Going on down the line, with about 3 years in between Anastasia and Summit (link on the right, in Durham NC)...
These pastors (not all of them by any means, just a select few)...have such a rare gift of humor, theology, love for others, brilliance in their subject - and almost any other subject. I've enjoyed my friendship with all of them. I have learned so much from being a part of the Summit - and I continue to learn much even though I've moved on from the church. All of these men love Jesus with everything they are - that is a given (just so I don't have to say it for every one).
JD Greear - lead pastor. He is brilliant. That is the first thing. He can preach a sermon that someone with a PhD will enjoy but also one that a person who has never heard the gospel will learn from and understand. What a rare gift! He has never changed in personality from when I first met him 7 years ago. He is still JD - nothing has gone to his head! He is real - he admits that he isn't perfect. I really enjoyed teaching a Bible study with his "smokin hot wife" (his words) for 3 years - living life with them. He is the same person in the house as he is on the stage with a mic on his lapel. He loves the world and wants them to come to know Jesus - he is not satisfied with status quo - he is such a visionary. All these things make a great LEAD Pastor. JD - thank you for having me at your church, for still answering my emails, and being a real pastor.
Chris Gaynor - Worship Pastor. I would have to say the thing I like most about Chris is his wife, Michelle. Seriously though...I do love her, she is a dear friend, but Chris has a lot of great qualities as well. I learned how to live out Ps 34 and Ps 27 from him. He loves music and making worship a real and integral part of each service - and each congregants life! He glories in Christ, he is a great preacher (JD, watch out), he adores his wife, he is a great cook. He has two fantastic parents. Chris - thank you for loving college students, passionate worship, and your wife.
Jason Douglas - Chris' right hand man. I remember when Jason came to the Summit - we got there about the same time, he was at UNC. He had an amazing charisma that people just flocked to him. But, he used that charisma not for himself, but for God's glory. He has not changed at all either. Some people let "fame and power" go to their head. No...Jason is still Jason - just in seminary, married, and on stage all the time. But, he loves Jesus and wants college students to know and experience authentic worship. Also, the thing I like most - he's from the good state and he likes my oatmeal raisin cookies! :)
Danny Franks - Connections Pastor. what a kidster! :) Danny - thank you for really being my pastor the last few years. Thank you for taking time out to pray with me and for me and about sin and situations, thank you for your guidance and laughter and wisdom. Thank you for your amazing organization skills and the obvious talent of remembering peoples' names. You are gifted beyond your years and more than anyone I know in that regards. Thank you - you mean a lot to me - and for loving your wife and kids!
Brad O'Brien - Community/Missions Pastor. Thank you for giving me opportunity to love on college girls for 3 years. Thank you for showing me a passion for the world - especially the PacRim. Thank you for allowing me to go over there with the first Institute. Two things I love about Brad - he passion for the world (NYC, PacRim, Durham, UNC/Duke) and his great humility. He, more than anyone I know, loves the grace of God and realizes where he would be without it. Brad - not many people are like that - thank you for modeling that. Thank you for your passion for reading and knowing more things. Thank you for stories about the thunder chicken and talking with me about football (even though we pull for different teams usually). Go Gators! And congrats on the upcoming marriage to Jena-Marie. Sorry I won't be there, but Louisville is a little far away.
Guys - thank you for living out the gospel and for loving those around you.