Let’s say you meet with some folks as a small group, what we call, “a church of the heart.” You wonder together about teaming up with other people who meet in a similar way — “free-range Christians.” How would you go about teaming up with the Summit Fellowships?
Let’s start with a question:
Why partner with other simple church congregations?
Simply put: Relationship. It isn’t for building an organization or creating an institution, it is for mutual support and encouragement. Here’s a list of reasons to network with other small-group churches.
- We will be accountable before the Lord some day so it is wise to answerable to one another. As we move forward together we can encourage one another to love and good deeds (1 Thes. 5) or call one another into question if the need arises.
- If a fellowship is small enough to “do the one-anothers” it is likely too small to have an adequate gift mix. When groups are familiar with one another and work together, they can practice what George Patterson, a house church pioneer, calls ROAM, “reciprocal one another ministry.”
- We can pool resources with one another for more effective service in our community.
- We are part of the church of the city. Sadly, house churches are often marginalized and suspected of being rebels in the larger church community. A community of simple churches has more credibility in the traditional church setting.
- Sometimes it’s fun to get together and make a joyful noise! Some Summits invite other groups over for a time of worship and fellowship. Sometimes we schedule an event we call The Vine so all the fellowships and curious friends and neighbors can join in.
- As a network of small churches we can sometimes accomplish more together than we could separately.
How do you become a Summit Fellowship?
A brother once asked, “So, how do we come under the Summit Fellowships?” The answer was short: you don’t. That’s not how we view the brotherhood that characterizes the network of small churches. You can’t “come under,” but you can “partner” as an equal. There aren’t any “rules” for membership. Becoming part of the community of fellowships is based on relationship. In other words, you need to “meet up,” “hang out,” spend time together. On that basis, we all determine whether we are of the same mind.
The Summit Fellowships is not an official organization where you and your fellowship remain anonymous. Relationship is assumed. Although the network can and does provide certain practical assistance (see “Resources”) if that’s the only reason you were a part of the Summit Fellowships you’d be missing the point. That would be treating the churches like an institution and not a community…and you wouldn’t want that!
Practically speaking, becoming a Summit Fellowship would start with a contact with someone in the network. Then, would come a coffee or meal time. Then you would visit one or more of the other fellowships and invite some folks from one of the Summits to meet with your group if you have one.
That’s not a very orderly way of doing things, but relationships rarely are.