Loving Our City: A Reflection on Serve Week

by Jill Ferguson

This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16

My husband and I have called Charlotte home for almost 30 years. One of the reasons we joined Mercy Church 3 years ago was because of the church’s vision and passion to proclaim and demonstrate the Gospel to our city. Mercy’s very first “Serve Week” was on a Sunday morning and we served 6 organizations. I watched in amazement this past week as 320 people served 20 organizations around the Charlotte area! As temperatures soared over the weekend, we served 1,120 hours developing relationships with the hurting and lost in our city, landscaping, cutting down trees, pulling up poison ivy, painting, moving furniture, serving meals to single moms, and even bowling.

Friday night, I had the honor of watching a single mom graduate from a two year journey with New Strength Homes. They provide a transitional housing program focused on helping single mothers with young children. She has faced untold obstacles and one of our members, Kim Leazer, has been her mentor. For 2 years, Kim has met with her each week to listen, love, and care for her physical and spiritual needs. As part of Serve Week, two community groups from Mercy planned a dinner celebration and helped this young lady move from transitional housing to her very own apartment. What a joy to know we played a part in her eternal story! This happens when we lay down our lives as in 1 John 3:16.

While we celebrate what the Lord has done during our Serve Weeks, our goal is that this wouldn’t be a once or twice a year event but a catalyst for our church to serve 365 days a year. I have been so encouraged to see the way this is already happening through Mercy community groups and individuals who are pouring their lives into the hurting and lost in our city! This isn’t easy or convenient. To see life change, we must make serving a part of our everyday schedules. And, like most things, the hardest part is often “getting off the bench”.

Recently a group of ladies at Hope Haven, a residential environment that provides life skills for chemically dependent adults, inquired about Mercy starting a Bible study with them. One of our members, Kirsten Quick, rallied a group of ladies to start a Bible study and they began meeting every Saturday morning. The Hope Haven ladies are loving it, but the Mercy ladies are getting more joy than they would have ever dreamed!

I would love to see all of Mercy Church serving our city and experiencing this same joy this year! If you are in a community group, jump in where they are serving. If not, consider joining a community group or check out our Local Outreach website to learn more about the communities we serve. As Local Outreach Coordinator, I have the privilege of hearing from ministries in Charlotte that need more people to serve each week. We cannot see a gospel awakening in our city that is carried to the ends of the earth without you! Would you join us as we seek to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel to the hurting and lost in our city?

You are a blessing to me and many, many others! Thank you for serving Charlotte, Mercy Church!