Elders

What is an Elder?

An elder is a leader, a teacher, and a man of high character. We believe that the “call” to Eldership in the present church age comes from the work of the Holy Spirit, who impels a man’s heart to serve as a leader. As an Elder of Mercy Church, it is expected that all candidates meet the scriptural qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, 1 Peter 5:1-3, and Acts 20:17-37.

Read more below for more information on the elder selection process, and check out Pastor Spence’s sermon from June of 2022 on The Call to Eldership.

QUESTIONS?

Mercy Members, if you’d like to contact the current elders with any comments, feedback, or questions please email using this link.

Elder Team

Staff Headshots November 23 Spence Shelton - Elders

Lead Pastor

Spence Shelton

Spence is a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and earned his Masters in Divinity in Biblical Languages and Christian Ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He planted Mercy Church in 2015, where he currently serves as Lead Pastor. Spence loves being in the mountains and traveling with his wife Courtney and their four children.

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Executive Pastor

Jake Greer

Jake oversees the executive staff who lead the operations and ministries at Mercy Church. He has a degree in Bible, Theology, and Pastoral Leadership from Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Oregon. He enjoys woodworking, anything by Eugene Peterson, and spending time with his wife Meredith. He loves his 4 kids and going on popup camper adventures with the family.

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Pastor of Campuses

Rashard Barnes

Rashard graduated from Texas Tech University, has a Master of Theology from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Educational Ministry in Executive Leadership from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has a passion for helping churches develop cross-cultural unity. He and his wife Meghan have three kids, and he loves to cook.

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Pastor of Discipleship

Josh Jones

Josh oversees our Groups and Equip ministries. He is passionate about helping people take their next step in following Jesus. Originally from North Dallas, he graduated from both Texas A&M and Dallas Theological Seminary. Josh and his wife Ashley have three children. He loves to spend time outdoors hiking in the mountains or with his family on the beach.

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Pastor of Sending

Scott Urbanek

Scott is passionate about impacting the darkness in our world. He graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University, has his Masters of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has a Doctorate of Ministry in Executive Leadership from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to Jessica, and they have five kids. Originally from Florida, he loves all things Miami Hurricanes and hanging out with friends.

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Campus Pastor

Mike Herman

Mike Herman is originally from Monroe, NC. He is married to Whitney, and they have two beautiful girls. In his spare time, he enjoys golf, spending time with his family, and going to the beach.

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Students Pastor

Brett Bouldin

Brett oversees our middle and high school ministry. With a passion for people, he loves helping them understand how the Gospel of Jesus Christ intersects with their story. He is a Charlotte native. He and his wife Marlee have a daughter named Lila. If he could have one superpower it would be that he knew every world language.

Staff Headshots November 23 Darrick Smith - Elders

Campus Pastor

Darrick Smith

Darrick graduated from North Carolina Central University and earned his Master of Arts in Christian Ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is passionate about evangelism, mobilization, and leadership development. He loves to bake and is a big foodie. He and his wife LaShonna have three boys.

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Church Planting Resident

Joseph Anderson

Before taking his next step in following Jesus of planting Kingdom City Church in 2024, Joseph led our Mercy Northeast campus, and was a core member in its launch. He has a Masters in Church Planting from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing further education. Joseph is married to Kaylon and has two children.

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Lay Elder

Josh Spence

Josh has served as a lay elder at our Providence Road campus since 2019 but started attending Mercy a year after its launch in 2015. He is a Senior Leader at Vanguard, loves spending time in the mountains, and he and his wife Mary have four kids, a dog, three cats, and twenty-something chickens.

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Lay Elder

Spero Katsanos

Spero serves as a lay elder at our Providence Road campus. He was born and raised in Charlotte, loves our city and its people deeply, and wants to see everyone come to know and live through the saving love of Jesus. Spero loves spending time with his family, friends and people he’s just met, especially over good food! Ask him about anything Charlotte!

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Lay Elder

Taylor Knock

Taylor serves as a lay elder at our Northeast campus. He is a writer and supervisor at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He holds English and History degrees from Lander University as well as a Masters of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Ashley have three kids, and he loves hiking.

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Lay Elder

Alex Scott

Alex serves as a lay elder and Community Group Shepherd at our Providence Road campus. He is originally from Columbus, OH, and currently works as a Cloud Engineer at Ally Bank. Alex and his wife Lindsey have two children. In his spare time, he enjoys exercising, reading, and hanging out with friends.

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Lay Elder

Jake Stevenson

Jake serves as a lay elder and a member of the A/V team at our Northeast campus. He is a Financial Advisor and Partner at Mint Hill Wealth Management. Jake enjoys anything outdoors, especially camping and hiking with his wife Lena and their two boys.

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Lay Elder

Josh Taylor

Josh serves as a lay elder and a member of the Parking Team at our Providence Road campus. He currently works as a mental health counselor at Carolinas Counseling Group in Charlotte, NC. He is originally from Charlotte and has been married to his wife, Kelly, for over ten years. In his spare time, he enjoys playing board games, reading, and woodworking.

Zach Taylor Circle - Elders

Lay Elder

Zach Taylor

Zach serves as a lay elder at our Providence Road campus. He is a member of the Worship Team and was a Community Group leader for three years. Born and raised in Charlotte, he currently works as a Technology Product Owner at Vanguard. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his growing family, losing golf balls, and sitting by a fire with friends.

Elder Selection Process

STEP 1

Identification and Recommendation

Prospective elders are identified by current elders and covenant members. If the elders affirm, the chairman of the elder board will invite the potential elder into the two-semester process.

STEP 2

Evaluation

APPLICATION
Prospective elders and their wives complete an application assessing theology, ministry philosophy, the embodiment of the church mission, and preparedness for the role of the elder. In addition, six references are contacted to assess the candidates further. The references will further assess the candidate’s character by surveying the candidate’s family, community group, and those he has served alongside in the Mercy family for confirmation of his calling to the role of elder.

INTERVIEWS
– Marriage Interview with an elder and female shepherd
– Theological Interview with a group of elders

STEP 3

Training

Prospective elders complete a two-semester weekly training program covering topics such as Gospel Eldership and Church Health.

STEP 4

Confirmation

If the board of elders unanimously affirms the candidate, the elders will present the candidate for consideration during a corporate worship service. Mercy members will then have one month to affirm or speak against the elders’ recommendation for the candidate.

If the elders unanimously agree to move forward, the elders will present the candidate for ordination by a vote of the congregation. The church votes individually for each candidate (2/3rd’s vote required) by online ballot.

STEP 5

Commissioning

If affirmed by the congregation, the elder candidate will be commissioned as an elder of Mercy Church during a corporate worship service.

Recommendation for Eldership

To recommend someone as an Elder candidate, please first have a conversation with him where you state your intentions. After he agrees to have his name submitted, please use this form to recommend him for the role of elder.