Reflections from Easter Sunday

 In Easter

Easter Weekend 2017 was incredible for Mercy Church. I don’t think this is one I will soon forget. Courtney and I took just a moment Sunday night before complete exhaustion set in to talk debrief the weekend and quickly realized we had SO much to be thankful for. Easter is one of those high water moments where we all get a little glimpse into the future of what could be if we continue to lean in and trust God completely as a church family. So, I hope the thoughts below will leave you as encouraged as I am coming out of this weekend:

Relationships are everything – We rarely share stats about Mercy publicly. That’s just our posture for now to help all of us, especially me, to keep from focusing on “the numbers”. But there are occasions where I think a stat like weekend attendance represents something significant God is doing in the life of our church. So many of you took the leap and invited friends, co-workers, and family members to Good Friday and/or Easter Sunday. People who are “far from God but close to you.” Let me tell you what happened: There were 238 people at our Good Friday Service and 658 people at Mercy Church Easter Sunday!! For a frame of reference, last year on our first Easter, there were 339 people at Mercy on Easter Sunday. Now, let me tell you why I’m so excited about that: Every single first timer I met came with a Mercy regular/member. I met 3 Muslims who came at the invite of a friend and two of them remarked it was their first time in a Christian worship service. I met several co-workers, friends, and family members who are new to church. One left church saying, “I agree with 80%. I just can’t get my head around why Jesus had to die.” That’s the kind of question we want people asking! I want you to know the total because I know you were praying for a few people and I want you to see what happens when we all unite around the mission of God together.

The Mercy Family is “all-in!!” – I imagine throughout the years different Easters will highlight different things about our church and this year what stood out to me was the sacrifice of so many to make Mercy Church a welcoming home for all of our guests this weekend. Here are a few highlights:

  • The creative team put in untold hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday thinking through how every aspect of our gatherings would communicate the gospel. I’m humbled beyond words at this team of people who gave so much and then turned around and were right back in their usual Monday work grind today. From the A/V team, to the band, to the environments team – I’m praising God for your generous servant hearts!
  • The parking team was quick and gracious in chaos. We know parking is an issue at our current facility and Sunday we had negative 48 spots in the 2nd service. That’s right. But get this: When we ran out, the parking team turned themselves into the valet team and began shuttling people to & from our secondary lot down across the street at Old Navy. WAY TO GO TEAM!
  • The 8am service worked! Many of you sacrificed your seat at the 9:30 or 11:00 by coming to our inaugural 8am service. Thank you! There were 338 people in the 9:30 and without your sacrifice, we would have NEVER fit into that room. Most in the 8am were a part of the Mercy family and I want to thank you now for continuing to attend the 8 as we try out this 3 services experiment!
  • Also, we need to add about 50 people to our Ministry Teams. If you have already gone through Starting Point but missed getting plugged into a team, let us know here and we will help you find a good fit!

 

BAPTISMS!!! – I love baptisms. Who doesn’t!? Lili & Elena, both baptized Sunday, both came to Christ through gospel friendships here at Mercy Church.  We already have several who have indicated a need to be baptized at our next baptisms and maybe you need to join them. If so, let us know!

The best is yet to come – With so many non-Christians checking things out on Easter, I believe we are going to see God save more and more people in the coming months. I’m praying we baptize our 100th person before we close the books on 2017 and that will happen if we continue to press forward in God’s mission together like we did these last few weeks. Continue to pray God provides a facility to meet our needs as we grow!

 

 

Spence Shelton
Spence serves as the lead pastor of Mercy Church. Before leading a team to launch Mercy Church in the fall of 2015, Spence served for 10 years as a pastor at The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. He earned his BSBA from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Masters of Divinity in Ethics from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Spence and his wife, Courtney, have four young children.
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