By the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, many of the crowds who had been so intrigued by him had turned away. Twelve men remained, and even one of those was a traitor. Yet from there, Jesus’ influence has spread across the globe impacting lives and culture for thousands of years. How did it happen? One thing we could point to is Jesus’ resurrection. The other is Jesus’ plan for multiplication: disciples making disciples who make disciples.
At Mercy Hill we are committed to multiplication. We multiply individual disciples, multiply groups, multiply campuses, and multiply churches. And last weekend, Mercy Hill commissioned the launch team of Redemption Heights to go and plant a gospel-centered church in Philadelphia, PA. This type of multiplication is exciting but not without cost. Those who have committed to moving their lives to Philadelphia for the sake of the gospel have had to say goodbye to friends, family, neighbors, jobs and more.
In this blog we have a guest post from Janet Smith telling her perspective as a mother whose daughter, Kinci, joined the Redemption Heights launch team after seeing the importance of leveraging one’s life for the gospel while attending Mercy Hill during college. You can read an earlier post from Kinci’s perspective here.
Wow. You’re going where??
These thoughts weren’t spoken aloud, but they sure were running through my head when my daughter told me the location for the 2018 Mercy Hill church plant. I knew she had been praying and considering joining the team, but I sure didn’t think it would be this far away and in such a big city—Philadelphia. Being only 30 minutes apart during college had definitely spoiled me!
Reflecting on what led to this pivotal moment in Kinci’s life clearly showed God at work. From infancy, Kinci was involved in all kinds of opportunities for children at church that taught her to love God and love her neighbor. Her years at High Point University and participating at Mercy Hill have given Kinci a fresh perspective on ways to grow in faith and share her faith. Imagine my delight when I found Bible verses on her dorm door (“they are there for a reason, Mom”), to discover she was sharing her faith with friends on campus (she led a roommate to Christ and helped baptize her), and to learn of her commitment to give God her summers during college.
A 2016 internship at Advancing Native Missions in Virginia gave Kinci a new perspective on reaching the nations. City Project with Mercy Hill in the summer of 2017 brought all these life experiences together in a powerful way. With evangelism training, door to door evangelism in NYC, theology classes, and serving in a Christian camp in Spain, Kinci thrived as all of these experiences built on her faith and missions foundation. When she gave her mission report at our church, this girl who found it hard as a young child to even say hello to familiar adults clearly expressed the power of the gospel and the truth that we are made for sharing it. Soon after, she was invited to teach a class during a Wednesday night evangelism series. With confidence and enthusiasm, she presented a fresh way to share the gospel and guided a room full of adults to practice it, many of whom were her former teachers.
A Mother’s Response
To see God working in my child’s life, using all of these experiences to prepare her for serving him through church planting in Philadelphia, is awesome and fulfilling. How beautiful it is to see Kinci respond to God’s call in faith and obedience!
When Kinci was a baby, we decided to dedicate her at our church (First Baptist Asheboro). Recently, a mission speaker asked this of parents who were in attendance at FBA: “When you dedicated your child to God as a baby, did you really mean it? Will you still mean it if God calls your child to missions?” Did I really mean it? Yes, I did. Even with my concerns about distance, safety and security, finding a job and a home, I mean it. Seeing God at work in her helps me to freely release and bless her for this mission adventure.
Remembering her life verse, chosen for her dedication to God as a newborn, helps me to entrust her to his care in that big city that seems so far away: “The eternal God is your dwelling place and underneath are the everlasting arms . . .“ (Deuteronomy 33:27a).
Here are a few things I encourage other parents to consider:
- Remember Jesus’ command in the Great Commission, and celebrate your child’s obedience.
- Depend on Scripture for guidance and comfort. Review meaningful passages, and ask God to show you fresh understanding.
- Trust God to protect and provide. His love for our children is far greater and deeper than ours.
- Pray consistently for your child to listen to God and obey his call.
- Humble yourself and learn from your child. What can his/her faith and obedience teach you? In what new way is God calling you to serve him?
While our family is experiencing all the details of graduation, packing, planning a move, and interviews, we also grieve as we anticipate the separation that’s coming. At the same time, there is great excitement about what is ahead. Already, I’m thinking about ways I can support Kinci and the Redemption Heights team. What adventures lie ahead even for me in Philadelphia? I’m trusting God with that.