Meet Mercy Hill’s New Campus Director, David McNees

Mercy Hill, 

If you haven’t heard, along with our launching of the campus at Edgefield, we have named a new campus director for that campus, David McNees. Below is a blog from him asking us to consider being a part of the Edgefield launch team. Check it out!


God has richly blessed us at Mercy Hill over the last five years. We’ve seen lives changed, marriages restored, and over 500 baptisms of people going from death to life. As we acknowledge that, we desire to see more. Our desire to see more is rooted in the desire to see God’s glory and fame spread throughout the Triad and the world. Part of our strategy in the Together Initiative’s For the Triad is to start campuses throughout the Triad so that people have easier access to the gospel. Our new Edgefield Campus will be part of that strategy as we seek to make disciples of Jesus throughout Northwest Guilford County and beyond. This campus will not just feel like our Regional or Clifton Rd. campuses, it will be the exact same as the other campuses. This will not be a church plant; it will be Mercy Hill Church.

Edgefield, Really? Really.

Some people may ask, “Why Northwest? Aren’t there already lots of churches in this area?” I think the better question is “Why not Northwest?” Let me give you three reasons for a Northwest Greensboro Campus:

  1. We have twenty Community Groups already meeting in Northwest Guilford County. We want to leverage those relationships in the area to make an impact for the gospel.
  2. We have an awesome facility in a fantastic location that was generously given by The Church at Edgefield when they became a part of Mercy Hill Church in 2014.
  3. There is need in Northwest Guilford County. The population is going to continue to grow and, based on surveys, the area has a high number of people who call themselves spiritual, but they would not call themselves disciples and followers of Jesus, and they are not involved in a church. With so many unchurched and de-churched people we need to provide opportunities so they can hear and understand the gospel, maybe for the first time.

How can you be a part of this venture? First, please pray. Pray that God would begin a movement of his Spirit in Northwest Guilford County. Pray for God to move in the heart of those who will come. Pray for those who are considering being a part of the launch team. Second, would you consider being a part of the launch team? At peak times, most of our services are at capacity. We need 400-500 people to come over to the Edgefield campus. Launching this campus will remove many of the barriers we are now experiencing, and it will help us continue to grow.

We will be having two more interest meetings in the near future. The next will be Sunday, October 29 at 6:30 pm at our Regional Campus. The last interest meeting will be Monday, November 20 at 7:00 pm at our Regional Campus. Come and see what all this is about; come and see how you can play a vital role in seeing the gospel advanced in Northwest Guilford County. 

-David McNees (Edgefield Campus Director/First Impressions Associate Director – Clifton)

What Hawaii Five-O Taught Me about Family

Many of you have heard our tagline for the Weekender, “moving from connected to the crowd to committed to the family.” So, what do we mean by family? It is easy to say we are family, but what gives that meaning? As my wife and I look and fight for time to spend together, we have landed on watching some television shows. One of those shows is Hawaii Five-O. There is an underlying theme talked about throughout the show that is ingrained in the Hawaiian culture. It is the idea of family or, as they say, ʻohana. A Hawaiian native Hino says,

Today, ʻohana includes all who are brought into the family group. Your ʻohana nourishes you. There are even hānai (adopt, nourish) relationships which feed a person both physically and spiritually. In turn, you share in the responsibilities of your ʻohana’s kuleana (work, responsibility, function). It’s a give and take. There’s a saying: “Prepare for the seven generations ahead.” That means do your work so that those seven generations from now can benefit. People in Hawai‘i, even non-Hawaiians, accept that.[1]

I love that the Hawaiian idea of family is so much deeper than surface-level relationships. These are relationships cultivated for growth with an eye toward the future. As great as the ‘ohana concept is, Christians who prepare for seven generations are thinking too small. As David Platt of the IMB said, “Live today for what is going to matter 10 billion years from today.”[2] At Mercy Hill we want to see relationships grow, sustained for the long haul of life on mission. For this reason, we are focused on community. Our idea of family gives us the freedom and right to walk in community in an authentic and deep way.

The Weekender Brings You in to the Family

The Weekender allows us a chance to bring people, who are new to Mercy Hill and to Christ, in to the family. They get to see that, ultimately, it is Christ’s shed blood that binds us together. But the Weekender gives us a chance to present to everyone their part in the family: whether it is understanding stewardship of our time, talents, and treasure or that serving is an essential part of pointing others to Christ or even that true family walks you through the ups and downs of life, making it essential to the Christian life. The Weekender is far more than a neat, little event to tell you about our church; it is the lifeline to every believer at Mercy Hill.

