Planting Mercy Church Week 2: Teamwork makes the Dream Work

Planting Mercy Church Week 2: Teamwork makes the Dream Work

by Spence Shelton

This is the second post in what I intend to be merely a series of reflections I learn as I serve as the planting pastor of Mercy Church, the greatest church on earth and you’ve never heard of it.


Part 2: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

So this reflection comes as I look ahead at the rest of my week. My lovely wife is leaving for 5 days on a business trip. She doesn’t do that. ever. She’s never left me with 4 kids for more than 48 hours. While I’m excited for her, it leaves a little problem. This is week 2 of church planting. Will Mercy Church survive without me spending 12 hours a day working on it!!??!!?? Ahhhh hello idols of self-importance & control. I knew you were lurking about.  Here we go. Lessons:

1. I’m not that important. The real work of mercy church, especially right now, isn’t me on my laptop. It’s the people of mercy church building relationships with other people in Charlotte. And that is yet another reason planting with a team is so crucial. I’ll likely say that several times over the course of this series.

2. The # 2 guy is important. Ok so #1 was true in one sense, but not in all senses. I mean, the lead pastor leads the church. So yes he is important to it’s overall health and well being. While I am just a member, I am also it’s shepherd. And at the moment, I’m the only elder (don’t worry, we are training up men). So, if I’m mostly out of pocket for a week…who picks up the slack? Enter #2. In Mercy’s case, the young & talented John T. Hellams. John is our Director of Operations. And without him I’m just not sure this whole thing would be working. He is building volunteer teams and handling all of the logistics that comes with being a new church. And he’s doing all of it, at the moment, on part-time pay. He is earning his ministry stripes doing thankless work on a ton of hours. Most importantly, John is a man of high integrity. He turned down multiple job offers to come slave away with Mercy Church. Why? because vision trumped paycheck for he and his wife Jessica. It’s easy to say that, its another thing to live it for 5 months and counting. He tells me weekly that he’s willing to do whatever because he believes in the mission & vision of Mercy Church. Sometimes I think he believes it more than I do. If you are going to plant, get a John T. Hellams.

3. I’m insanely important. To my family. This trip courtney is going on is a pseudo-bonus she earned from the company she started working for to help us make ends meet during this season (pseudo because she has to work while on the trip, but no kids for a few days & a nice hotel!). I’m proud of her and want her to be able enjoy it. I mean the girl is in the trenches 24/7 around here. She loves it here don’t get me wrong. But man what a cool ‘yes’ for her and a way to serve her by stepping up so she can go be refreshed. I don’t abdicate my husband and dad role just because I’m a church planter. And I told courtney the day we decided to do this: I will always try to choose family over Mercy when the two are on the line. So no, this is not an ideal week in the life of our church for Courtney to take a trip. but what week will be? Yes, I’m going to be exhausted Sunday afternoon. But the kids and I will have some fun and they will, hopefully, get good time with the only earthly father they will ever have. If you are going to plant a church, you will still be a husband & father.

So dear Spence: get over yourself. Thank God for your team. And go make some Dad memories.