Mercy Hill, this story is a story of how City Project has affected the life and ministry of just one individual, but there are a lot of stories just like this that have come out of people’s time in City Project. Your generosity is a tool in the hands of God to transform lives and call on mission.
It was during my freshman year of college that I started to encounter the gospel. Up until that point, I had always thought Christianity was a religion of rules to be followed, rather than a relationship with the God that created me in his image. It was in the months leading up to, and during City Project, that it started to click in my head that my sin had been fully paid for by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. I had heard it many times growing up, but God finally opened my heart to it during that season.
City Project is an eight-week program where college students leverage their summer for the glory of God. The first week is spent evangelizing to people in different neighborhoods of New York City. After that, students return to Greensboro. They spend four weeks interning at Mercy Hill or in a community ministry, having theological training in the morning, and experiencing ministry behind the scenes. Lastly, the students go to an international location where they work with missionaries stationed at the locations. Students help serve the missionaries, as well as evangelize and work in the communities.
It was during City Project, the summer after my freshman year, that the implications of the Gospel for my life started to really be unpacked. I started to get a full grasp of who God was, what the mission was, and what my role in the mission of God looked like. The first week of City Project, in New York, was very hard and was the first experience I had encountering people who had never heard of Jesus. Being someone who had heard the gospel probably thousands of times growing up, it was hard to fathom that someone could go fifty years of their life without hearing it. This only multiplied during my time internationally. I went to London, which, even though it is a very developed country, has many people from different nations who have never heard the gospel. The experience of seeing the mission and its urgency had never been so clear. Alongside that, during the middle four weeks of City Project in Greensboro, I got to see what it looked like to be a part of a church plant (at the time, Mercy Hill was less than two years old) and do ministry here locally.
It was during those two months that God really started to orient my heart towards him, and I started to feel God calling me to go into full-time ministry. Coming into college I wanted to go into sports broadcasting, which is a great career and field. However, after that summer, something changed for me. While I could have continued into broadcasting and glorified God through that career, God changed my desire for a career to ministry. The first opportunity I had to be in a leadership position in ministry was being a City Project intern the following summer. I often tell students considering City Project, “It was so great that I did it twice.” During that time, I learned so much about what it means to lead (and what it’s not).
While being a City Project intern, I began thinking about becoming a College Resident. As I just started doing the Residency last month, I can’t imagine myself being where I am and doing what I am doing, if it were not for City Project. That first summer was not only eye opening in understanding more about God and his mission, but was also where I started the equipping process for doing something like the College Residency.
-Patrick A. (College Resident)