Have you been? If not, there are only two Weekenders left in 2017. Sign up today at mercyhillgso.com/weekender/.

– Paul Howington (Assimilation Associate Director)

[1] http://kahikoconnection.squarespace.com/ohana-a-cultural-root/

[2] Platt

When Me-Monsters Invade Disney World

A few weeks ago my family was able to spend a week at Disney World, which is coined “The Most Magical Place on Earth.” It definitely exceeded my expectations; however, during our time there, something became increasingly evident. During the middle of the week we encountered two boys around ten years of age that decided they should have an MMA fight at the Magic Kingdom because one of them didn’t get his way. What was interesting is that the dad was just standing there, watching his two boys duke it out. I thought he was going to pull out some popcorn, a coke, and a recliner and enjoy the show—until mom showed up. As if the boys weren’t bad enough with their haymakers, the parents began arguing with one another in front of everyone. The mom then said the dad shouldn’t make a scene (at this point it was way past a scene), so the dad barked back, “You want a scene! I’ll show you a scene!” and then began throwing his arms up in the air. At that point they walked off still yelling at one another. I am not sure who was worse, the kids or the parents, but it was very evident that even in “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” all of us are still selfish sinners.

We Are All Me-Monsters

Pastor Andrew uses the term well in calling kids, and all of us, “me-monsters.” Ever since Adam and Eve’s choice to prioritize themselves over God, we have all been working hard to make life all about ourselves. It is easy and natural for us to do this; so much so that even at Disney World kids and parents scream at one another.

As parents, we are the primary disciple-makers of our kids. We are called to point them to the gospel and show them how Jesus has been the “anti-me monster.” He poured himself out completely for us, and his generosity is what we should desire our kids to both receive and emulate. As we parent these me-monsters, we should realize that we are the same as they are with just as big of a need for Jesus. We can teach them that generosity is not natural for us either, but that Jesus has been generous to us, and because of that, we can now be generous.

Live Generously, Together

There is a great opportunity over the next few weeks to help your kids learn about generosity through our series on the Together Initiative. During these five weeks, the Kids Guide—which always goes along with the sermon—will help you dive into generosity with your kids and give you some easy action steps to take with them to help them live generously. We also encourage you to bring your kids into your family’s discussion about the Together Initiative. It gives you a great opportunity to talk with them about generosity and allows them to see it lived out in their parent’s lives. Encourage your kids to walk alongside of you as we all learn more about what it means to be generous.

As always, if you have any questions about Mercy Hill Kids or discipleship in your home, feel free to email me at bgordon@mercyhillgso.com.

-Brant Gordon (Kids Ministry Director)

Together Initiative Overview

Hey Mercy Hill,

There is a lot of excitement surrounding the Together Initiative. The possibilities of what God could do in the church, Triad, and world have started to stir hearts toward radical generosity, and we are praying for God to continue his grace among all of us at Mercy Hill so that there is 100% participation in the Together Initiative. Check out the video below for an overview of the Together Initiative, and start praying and thinking about how you will get involved!

Together Initiative Overview from Mercy Hill Church on Vimeo.


-Alex Nolette (Equip Coordinator/Community Groups)

MH Students’ First Annual Encounter Weekend

Our Vision for MH Students is to see students from 5th – 12th grade CONNECT, GROW, & GO: to CONNECT with other students and leaders, to GROW in their understanding of the gospel and the direct application to their lives, and then to GO back out to take the good news of Jesus to their neighborhoods, schools, and/or workplaces. Our Fall Retreat event Encounter is the place to do it!! Our goal for this event is to see students CONNECT together through community building and GROW together through the the Word, worship, and fun in a packed 24 hours. Then, they will be sent out to GO to their communities.

What is Encounter Weekend?

  • MH Students first annual fall retreat weekend.
  • The purpose is to spend an extended period of time together filled with community, hearing the word, worship, having fun, and learning.
  • This years theme is: Rooted.
    • We will be diving into the idea of what it means to be rooted in Christ and how that reality plays itself out in our lives.

What will we be doing?

