Can Short-term Teams Really Maximize Long-term Ministry?

When it comes to short-term mission trips, a driving conviction we hold is to do short-term trips with the long-term in view. When it comes to short-term mission trips, a driving conviction we hold   is to do short-term trips with the long-term in view. 

“Can short-term teams really maximize long-term ministry?” was a question recently raised by Carlos and Meredith Block, our long-term field partners who live in Peru. This year, Mercy Hill has sent two short-term teams, one short-term intern, and will send another team in September to work with them. Read how the Block’s answer their own question in their most recent newsletter:

Our answer is YES, but ministry effectiveness is directly related to several factors:

Pre-trip preparation: Communication with team on site, praying together, getting to know one another, preparing to teach, and planning outreach events sets teams up for effective ministry. 

Attitude: An attitude of service and flexibility focused on long term relationships and goals is the “being” behind the “doing.”

Ministry: Trusting the Lord and giving Him the glory in all things (even scary and uncomfortable situations) can yield fruit that will last. 

Three teams have joined us since we wrote two months ago, and two more are on the way! These friends demonstrated the above qualities, and as the Lord worked, great things happened.

Mercy Hill Church

Mercy Hill (NC) team visited an indigenous school. Casey, John, Caroline and Jack came well prepared to teach in K-12 for four days. Students heard the Genesis-Jesus story, as well as learning their colors in English. The week ended with a pinning ceremony for class officers, a special school supplies gift for each student, and a trip to the river.

Northeast Bible Church

Part of the Northeast Bible team (TX) built the second floor on the first training center building, while others shared in schools, with local women’s groups, and kids’ clubs. They had a special opportunity to visit a community affected by recent flooding. The team was overwhelmed by their hospitality and encouraged them in their rebuilding process.

Mercy Hill – City Project

Mercy Hill’s City Project College Team served for ten days in three high schools, sharing about Biblical Sexuality and using English to build bridges. They had the unique opportunity to be a part of Achievement Day as indigenous students shared what they’d learned this semester. This was yet another opportunity to plant more seeds and pray for future fruit.

How have teams helped us?

In Numbers: There are only two of us at the moment! Teams bring new faces, energy, and opportunities to introduce our indigenous friends to believers both from the US and other parts of Peru giving a broader picture of the body of Christ.

Reaching Children: Teams who work with youth show their love by spending time with them, having fun and sharing truth.

Encouragement: The indigenous often feel isolated and invisible, but when visitors come, they feel encouraged and affirmed, and their hospitality shines.

Reaching High schoolers: “You attract what you are.” Younger testimonies of salvation and life with Christ have a unique impact in school settings. Women connect with women, as do the men on the construction site.

Mobilizing Prayer: As the Brooke Fraser song says, “now that I have seen, I am responsible.”

Strengthening the Indigenous Church: All of this outreach is planting seeds to mobilize the indigenous church to extend His Kingdom. 

Are you next? 

Mercy Hill is committed to sending teams and individuals to partner with the Blocks to make disciples among the indigenous people of Peru. It’s not too late for women of Mercy Hill to go with us as we train and encourage the indigenous natives this September. 

Bryan Miller (Connections/Missions Director)

3 Reasons to Do Something Big on Serve Saturday

Do you want to be a part of something big? That question naturally peaks our interest, and we lean in. On July 29th, we have the opportunity as a church to join together to serve local organizations and schools, in love, as a response to the love that the Lord shows us. Serve Saturday is an annual event in which we hope to see hundreds of people from Mercy Hill mobilized to make tangible impressions of the gospel in our community. If that isn’t enough to get you moving, below are three reasons why you should clear the calendar and join Serve Saturday.

  1. Supplying the Front Lines

We hear the statistics often of the impact that poverty, unplanned pregnancy, and addiction are having on people in the Triad, and as Christians our hearts should break as we mourn the pain and struggle that accompany those in these situations. Ultimately, we recognize that there is hope, and we have the joy of seeing lives being changed through the work of organizations that we get to champion. Serve Saturday gives us the opportunity to “supply” four specific organizations that are on the front lines. It is our prayer that the projects that we will complete bolster their efforts, strengthen their staff and volunteers, and equip them for the tasks in front of them. While painting, cleaning, and landscaping projects may seem simple, they aid our front line friends in bigger ways than we know.

