Over the past 13 years we’ve been blown away to see the Lord’s activity in bringing the right people at the right time to join his work at Summit Church. As he has done before, he is doing again, and we’re excited to let you know about it. Many of you will remember Dave and Kimm Harvey from the marriage conference we did at Summit last year. Over the past few years Dave has become a dear friend of mine and of our team, and in God’s grace and goodness to us, he has seen fit to open the door for Dave to join us at Summit. Dave is the Executive Director of the Sojourn Network (SojournNetwork.com) as well as the founder of Am I Called (AmICalled.com). He is the author of books such as When Sinners Say I Do, Rescuing Ambition, and Letting Go, and he has been in pastoral ministry for over 30 years.
Dave and his wife, Kimm, will be a huge addition to the work the Lord is doing in our midst, and we trust you will be blessed by their ministry. While Dave will continue his work with the Sojourn Network, he will be joining our teaching team and will be involved in a variety of other areas. You’ll be hearing more about this in the coming months, but until then we figured Dave would best be able to describe how they have come to this point. So take a few moments to read his words below, and then we encourage you to spend some time praying for the Harveys and thanking the Lord for his kindness to us.
- Jamin Stinziano
The Harveys are leaving Tallahassee. We’re saying goodbye to the incredible folks at Four Oaks Church and our dear friends there—including those on the pastoral team. We’re moving further south. I’ve accepted a part-time position as a teaching pastor at Summit Church in Naples. If you have a minute, I’d love to tell you about how all of this happened so you can share in our excitement and pray for our upcoming transition.
Why Leave Four Oaks?
In July of 2013, I was called by Four Oaks Church as the Pastor of Preaching. I was hired, because the church had recently been through a significant lead pastor transition and needed some pulpit help. The arrangement was that 75% of my time would be dedicated to Four Oaks with the remainder available for writing, travel, and work with other organizations I regularly serve. We agreed to a three-year commitment. So, from the first day, my role had an inevitable shelf-life.
One year later, a friend named Daniel Montgomery from Sojourn Network asked if I could lend a hand to that organization. As you may know, Sojourn Network aims to help pastors lead their churches by providing strategic counsel, training, and support. With the support of our local elders, I began to serve Sojourn Network as a member of the board and through leadership consulting. Many months later, the Network board asked me to serve as their Executive Director. This invitation came as Paul Gilbert was becoming more situated in his role as lead pastor at Four Oaks. The parallel developments made it possible for me to dial back my church work and split my time between Sojourn Network and Four Oaks. By the grace of God, both ministries seemed to prosper as we made these shifts.
I’ve been at Four Oaks for three and a half years now. Over that time, God has led us to spend more and more time serving Sojourn Network. As I’ve begun to travel more for Network responsibilities, I’ve made an unfortunate discovery. Travel from the Tallahassee airport is difficult and expensive. As the delays, canceled flights, and trip costs have multiplied, I’ve been forced to consider whether I should be in a location more conducive to travel. Last Spring, after seeking support from our local leaders and a multitude of counselors, we began a search for a new church home.
Summit Church, a Sojourn Network affiliate, was started in 2003 by a team of leaders that includes two dear friends: Jamin Stinziano and Orlando Cabrera. Summit is a multi-site church of two thousand folks spread over several campuses in southwest Florida. Summit is also a church that gets mission. They have raised up scores of leaders, planted many other churches, and, a few years back, were instrumental in starting a church planting network. Church planting and community outreach are embedded in their DNA.
I met Jamin two years ago when he happened to be in Tallahassee and invited me to coffee. That’s Jamin. He’s traveling to another city, so he takes the time to reach out to a local pastor and hear about what Jesus is doing in the city. That day, I made a new friend. We sat down and began to talk about family, friends, leadership and church planting. We synced—like that inexplicable connection that happens when my laptop finds Wi-Fi. We connected, swapped the essential information, and then our conversation just started to flow. It was the first of what would become many memorable conversations.
When it seemed like God was moving us from Tallahassee, Summit emerged as an exciting and suitable location. The only problem was that Summit is stacked with competent staff. God seemed to be telling us to wait. Then, one afternoon, I received an unexpected call from Jamin; the pastor of their Naples congregation was leaving to plant a church. A door flung wide to open a role on the Summit elder team. Soon they asked me to join their team and lead Sojourn Network with Summit Church as my new home base. I’ve found that the culture of Southwest Florida, with many transplants from the north, seems fitting for Kimm and I. And as for their airport, well, let’s just say it was love at first sight.
We are moving to Naples because…
- Our family and the Four Oaks elders share a conviction that this is from God.
- Our three-year term is complete. It has served both Four Oaks and our family.
- Four Oaks has grown in stability under my dear friend Paul Gilbert’s able leadership. My role now seems less necessary.
- Kimm and I have grown to love the leaders at Summit. We believe God is uniting us to this local church.
- The Fort Myers airport is more conducive to Network travel.
- The culture of Southwest Florida is quite suitable for a couple of ex-Philadelphians.
- As a thriving, missional, multi-site model, Summit will be a place I can learn, as well as an effective base to host and support my Sojourn Network role.
When I called a friend up north to tell him about our move, he asked me a funny question: “Why is a church situated below sea level (with the closest hill in the next state) called ‘Summit Church’?” I get it. We’re making our way south to a pancake-flat landscape, to join a church called Summit, that’s filled with folks from the north!
It is confusing, isn’t it. It sometimes feels like chaos, but the God who brings order out of chaos has always been a part of our story. We see His providence in this transition. We covet your prayers as we go.
- Dave and Kimm