  • Friday night consists of games, worship, hearing the word preached, small groups, a concert from our student ministry director: Ronald Redmond, snacks, and staying the night with your small group at the home of a host family.
  • Saturday consists of hearing talks, worship sets, breakout sessions, snacks, and a dance party.

Who is it for?

  • All MH Students grades 9-12.
  • This is a great opportunity to invite friends.

When is it?

  • Friday October 20th 5:45pm – Saturday October 21st 6:30pm

Where is it?

  • Clifton Road Campus

What will the breakout sessions be?

  • What is My Mission Field?
    • In this session students will hear how to leverage their current context for the glory of God. MH Students is filled with students in public schools, private schools, and homeschooled students. This talk will help students think through what being a missionary in each of those contexts looks like.
  • Sex and the Church
    • In this session students will be equipped with how they think through God’s design for humanity as it pertains to sexuality and gender. The culture is quick to provide its ideas on the topic while the bible is certainly not silent. This breakout session will provide a safe space for students to gain an understanding of God’s design and ask any lingering questions they had on the subject.
  • Tough Conversations
    • In this session students will be equipped as apologists to their faith. Many in our culture have legitimate questions about God and the Christian faith. This breakout session will provide a safe space for students to have some of their own personal tough questions answered as well as to ask questions they hear their friends asking them about their faith.

How much does it cost?

  • $25

How do I sign up?

-Ronald Redmond (Student Ministry Director)

Announcing Our New Series: Together

Mercy Hill,

We are heading into a season for our church that has every reason to be one of those times on which we look back and see that God used this particular moment as a catalyst to do tremendous things for his kingdom. To mark this period, we are beginning a new sermon series entitled Together. This series will be focused on how we should come together in generosity for the mission of God.

Here is the sermon schedule for those who want to read ahead or read along:

  • October 12th and 15th—Stewarding the Gifts of God Together (Psalm 24:1-2)
  • October 19th and 22nd—Sacrificing Together, Rejoicing Together (2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
  • October 26th and 29th—Fueling the Mission of God Together (Philippians 4:10-19)
  • November 2nd and 5th—Longing for the Glory of God Together (Habakkuk 2:14)
  • November 9th and 12th—Together We Give with a Whole Heart (1 Chronicles 29)

This month, we have three sermon resources:

  1. Gaining by Losing – J. D. Greear

This book will be a great resource for thinking through and learning how a church that is committed to the mission of God must sacrifice greatly.

  1. Let the Nations Be Glad – John Piper

This is the book that people recommend when someone is looking for the theology of mission. Not only will this book help you understand the depths of what we are doing with the Together series, but it is simply just a book that we wish everyone at Mercy Hill would have read at least once. It’s fantastic.

*Note: I have several copies of this that I will be selling for $11. Email me (Alex) at anolette@mercyhillgso.com and let me know that you want to purchase one, and we will get one to you!

  1. The Treasure Principle – Randy Alcorn

We give this book out to all our first-time givers. If you haven’t read it yet, this series is the time to start. This is a great biblical, practical, and tiny book on personal generosity.

-Alex Nolette (Equip Coordinator/Community Groups)

Kids Ask Questions About Jesus and Tigers: How Do You Answer Them?

A few days ago, my preschooler asked me what would happen if a tiger bit Jesus. He looked up at me with big, wide eyes and earnestly waited for my response. I could tell he was very concerned and he desperately needed to know the answer to this deep, theological question. A thousand questions popped up in my mind all at once. Should I say Jesus would bite it back? Is an animal capable of recognizing its Creator? Does crushing a snake’s head give evidence that Jesus would kill the tiger?

I was a little bit at a loss to answer this tantalizing hypothetical, until I pulled myself together and thought a little deeper.

My son has nightmares about tigers. He often wakes up crying in the middle of the night and tells me that tigers are going to get him. He also has a little brother who bites, and the most pain he has probably ever experienced in his life came at the hands (or rather, the teeth) of his brother. By knowing my son, I could translate his question to, “What if the scariest thing in the world that can cause the most pain, happened to Jesus?” My son had just asked me, in the way he knew how, if there was a God who was greater than his fears.

I was then able to say, “Jesus is not afraid of tigers. God is even bigger than tigers, and you do not need to be afraid.”

My son looked back at me and said, “No. Jesus would have an ‘owie.’ Bye Mom.” And he ran off to play. Insert face-palm here.