  1. Building Bridges

When your doorbell rings and you are not expecting a visitor, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? If you are like me, you will probably peak out the window, trying not to be noticed to see who is on the porch. From that vantage point, a decision is made as to what will happen next. Numerous responses ranging from turning off the lights and pretending not to be home (I’ve never done that and I’m sure you haven’t either) to opening the door and greeting friends with a hug. So, what causes the different reactions? The answer: Trust.

With the four organizations we get to serve on July 29th, we are essentially standing on the front porch and ringing the doorbell. They have chosen to open the door, and we are being given an awesome opportunity to love them well. They have shared some needs, and it is our goal to meet those needs to the best of our ability. We want to be a blessing and not a burden on them. Ultimately, our involvement in one day will help to continue building a bridge of trust between our church and them. Your participation can make a huge impact.

  1. Serve Saturday Is for Everyone

Since all other community ministry events throughout the year are done within Community Groups, Serve Saturday offers a unique opportunity for anyone and everyone to get involved. We have specifically tried to think of ways for kids, teens, college students, and adults of all ages to get involved at each location. Parents, we want you to bring your kids; we want to have situations where older adults are working alongside young adults; we want new relationships to be formed as you serve together. There is no prior experience required to get involved. To see the four serve locations, read a brief description of their ministry, and sign up to serve, please visit

– Jonathan Spangler (Community Groups Coordinator)

Your Summer Game-plan

In case you haven’t noticed, which I’m sure you have, summer is finally upon us!

And I know each of us are looking forward to spending some much needed time in the sun (with the added bonus of that NC 100% humidity, of course). We do this because we all understand, at least at some level, that there should be seasons of hard work and seasons of rest. Both are important and both are God-given directives to be embraced.

We must however keep the two in balance. If we were to rest all of the time, then we would fall under the category of what the Bible calls “slothful.” The other extreme is to work hard incessantly. Neither is healthy if they are not kept in balance. We even embrace this balance in our Community Groups at Mercy Hill. We intentionally take the month of July off to rest!

Now, I know that many of you who are reading this are running on empty. You’ve had a thousand different things going on. You feel you can’t possibly juggle all of your responsibilities and commitments for a moment longer—whether it’s work, family, deadlines, or even Community Group. It could also be a plethora of other things. All you know is that you’ve been waiting for summer to come so you can slow this freight train down.

What I’d like to do with the rest (pun intended) of this post is to give you some tips on how to strike that balance; how to truly rest this summer while growing closer to those whom God has placed you in community with. My hope is that you will use these tips to formulate your summer “game-plan.”

  1. Use the Summer to Celebrate

Here’s something I can say with absolute confidence. God is at work, and he is still changing hearts and lives! Here’s something I can also say with equal confidence that often we are so focused on conquering the next hill that we forget the victories God has already won. I don’t know what you’ve been through this year, but I do know that God is good. With the times of relaxation that you find this summer, take time to reflect upon God’s grace. Celebrate all that he has done in your own life or in the lives of those you are close to.

  1. Use This Summer to Serve

Serve Saturday is coming up at the end of July. Serve Saturday is a great opportunity to meet real needs in our community in Jesus’ name. It’s also a great opportunity to deepen existing relationships and form new ones. On top of all of that, it’s a lot of fun and many of the serve opportunities are family friendly! We will announce all of the details about Serve Saturday in the coming weeks. For now, go ahead and block out July 29th on your calendar.

  1. Use This Summer to Sharpen

We have another round of Equip Seminars beginning July 10th. Equip Seminars are a great way to sharpen your intellect and to gain a deeper understanding of some really important topics including: Marriage and Family, Financial Peace, The Will of God, Defending the Faith in College, and How We Got the New Testament. Maybe you’ve wanted to do an Equip Seminar before but haven’t had the bandwidth. Use this summer to take advantage of this opportunity to grow in knowledge and understanding!

I hope this is helpful and that you all have a life-giving summer!

-Randy Titus (Community Groups Director)