Mercy Hill Church - Redemption Heights - Philadelphia - Church Planting

When “One of You” Becomes Me

In 2018, Kinci Smith will be sent from Mercy Hill Church and move her life to Philadelphia, PA to help plant Redemption Heights Church. Here is her story of why she is going.


Church planting was never something that had crossed my mind as a possibility for me. It seemed like a distant idea that was not for the average, normal person. That was until I was participating in City Project this past summer, and I witnessed one of our own, Morgan Long, sent off to Orlando, Florida to plant Grace Alive Church. I saw how hard it was for her brothers and sisters in the room and was thinking that that would never be me. This was when Jon Sheets said, “This could be one of you this time next year,” and this was the first time my stomach went into knots. I hadn’t even heard where the next plant was yet.

City Project, meanwhile, was setting us all up to take part in an opportunity like this. We had gotten experience with sharing the gospel domestically and seeing people put their faith in Jesus. I felt a kind of excitement that I had never felt before as I saw our team rejoice over a conversation with a man that resulted in him putting his trust in the Lord and becoming a Christian. It was in a big city that I had visited multiple times that it really hit me, this is what I was made for. I realized that sharing the gospel is the most fulfilling thing that I could ever do.

The Gospel Saves, Gathers, Grows, and Sends

The gospel has completely changed me, continues to transform me, and blows my mind. This is why I am compelled and pressed onward to sharing it. We are called to be on mission no matter where we are located. Philadelphia is a strategic location that has been chosen so we can do just that with our lives. We are going to Philly because people desperately need the gospel, and we are equipped to take that good news to them.

A passage of scripture that has been an encouragement to me while thinking about living life both here and in another place is the Great Commission found in Matthew:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

I am not someone who typically enjoys change, and I haven’t really had to experience much of that in terms of where I live in my life. I have lived in the same small town since I was born, never changed schools, and am in college half an hour away from home. All of my family lives relatively close, and I have developed a strong community here. The thing I’ve realized about this, though, is this is what makes me feel comfortable and comfort is something I like having control over. Moving to Philly removes all things inside of my comfort zone, all familiarity and is going to strip all of these things from me. Following Jesus means taking risks and going to Philly to plant a church means taking risks. This kind of risk, though, isn’t an uncalculated, half-witted risk to take. I take confidence in knowing what we are doing is laboring for the kingdom and taking part in the Great Commission with the Creator of this earth on our side. I don’t have all the answers about what life in Philly will look like, but I do know the one who does.

-Kinci Smith (MH College Student)