Make Room for Questions

This was the first time I can recall hearing my son ask a question about Jesus. Kids start by memorizing simple truths (ex. Jesus loves them, the Bible is God’s true words). The next step on their spiritual journey to Jesus involves asking questions. The “why” stage can be humbling for us as parents when we find it difficult to answer all the questions that come up. On the flip side, it can be even more discouraging if our kids are not asking questions at all and seem disinterested in spiritual truths all together.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)

Here are three things you can do today to create space in your home for the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of your kids.

1. Tell Your Kids Your Story

Tell your kids why you love Jesus in specific terms and stories. It may feel awkward to bring up—and we all have messy parts of our story that we may need to spare our kids the details—but the incredible story of your reconciliation with God is too great not to tell. The foundation of our faith is built on relationships and truth. When you tell your kids your faith story, you build trust and a firm foundation for them to begin their own faith journey.

2. Create an Environment Where It is Okay to Ask Questions

Questions are a good thing. The number one sign that a child of believing parents has established his own faith is their asking questions. A child who just spouts memorized material has not necessarily accepted it in his or her heart. Encourage kids by asking them what questions they have about God. Ask them what they do not understand. Do not be afraid of not knowing the right answer. You can say, “I’m not sure about that. Let’s open the Bible together and find out.” There are a ton of resources available at the Family Resource Center (http://mercyhillgso.com/familyresourcecenter/) and contact information for the Mercy Hill Kids staff. They would love to equip you with answers to the hard questions kids ask.

3. Grow Together

Once school starts, it can feel impossible to sit down with everyone in your family and do family Bible studies/devotions. Gospel-centered homes can grow together as families with things you are already doing. We have a kids guide at the Mercy Hill Family Resource Center each week that mirrors the community group study guide. When you are waiting in that school pickup line, sitting on the bathroom floor while your preschoolers take a bath, or in the car ride to soccer practice, you can pull up the guide right on your phone and go through a couple questions to create opportunities for gospel conversations. It is a great tool for your family that’s available every week. As you engage with the gospel and grow through community groups, you can transfer it right into your home.

Parenting is daunting, exhausting, and yet full of so much joy. It is such a privilege to get to tell your kids about the amazing Jesus you love.

Signs of the Kingdom: Where You Can Serve our Community

In his sermon this past weekend, Andrew challenged us all by asking, “What (in our community) is God burdening your heart for?” He then went on to encourage us to chase that burden and use it to bring signs of the kingdom to the community. We want to provide you with some easy steps to get involved with some of the needs that he quickly listed. In addition to these, there are many options at local schools, nursing homes, and non-profit organizations in the Triad for you to get involved.

Young Lives – Mentor a teen mom

Teenage moms are joining the Young Lives ministry at a growing rate. The need for volunteer mentors for these girls is great. For more information about the ministry of Young Lives, visit their website: https://greensboro.younglife.org/Pages/YoungLives.aspx. There is also an orientation for potential new mentors this coming Saturday at the Greensboro Young Life office.

To learn more about how you can get involved, please contact Ashley Kiser at kiserash@gmail.com or contact their office at 336-834-0381.

Guilford County Jail Ministry – Lead a bible study for inmates

The GCJM is in need of men and women that will lead Bible studies for small groups of inmates. Mercy Hill can provide the teaching material, GCJM will provide the training, and you have the opportunity to share the gospel every time you volunteer.

For information on how you can begin the process of volunteering at http://gcjm.org/support/volunteers/.

Greensboro and High Point Pregnancy Care Centers – Mentor men and women who are facing upcoming parenthood

The Pregnancy Care Centers in Greensboro and High Point both have opportunities for mentoring men and women who are walking through the pregnancy process. Please contact their offices to get more information about ministering in this way.

Backpack Beginnings and Out of the Garden – Transport food from their location to local schools which will be distributed by teachers/administration to the students

Weekly drivers are needed for specific schools across the Triad. Pick up and drop off times are flexible, and each ministry will help you find a fit for the day or days that you are available.

World Relief of High Point and Winston-Salem – Become a friend volunteer to a refugee or refugee family to help them get acclimated to their new life in the US

Intentionally build relationships with refugees and refugee families to help orient them to their new life in the US. This can include helping them learn basic English phrases that help with everyday life, learn where to go for groceries and other daily necessities, and provide community for them as this life change can be very isolating.

