The Summit Church
|The Summit Church|
|Location||Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina|
|Denomination||Southern Baptist Church|
The Summit Church is a Southern Baptist church that meets at seven locations throughout Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. Regular attendance averages 8,500 people weekly. Services are also available through the church website and by podcast.
The Summit Church, which originated as Homestead Heights Baptist Church, began in 1961 when Sam James preached the first service at what was then the Grace Baptist Mission in Durham. Within a year, the mission had grown into the new Homestead Heights Baptist Church. The Church grew to a membership of over 150 by 1965 and as it continued to grow, the congregation constructed a new church building in the 1980s to host close to 600 people. Although it briefly exceeded capacity, the 1990s saw little growth and eventually declined to a stable 400 members.
In 2002, Homestead Heights called its college pastor of a year and a half, J.D. Greear, to be pastor. Upon accepting the position, Greear called for the renaming and ultimately the re-launching of the church as The Summit Church. In the first three years, a great resurgence of members inevitably led to the sale of its property located on Holt School Road, and in April 2005 the church began holding services at Riverside High School. In the summer of 2005, the church launched its first week of ServeRDU which quickly turned into a movement. Since then, hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of service have been given, year round, to the schools, prisons, shelters and community ministries of the city. As the Summit grew, people came from all over the Triangle and the search for land became more focused on areas that would allow the church to continue to reach people from all over the Triangle area.
By 2007, the Summit had grown to 2000 people worshipping in 3 different services at Riverside and once again began thinking about ways to accommodate growth. The church began exploring how they could take advantage of the multi-site strategy and, soon after, began up-fitting a warehouse on the opposite side of town in the rapidly expanding Brier Creek area, situated right in the heart of the research triangle—a central location for the majority of the church’s attendees at the time. In addition, the Cole Mill campus was launched just a few miles from Riverside High to allow those who lived in the North Durham area to stay where they were and serve where they lived in order to be the church in their community. The Summit Church was now a multi-site church.
At the same time, many individuals in the church began putting their “yes” on the table in a different way—in their obedience to the Great Commission. Their extravagant giving to missions and extensive involvement in short-term trips were no longer enough. The opportunity to be a part of God’s promise to bring salvation to the nations was no longer a burden, but a blessing they couldn’t miss out on. The church began to see people give up high paying corporate jobs, sell their homes and vehicles and commit their lives to go and share the good news of Jesus among unreached people groups. A new theme of being “sent” began to pervade among the people of the Summit Church—sent to your neighbors, sent to your co-workers, sent to your kids, and sent to the nations. By God’s grace, the Summit currently has over 170 people living and working to plant churches overseas with nearly 500 people going on a short-term trip in 2013.
In the fall of 2008, the Summit launched its next campus, the West Club Campus, situated in an historic Durham neighborhood within walking distance of Duke University. In the fall of 2009, the Summit felt led to find a way to minister to the growing Spanish-speaking population in RDU—a part of the community unreached by the evangelical church and hungry for the good news of Jesus. Under Pastor Raudel Hernandez’s leadership, the Summit en Espanol campus launched shortly thereafter with worship, teaching, ministries and programs geared toward Spanish speakers. This campus is passionate about reaching the growing Latino community in RDU with good news of Jesus.
In 2010 and 2011, the North Raleigh and Cary Campus launches and the North Durham campus relaunch have all been tremendous successes, providing the church with new opportunities to reach people in new parts of the city. 2013 and 2014 brought the launch of the Chapel Hill and Blue Ridge (Raleigh) campuses, respectively. There is much excitement to reach families and college students alike.
As of July 2014, The Summit Church has 8 campuses.
The vision of the Summit Church is summarized in Jesus’ Great Commandment to "Love God, Love Each Other, and Love Our World."
- Flo Johnston. "Church sets sites anew as it grows." newsobserver.com. Published 2007-09-15. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
- Flo Johnston. "Church to sell its site." newsobserver.com Published 2005-03-04. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
- Yonat Shimron. "Durham church spreads Gospel with DVDs." newsobserver.com. Published 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
- "The Summit Church".