What a day for Mercy Church yesterday! One year in and what an incredible, incredible year it has been. You’ll see in the image a snapshot of our past year together. Where you see numbers, try to see faces & stories. 31 baptisms… 31 people who have surrendered their life to Jesus Christ. The gospel is alive and flourishing among us Mercy Church!
As I’ve been praying and dreaming about year 2, I’ve been confronted by one calling for Mercy. The same calling God gave Joshua when he called him to take the reigns of leadership after Moses died. Several times in Joshua 1 God says to him, “Be strong and courageous.” He gives Joshua an impossible task: to take the promised land filled with strong, fortified cities. But he also gives him a promise: that God will be with him wherever he goes. And because of that promise, Joshua can step into the impossible with courage and strength.
Mercy, as we look into year two I want us to take up the mantle of taking steps of courageous obedience. The same God that called Joshua called us in Matthew 28 to make disciples. The same God gave the same promise to us. That he will be with us as we go. In light of such hope, I’m praying with confidence we will be strong and courageous in these areas over the next year:
- To reach the lost in Charlotte with the gospel
Every major news outlet ranks Charlotte as one of the places to come and live. In 2015, Forbes again put Charlotte in its Top 10 Fastest Growing Cities. In fact, Charlotte is on so many Top 10 lists, The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce has a page devoted to these lists on its website! As people come from around the world to our city, we must be a church ready to engage people of all cultures with the gospel. We desire to be a church for the unchurched and dechurched in our midst. Which means we will preach the gospel deeply & boldly on the weekends, and it means every member of Mercy is a missionary to our city. What if each one of us saw one person come to faith in the next 12 months? It’d be the single greatest movement just about any of us have been a part of. That will take prayer & courageous steps of obedience to God’s call to make disciples. Why NOT!? Why not? Our skepticism is the biggest detriment. Let’s believe God for the lost this year in Charlotte. I’m praying we see double the baptisms we saw last year. And the 6 yesterday was a great start!!
- We must raise up the next generation in the gospel
This is very personal to me and to any other parent. I long to see my four young children commit their lives to Christ and I want to bring them up out of the water in celebration of their life in Christ. So we are going to pray, “God, give us our children.” And Mercy Kids is going to be the partner in that prayer. Which is why the best place for you to serve any weekend is in Mercy Kids. You should get in there! We also need to take big steps forward in reaching middle and high school students. Most statistics say it is during those years where one is most likely to give their life to Christ. I’m praying that by this time next year we will have a thriving, active body of students who are being discipled in the gospel. What if we began to see a gospel awakening among the 100k college students here in the Charlotte area?! I believe year 2 is going to blow us away in all three of these areas.
- We must grow deeper and wider as a church
I look at the people God is beginning to bring into the Mercy Family and I can’t help but believe a movement of God is underway. And we need to be good stewards of what God is doing which means we have to make room in a couple ways:
- In our relationships. We aren’t trying to grow an audience, we are trying to build a church. And because we are so committed to discipleship happening in relationships we must make “relational room” for those coming to Mercy. Right now we have 13 community groups and we need 30. We need them all over the city so I am asking you to pray about stepping out and leading one. We will train you, but you need to take a step of courage and join us in expanding our disciple making capacity.
- In our weekend services. Praise God our 11am service was at full capacity Sunday! That means we must make some room if we want to continue to connect and make disciples of the people God is bringing us. We need 75 people to move from the 11am service to the 9am service. 11am is when non-Christians are most likely to come and so we need to make room for them. It might seem like a small step to take, but giving up your seat at 11am and moving to 9am for worship is a way you can join in on God’s mission to reach people! This also frees you up to serve on one of our volunteer teams during the 11am service which will help us create a welcoming environment to reach people!
- To plant churches around the world
We want to be a church-planting church. When I talk about our church, some are so confused as to why we would be so focused on planting other churches during the first year of our own church plant. To which I remind them that culture gets established early. A church focused on itself early will be focused on itself later. A church with its eyes on the nations early will be a church with its eyes on the nations later. We are small, but if we set our eyes in the right direction maybe we will grow into our vision one day. What if we raised up and sent out college students around the world not just with a degree but with a life mission to go and make disciples?!
I genuinely believe the best is yet to come here in and through Mercy Church. I hope you will join me in praying for God to bless these efforts as we pour ourselves out for his glory this coming year.