Serve the City is an opportunity to see first-hand what it looks like to plant a church. It is a snapshot of the movement of God across the nation. People are the mission, and the Church is God’s plan A. He moves through people to save people and one of the strategic ways to do that is through church planting. Sending is at the heart of Mercy Hill, it is the heart beat of the Summit network, and it is also the mission of God.
A Grand Vision
In 2010, J.D Greear had an audacious dream to plant 1,000 churches in our generation. In the past seven years there have been over twenty-six churches sent out including our very own, Mercy Hill Church, and the ones we have helped send: Los Angeles, Baltimore, Orlando, and currently, Philadelphia. This coming spring, a team will be sent for Serve the City to Grace Alive Church in Orlando, Florida to become the hands and feet of Jesus. It is an opportunity to love our church partners well, understand the city in a new light, and support and pray with the launch team and congregation.
Over the past five years we have seen God do incredible things in and through Mercy Hill. Three campuses launched, over 500 baptisms, and countless testimonies of salvation. We want to care and serve our city well by reaching out to the homeless, orphans, prisoners, and pregnancy care center during serve week as God continues to redeem the broken parts of our city. But you know what’s even better than that? There are stories just like this happening in churches around the country.
Serve the City
Serve the City is an opportunity to see how vast the movement of God is and become a part of something that is bigger than Mercy Hill, the Triad, and ourselves. Last spring I got the opportunity to lead a trip to Baltimore, Maryland to work with Pastor Brad O’Brien who planted Jesus Our Redeemer (JOR) in 2014. One of the unique things about this church plant is that when Jesus Our Redeemer was launched, it merged with Lee Street Baptist Church which was founded over 200 years prior in 1855. God has been working in Baltimore to save and redeem before JOR was even conceived. For over 100 years in Federal Hill, Lee Street congregation has been loving the city of Baltimore and creating disciples and partnerships around the neighborhood.
One of the partnerships we had the privilege to work with was a woman who strategically placed herself in the inner-city to be a witness to the community. As we sat on the floor, listening to her testimony, she talked about getting robbed, letting strangers into her home, and being in the process of adopting a little boy from her neighborhood. We heard of God saving and redeeming her broken past to become the hands and feet of Jesus in Baltimore. Through her story, I was reminded that God is working far beyond anything I could even comprehend. I often get stuck in my bubble of what he is doing right here in the Triad, but her story was a sweet reminder of Psalm 67—that God’s way may be known on earth and salvation among all nations.
This is for you too, college student.
How are you, college student, a strategic part of this church planting plan? Because after college, you have obtained a degree and are most likely not tied down. You could go anywhere and leverage your first two years after college to see the gospel spread across the nation through the church planting movement. Whether church planting is something you’re passionate about or you are considering moving somewhere out of North Carolina upon graduation or you simply love to serve, this is for you. Come and be a part of Serve the City to see for yourself the way God is working to reach all peoples. Experience first-hand what it could be like to leverage your first two years out of college to join a church plant. Taste and see what God is doing in the cities throughout the United States.
–Kristen Schleich (College Team)