At the heart of discipleship is Christ’s call to ‘Follow me’. Following requires movement. A willingness to leave what is familiar and go where He is going. Since discipleship is the mission of the church we believe that our discipleship pathway must look more like a map than a menu, designed to help move you towards maturity in Christ and equipped to carry out the mission of making disciples.
Believe (Big Church)
Big Church is what we do on Sunday morning. We gather together to worship Jesus through singing, hearing the word proclaimed, responding to the word through communion, confession and prayer, and celebrating the grace that He has shown us. During the Sunday morning gathering we also have a separate worship environment for our kids where they are taught about the greatness of God and His supremacy in all things.
Belong (Small Church)
Small Churches take place during the week at different homes throughout the area. The goal of having Small Churches is the same as the goal of the Big Church, which is simply to worship Jesus. Although the goal is the same the experience will be different. The Big Church environment is more structured simply because of the number of people and not everyone may get to talk. But the Small Church is less structured and provides opportunity for all parts of the body to share what God has laid on their heart. It is a time to ask questions and learn through challenging each other on a personal level. It is also a time to discuss how to obey and apply in our everyday lives the word that we hear proclaimed on Sunday mornings.
While we absolutely believe that both Big and Small Church are equally important in the life of any Christ follower, we acknowledge that the great need in our western Church culture is for people to be more intimately connected in the body of Christ. This is why we place a strong emphasis on getting involved in a Small Church. We acknowledge that it is easy to become a hearer of the word and not a doer of the word (James 1:22-23) if a person is only involved in a Big Church setting. Being committed to a Small Church may not prevent us from becoming "hearers only" but it is a safeguard and a means of grace that helps us grow as disciples.
Another reason we emphasize Small Church is that it affirms we were not meant to live the Christian life alone. Although it wasn't explicitly commanded the early church so loved one another that they gladly gave up their possessions and gave to each as they had need. They ate meals together and ministered to one another's needs. (Acts 2:44-47) Paul in writing to the Thessalonian church says that he didn't just share the word with them but he shared his very life with them and referred to them as his children. (1 Thessalonians 2:7-11) In 1 Corinthians 14:26-33 we see that there were several people who would speak and others would "weigh in" on what was said. This type of interaction is difficult to do in a typical Big Church setting where there are many people. The reason a human body functions properly is because each part is effectively connected to other parts. How ineffective would the hand be if not connected to the arm? And how ineffective would the arm be without an elbow and a shoulder? So to be effectively connected to each other we must be committed to being together more than just an hour and a half on Sunday morning.
Become (Equipped & Empowered Course)
It is the right and privilege of every believer to experience the joy of having God work through them to glorify His name. The Equipped and Empowered Course (E2) exists to help empower partners at Mercy Hill toward this end.
The E2 course is a year-long training process designed to help you discover, develop and deploy your God given calling and gifting for the growth of the body (the church) and the advancement of the gospel. It is our desire to have every member at Mercy Hill put their primary ministry energy into what they feel God calling them to do over the long run of our time together as a local church. The course is specifically designed to help each participant become more fluent in the gospel, mature in their gifting, and practically equipped for the mission of making disciples of all nations.
The year is divided into two parts. The first 6 months consist of training, learning and group discussion that that will help you understand how God has made you and to listen for what He has called you to do. Over this time we will help you gather a small team (2-4 people), with whom you will engage in some sort of intentional mission to grow the body and/or advance the gospel. The second 6 months will simply consist of you and your team engaging in this mission, while continuing to meet monthly for training, prayer, coaching and encouragement. At the end of the second 6 months you will be able to decide if you would like to continue with the mission or put your ministry energy into something else.
The E2 Class is currently a closed class. Registration for the 2020 class will open sometime in January of 2020.