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A Church Of Community Groups: Why You Should Come to College Connect

 

Welcome back students! Every year, thousands of college students converge in the Triad to attend the many colleges and universities in the area. We, as a church, love college students and see you as a valuable part of our church.

If you are just coming around Mercy Hill for the first time, I encourage you to jump in with us. This Sunday we will be hosting College Connect–an event all about connecting college students to Mercy Hill Church through Community Groups. At Mercy Hill, we are not a church that does groups, but a church of groups— groups are a big deal! So, when we say we want you connected to Mercy Hill, we mean we want you connected to a group.

The reason why groups are a big deal is because discipleship is a big deal. Discipleship, simply defined, is word taught and life caught. If you are newer to Christianity, discipleship is about a life that conforms to the teachings and commands of Jesus. However, Jesus didn’t just give us an example to follow or a set of rules to keep. Jesus came and lived the very life that we should have lived and died the death that we deserve, so that we might be reconciled back to God. Jesus did all these things in our place for our sin (rebellion against God). This is what we call the gospel (it means good news), and it shapes every single aspect of our lives. Discipleship is about conforming to the teachings and commands of Jesus, but the power and motivation to live into those things comes from what Jesus did in our place, the gospel. Discipleship is centered around the gospel.

We don’t simply need to be taught more information–although there are many things to learn–but we need to be immersed, like when you are trying to learn a foreign language. Students, if you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or you want to grow in your faith, then you need to jump into community because discipleship happens in community.

This is why College Connect is all about connecting you to a Community Group. We have groups all over the Triad and, without a doubt, there is a group near you! So please check out our College Connect page and sign-up for a group today!

–Jon Sheets (College Ministry Director)

 

Introducing Our New Student Director: Ronald Redmond

People are very important to the success of any organization. That much is obvious.  However, leadership is not about simply putting any person in charge; it’s about identifying the right person for the right job and then letting them run with their passion and skill. Jim Collins, in his legendary work Good to Great says, “Great vision without great people won’t come to fruition.”

At Mercy Hill, people are the mission. And to see the mission fulfilled, we know we need great people. That is why I could not be more excited about one of our newest staff additions. Back in July we welcomed Ronald Redmond to the Mercy Hill staff team.  Ronald has stepped into our Mercy Hill Student Director position. I had the chance to sit down with Ronald and ask him a few questions about life and about student ministry.


 

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I am a proud husband and proud poppa. My wife Anali and I are married with four kids.  Our kids names go I, J, K, L (Ilana, Josiah, Karina, Lydia), and we don’t plan on making it to Z. I grew up in Greenville, NCMercy Hill Church - Staff - Ronald Redmond and went to Chapel Hill for undergrad. Once I graduated from Chapel Hill, I moved to Greensboro.

What are some of your hobbies and passions?

I’m hugely passionate about music. I’ve been told several times that when I’m talking it sounds like I’m rapping. I do rap. When I was a schoolteacher I would take popular songs of the day and make them about math.  

There’s a rumor that you’re pretty good at PS4…

I haven’t played since I took the position at Mercy Hill. I went cold turkey. But I would challenge any student to a game of NBA2k. Anyone who would want to challenge me . . . let’s do it.

What did you do before MH?

For the last seven years I taught in the public school. I taught five years of 6th grade math  at Jackson Middle. I taught 2 years at Cornerstone Charter Academy.

How has your teaching experience prepared you for ministry?

Teaching has given me a passion for partnering with parents. At Jackson Middle there was no parental support; while at Cornerstone there was a lot. It showed me how powerful it was for a student’s success to have the parents involved. As a teacher, I couldn’t overcompensate for what a student lacked at home; so, it made it vital to partner with families to have the greatest impact on students.

Why do you love student ministry?

I avoided any involvement in student ministry prior to taking this role because I taught students Monday through Friday and then went home to my kids. Two years ago I went on a missions trip to the Dominican Republic, and I got to lead a Kids Week. While I was there I was teaching the Bible to students, and I absolutely loved it. Fast forward to the launch of our Clifton Road Campus. I started teaching at the Clifton Campus in the kids ministry, and it became a highlight of my week. This created a passion for students.   Student ministry for me has bridged a lot of my passions—a passion for students, a passion for teaching, and a love for Jesus.

What are you hoping to see this year in MH Students?

I have a desire to partner with families. As a church and as a student ministry, we want to come alongside of parents, connect with them, and build meaningful relationships with them. I desire to see a parent partnership where Mercy Hill student ministry is providing opportunities to apply the gospel with students but also include parents to equip them on how to engage their student on issues of the day and how the gospel speaks to those.

I also desire to see more students connected. There’s a lot more students at Mercy Hill who are not currently connected to our student ministry. I have a desire to see more students plug-in because what we’re trying to do in student ministry here at Mercy Hill is help students to see how the gospel applies to their life right now.

