At this time last year, college seniors from the Triad, including myself, were preparing to make a big decision—what am I going to do after college? It is what every class, test, and job had been preparing us for our entire lives. For a handful of us, this question found an answer in Grace Alive—a multi-ethnic, gospel-centered church plant on the west side of Orlando, Florida. Making the decision to join this church plant was not easy. In fact, almost any other option would have been easier. Leaving family, friends, our church, our job opportunities, and our comfort to face challenges, making new community, joining a new church, learning a new city, taking on part-time jobs unrelated to our college majors—all these decisions were, in a nutshell, uncomfortable. So, why did we do it?
In John 10:10, Jesus promises us life: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” But not just a mundane, ordinary life. He promises us life to the fullest. Life with adventure. Life with a purpose. Church planting is all of that plus so much more.
Church Planting Isn’t Easy, but It’s Exciting!
Since moving to Orlando, those of us straight out of college have faced challenges of homesickness, financial struggles, unemployment (or working three jobs just to make ends meet), and many other things that would seem fruitless from the outside looking in. But the secret to being happy in the tough times is knowing that none of these things were ever meant to satisfy us in the first place. Only Jesus in his redemptive work on the cross, dying in our place for our sins, can ever truly satisfy our heart’s longing!
The only way that the world will ever know the truth of God’s love for us is if people share with them. In the midst our struggles, there are blessings abounding. Making new friends who turn into family, watching our church grow in numbers every week, finding new gifts to serve the community around us, investing in sowing the gospel in our city, experiencing a new culture, seeing baptisms (five!) in the first three months of services, getting to share the truth with our new co-workers, seeing both that the Holy Spirit is working and the Lord has called us to be exactly where we are—need I say more? It is our joy to take life by the horns, take leaps of faith, and live the wild and crazy adventure God has set before us in order that others might come to know and love him.
So, What Does This Mean for You, College Student?
Spring break is just a few months away, and you have been provided an opportunity to get a sneak peek into what church planting looks like and specifically how church planting looks in Orlando, Florida. For some background, Orlando is a strategic city. It is one of the most visited cities in America, having over twelve theme parks and over one hundred lakes. The city itself is a melting pot of cultures and is quickly becoming a minority majority city. The nations are coming to Orlando which gives us a strategic opportunity to reach the nations here in our own city.
Serve the City allows you to experience the excitement and joy of church planting by visiting a very young church that Mercy Hill supported and to see how God uses church planting to reach those he loves. Christian, you were saved because someone shared with you. You are a part of a church called Mercy Hill because it was planted strategically where you are. In March, we want you to be a part of that for someone in Orlando.
Plus, it’s Florida. Need I say more?
We can’t wait to see you here.
For more info and to register, click here.
-Morgan Long (HPU Graduate/Grace Alive Launch Team Member)