If you would like information on how to personally get involved with any of the other organizations that Mercy Hill partners with during our Serve Week events, please contact Jonathan Spangler at jspangler@mercyhillgso.com.

-Jonathan Spangler (Community Groups Coordinator – Community Ministry)

I Don’t Need Theology, I Just Need Jesus

We live in a time that has been about 400 years in the making. Soon after the Protestant Reformation, in the 1600’s, theology became very cold and intellectual. Debates became so heated and divisive that people were starving for that heartfelt religion of the past that would cause someone to write things from a heart like Paul’s and John’s—hearts that truly had experienced a relationship with Jesus. But theology and loving Jesus are not opposed to one another. Here are two reasons theology is essential to loving God.

1. Learning Theology Loves God with the Mind

The counter movement that developed in reaction to the cold, rational Christianity of the 1600’s was called Pietism, and it emphasized the personal relationship aspect of Christianity along with right feeling and right practice. Much of what it affirmed was right and helpful. The Pietism movement was not initially divorced from theology, but it soon became that way. We are now seeing the extreme effects of it as people think that theology isn’t for them, only for nerdy academic Christians. All that matters to them is a relationship with Jesus. And that’s right in some sense, but to believe that focusing on your relationship with Jesus excludes theology is a false dichotomy.

The word theology literally translates to “the account of God” or “the study of God,” which means “doing theology” is simply just learning about God. Sure, this can be done in a detached way like a budding psychologist studying the behavior patterns of all those who order pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks, but it can also be personal. It can be an act of love. Think about the romantic who has fallen for someone. He makes the study of the object of his love the task of his daily routine. He wants to know everything about her so that he can know her deeply and personally and do things that please her. Theology is a study of God with the goal of knowing about God; proper Christian theology is a study of God with the goal of knowing him deeply and personally. Jesus said the most important commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matt. 22:37-38). Theology done properly is obedience to loving the Lord your God with all your mind, but it shouldn’t and won’t stop in the mind, but it will also lead to a love in the heart.

2. Learning Theology Loves God by Acquiring Truth to Stand Firm Against False Teaching

Here is an interesting biblical passage to highlight this point. This is not a story that you hear very often from the book of Acts, but I find it intriguing:

Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, arguing and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became hardened and would not believe, slandering the Way in front of the crowd, he withdrew from them, taking the disciples, and conducted discussions every day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord. (Acts 19:8-10)

It was the habit of Paul and the other apostles to teach about Jesus in the local synagogues of the towns they visited. But here in Ephesus, he started to realize that many were becoming hardened to the gospel and slandering the gospel. What I imagine went through Paul’s mind was, “Here are a bunch of new believers, susceptible to deception. I need to get them away from these people who are seeking to lead them away from the truth.” So, he took the disciples (and, I imagine, anyone else who was interested) and invited them to a lecture hall and taught them about God for two years! Can you imagine if you had a two-year intensive theology class with Dr. Paul of Tarsus? Incredible.

But how that applies to us is that Paul was worried that these believers might be led astray, and so he took them away and strengthened them daily with teaching. Paul’s students loved God by devoting themselves to learn as much about God as they could, so that no one could lead them astray. And this is where Mercy Hill’s Equip seminars come in. In Ephesians 4:14, Paul says that the effect of the Church’s equipping of the believers is that they “will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.” The Equip Seminars seek to train people with proper theology that is rooted in the Scriptures for a daily life of loving Jesus fully and faithfully.

Here are some examples of how our classes will achieve that this Fall: Our Decision Making and the Will of God class explores the idea that the traditional notion of God’s will, and how to make decisions in light of it, may not be thoroughly biblical. It then seeks to explain what the Bible says on the issue. Marriage & Family teaches the biblical understanding of God’s design for marriage and what God wants a biblical marriage to look like. In Defending the Faith in College, you’ll find ways to find assurance in your faith even amid modern philosophical objections and see that the Christian faith is not just a religion of faith, but also rationality. A special class offering for this Fall is The 500th Birthday of the Reformation: Why Martin Luther Still Matters for You. This is a class discussing how theology affected Martin Luther’s life (and eventually the whole world), and why that’s still important for you today.

We think that training like this is essential for not only your witness in the world, but also your personal relationship with God. Sign up for an Equip Seminar today at www.mercyhillgso.com/equip to love God more with your mind in a way that impacts your life.

-Alex Nolette (Equip Coordinator/Community Groups)