One of my dreams is to see students come through our student ministry and plug directly into college ministry as growing disciples of Jesus. I’ve talked to our college director about this, and we want to train students as they come through our student ministry to understand what it means to leverage their college experience for the gospel. We want to see students who are shaped and molded by the gospel and understand how to live on mission as they transition into college.

Why should a student be a part of MH students?

We don’t see student ministry as a replacement for church. What we want to do is take what students are learning in the sermon each week and help them apply it to their context right now. “What does this mean for me as an athlete on my sports team,” or “What does this mean for whatever extracurricular activities?” We want to take the truths of what they’re learning and directly apply it to their lives and to live on mission.

We’re also going to have a ton of fun in the process. The student ministry team and I put a ton of effort into preparing a fun experience for our students. The most exciting life a student can live is a life lived for Jesus. We want our weekly gathering and all the events we do to reflect this reality.


If you’re a student and have not yet connected to MH Students, come join us for our Fall launch on Sunday night, August 27th. For more information about our student ministry please visit our MH Student page. And to contact Ronald you can email him at rredmond@mercyhillgso.com

The Power of Persistent Presence

The summer is almost over. This sad reality may evoke a sigh from deep within you. At the time of this writing it is 75 degrees outside, the sky is blue, and there is a light breeze blowing. Days like these are an absolute gift. But, I fully recognize that with the imminent changing of the seasons there will also be a change in the ebb and flow of everyday life. The kids will be back in school, the pace will pick up a bit at work, Community Groups are about to kick off again, and things will generally move more quickly all around. With these things approaching, it is good to decide where to get the most return on the investment of your time. My aim in writing this is to convince you that Community Group should be one of your top priorities going into this Fall. You see, I believe that there is power in persistent presence at Community Group.

Things that Prevent Presence

There are many things that can prevent us from being present. I think sheer exhaustion is one of the major culprits. I cannot tell you how many people have told me that there are weeks when they feel too exhausted or too busy for Community Group, but they go anyway. They admit that it ends up being the best thing for them. I have felt the same way many times.

We host a group at our house so it’s hard to duck out when we are tired. But it seems that our persistence in attending group has done nothing but bring us closer to God and closer to our brothers and sisters in Christ. For that very reason, we fight to be at Community Group every week. It means saying “no” to a ton of things, but there is power in persistent presence at Community Group.

Mental busyness is another thing that can keep you from being “present” at Community Group. You may be physically there, but mentally you are 100 different places at once. Preventing this mental busyness is increasingly difficult in our modern world but is not at all impossible. I would urge you to fight to be mentally present at Community Group as well. 

The Payoff of Presence

God’s Word is powerful. Believers cannot encounter it and engage with it and still remain unphased. At Community Group, you encounter the Word of God, you discuss the Word of God, you pray in light of the Word of God. That is a life-giving pattern that helps grow us as believers. The payoff of presence is a payoff of growth in our Christian lives.  

So, as you begin to plan for this season, make a plan for growth. God works in his people through his Word taught and life caught. Community Group is the perfect place to hear the word taught and see life caught. If you are already in a group…dig in deeply. If you are not in a group, join one right away. We have Grouplink this Friday and you can jump into a group right away here.

Randy Titus (Clifton Campus Director/Community Groups Director)

Relationships Make the Church Smaller

The official definition of a megachurch is a church with an average weekly attendance of 2000 people or more. For most of you, it is no secret that, by God’s grace, Mercy Hill exceeds this number every week. And it is also no secret that megachurches get a bad rap because it feels impossible to build close relationships and to feel loved and cared for at them. Sadly, many go to a church looking for a family and yet find thousands of strangers. This is a real tragedy as it is directly contrary to how God has designed the church.

But It Doesn’t Have to be This Way

At Mercy Hill, we value our community groups. A community group is a small group of people that meets together weekly in different parts of the Triad, where we dive deep into a passage of scripture, discuss relevant questions, and pray. It’s also where we share our struggles and needs with each other and we build close, family-type bonds. Your community group will be your people, the people that you share life with and learn how to become a better disciple of Jesus with. Indeed, discipleship happens in community.

If there are those who have felt that they have not really gotten connected to the church and built relationships with those at Mercy Hill, there is a way to change that! If there are those of you that come only to a worship gathering to sing and hear the sermon but aren’t plugged into a community group, then you are missing about half of what God has designed the church for; there is way to change that!

Grouplink

On Friday August 4th at 6:30pm, Grouplink will be held at our Regional Rd. Kids Worship Space. Grouplink is the best way to get involved in a Community Group. You’ll register for a specific group here and then you will have dinner with your new group that night. Nothing brings people together like food.

Don’t miss out on the life-changing relationships that are built at Community Groups. Sign up today!

Alex Nolette (Community Groups/Equip Coordinator)