

I’m doing “well” because the grace of Jesus covers all my crap—anything I do that’s “good” is because He who is good lives in me, not because I have conjured up goodness by myself.

All this was collected AFTER I vacuumed my floor...

Lint rollers are great inventions.  Not only do they get nearly every grimy, nasty hair and piece of whatevers off my dorm room floor, they also show me exactly what has been hiding—as it is contrasted to the white sticky substance.

Discipleship, accountability, coffee—call it what you like.  We, as followers of Jesus, need to be sharing our lives and hearts—our WHOLE lives and hearts—with older, godlier people (of the same gender) and believing peers.  We are weak and need other people to speak truth into our lives.

I am incredibly grateful for God-fearing girlfriends…

sweet Bradley…

and a wise woman with whom I engage in these conversations.

And we MUST be completely honest.  Otherwise we’re just chatting and flaring our personalities.

Real brokenness, conviction, confession, repentance, and healing is FAR sweeter when it is shared and urged by people around me that love me.  I need people consistently in my life with whom to share my life—thoughts, actions, passions, and situations—openly and honestly.  Those people need to love me enough to not tell me what I want to hear.  They need to be obedient in their own walk with Christ, so that they can be honest, discerning, and wise in their assessment of me and my walk with the Lord.

That’s why accountability, or even just raw honesty, is so hard—not only do you realize there’s a lot more sin there than you previously thought, but you also realize your old method wasn’t working like you thought it was.  Or you’re already aware that your method isn’t working and you’re simply refusing to walk in complete repentance/struggling obedience—which is a much scarier place to be.

Vacuums are great for giving the illusion that my floor is clean; lint rollers are great for ensuring that my floor is not completely pure.

Bubbly conversations about surface-level struggles diminish the toxicity and presence of sin and suppress the Holy Spirit’s sanctification in my life and others’ lives.

Lint rolling over my life/my heart—raw openness, humility, and awareness of sin—leads me to a deeper love for and obedience to the God of the Gospel.  When my eyes are opened to my wickedness, which is always more depraved than I think it is, it is easier to see how insanely gracious Jesus was to come and die for my depravity.

And I remember His resurrection and victorious cry: “It is finished.”

I can share my sin and shortcomings because I know how much I am loved by the all-holy God—because He loves me despite my failure.  I want to share my sin because I love Him and want to reflect Him instead of myself.

Chip the vacuum. Bring on the lint roller.

Take Note: A. W. Tozer

This past Christmas break, Bradley and I drove up to RDU early on Sunday morning to go to our church.  That particular morning, Matt Papa, a worship leader at the Summit preached. He preached Jesus–and that is what I most recall.

In the conclusion of his sermon, he quoted A. W. Tozer when he said:

“I think it would be a wonderful thing if every preacher in America would begin to preach about God and nothing else for one solid year.  Just one solid year to preach about God.  Who He is, His attributes, His perfections, His being, the kind of God He is, why we dare to trust Him, why we can trust Him, why we should trust Him, why we can love Him, why we should love Him, why we dare not fall short.  And keep on preaching on God, the triune God, and keep on until God fills the whole horizon and the whole world.  Faith would spring up like grass by the watercourses.  Then let a man get up and preach a promise and the whole congregation would say, ‘I can trust that promise; look who made it.’”

I pray that all church leaders and believers would be filled with the Holy Spirit enough so that Jesus and our desperate need for Him would be proclaimed and received–over and over again.

May “faith spring up like grass by the watercourses”; may you use us, Lord.

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