On February 8th, the Naples Congregational Elders along with the Directional Elders met before the Board of County Commissioners in Collier County . The purpose of this meeting was to make the case that the land we own on Pine Ridge Road, just east of 1-75 met the criteria for a Conditional Use zoning. The approval for conditional use would mean that we would have the opportunity to build a permanent presence on this property for the Naples Campus. In order for this conditional use zoning to be passed we needed 4 out of 5 of the Commissioners to vote in favor of the project. The meeting resulted in only 3 out of 5 commissioners voting in favor of the project meaning we did not receive the decision we had hoped for.

So the three most obvious questions that we may ask when receiving this news are as follows:

Are we discouraged?

Were we disappointed with the decision from the Collier Commissioners? Yes.  Are we discouraged? Absolutely not!

Whenever we are faced with disappointment in our lives we have a choice on whether we will allow those situations to shape our view of God’s character or rest in who we know our God to be according to His Word.

So here is what we know - GOD DOES NOT LOSE! He ALWAYS has been and ALWAYS will be victorious. Which means that as children of the King we are “more than conquerors through Him who loves us!”(Romans 8:37) To believe anything less is to go against the essence and character of our mighty God.  His mission in Collier County is not thwarted by a lack of a building.  And we rejoice that He has given us this opportunity to share the gospel and glorify him in our community and before the commissioners in this specific way. 

Were some things twisted or misconstrued as to who we are as a church in this process through the media or other outlets? Yes. But nonetheless I think of Acts 5: 41when it says of the apostles standing before the Council - “…they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Christ.”

What will we do with the property?

Through this rezoning process it became very apparent to us that the restrictions we would have to adhere to on this property would be too constraining to the mission and ministries of Summit Church. While we have the ability to take this decision to litigation, the Directional Elders believe the Lord’s will for us is try to sell this property and use the monies for a future piece of property or place that He will lead us to.

Where does the Naples Campus go from here?

We believe with absolute assurance that God has a perfect plan for our Naples congregation moving forward. And we believe God desires a permanent presence for this congregation.

Think about the times in your life when you prayed to the Lord for something believing in your mind that this opportunity was perfect. And then think of the moment when you realized God had other plans. In the moment it was disappointing, but as you look back you can see that God had something so much better than what you could ever imagined. 

Ephesians 3:20-21 - “ Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

So we take heart and confidence that God has something so much better for the Naples Campus than even what this permanent presence would have been on this property. So our posture moving forward is to continue to be diligent in our search for places or property that may come available, allowing the Lord to lead the way and to continue to provide for His church. 

So do not allow this decision from the Collier Commissioners to discourage or dishearten you. But rather continue to pray for God’s wisdom, guidance, and provision for a permanent home for the Naples Campus and that his mission in Collier County would continue to grow stronger as we present the gospel by making disciples of every man, woman, and child.

We as the leadership of this church have never been more committed to what the Lord has called us to do in this community, state, nation, and world for His glory believing WE WILL NOT BE SHAKEN from the mission our Savior King has entrusted to this church. 

We love you all!

Johnny Pereira