It was dark in the theater except for one spotlight. It glowed like glory from above, gracing three people and a tub of water with its presence.
“Do you believe that Jesus has done everything necessary for your salvation?”
“Yes,” answered Crishawn Waden, an N.C. Central University sophomore.
“Then, Crishawn, I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Waden laid back as the water rushed over him, symbolizing the salvation that had rushed into him not long ago. When he came back up, the entire church erupted into applause.
That was the Sunday freshman Crishawn Waden got baptized. He was baptized at a church near campus called the Summit. The Summit is a multi-site church with congregations in Raleigh and a recent location in downtown Durham. The church has sent staff members as missionaries to NCCU for years. But since opening the new location, Eagles like Waden have helped form a school club connected to the Summit. Waden is now a devoted follower of Jesus and part of Summit College. Along with fellow Eagle, Trevor Inniss he helped start the campus club. Inniss is currently the student president of Summit College NCCU.
“We aren’t really about hierarchy,” said Innis, “but yes, I am technically the president.”
Inniss is new to the faith and was baptized the same Sunday Waden did. Both believe that the message of Christ can do amazing things to the souls of students.
“The message needs to be heard because there is healing power in Jesus name,” said Inniss. “And all who come to know him, will come to know a person who understands.”
“It’s a message of deliverance,” said Waden. “We want our women to know that they are wonderfully and fearfully made. And we want our men to know that they are men of God.”
Waden says that before he got connected to Summit, he was trying to start his own Bible study. He was invited to the Summit’s Bible study by a friend. This was before Summit Collage became an official school club.
“I was hesitant at first, but God had other plans,” said Waden.
The old saying that God works in mysterious ways also applies to Inniss. He reminisced about being at the gym with his friend and was invited to Bible study afterwords. He didn’t realize how much it would resonate with him, but he kept coming back.
“Look at me! I was just a student trying to work out,” Innis said. “I went to this Bible study, and it changed my life.”
Innis and Waden want to replicate the welcoming attitude that drew them in. They say the school club is open to everyone. They aim to avoid being judgmental and to just give hope.
“Our message for campus is to love and care as a family together through a relationship with Jesus.” said Inniss “And lead with him in discipleship. Our message is disciples making disciples.
“When you come into the building, we welcome you as if we already know who you are,” said Waden. “Because by the grace of God, that’s who we are as people, because of Jesus.”
The Summit Church itself was started by Pastor Sam James under the name Grace Baptist Mission. It had only 160 members in 1965. Growth was was minimal for Grace Baptist for the next 30 years. The church changed its name to Homestead Heights but remained relatively small until the late 90’s. In 1998 a leader from a local seminary challenged the church to revisit the ideas it was founded on. Prayer and fasting led to signs of revitalization and a focus on reaching the world with the love of Christ. It seemed the congregation was being positioned for something big.
In December 2001, Pastor J.D. Greear was voted in as the lead pastor of Homestead Heights and relaunched the church as The Summit. This shift in leadership prompted big dreams. On Easter 2002 about 1,100 attended services.
Today Summit continues its multi-site growth with campuses in Raleigh, Durham, Apex, Garner, Fuquay-Varina Chapel Hill and Alamance. Pastor Greear is vision casting a bold mission. He plans to start 1,000 more church sites by 2050. The Church aids the community with their ServeRDU movement. They have given thousands of dollars to local community ministries, schools, prisons and shelters in the area. The church also launched Summit en Español under pastor Raudel Hernandez.
Story by Spiro Trance
Campus Echo Staff