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Mercy Matters – 22 June

Hey Mercy,

I want to commend our community on a few things today. Firstly, I see intentional community building. It warms my heart after every Sunday Service to see people standing around chatting and engaging with each other like long lost friends (Footnote: We don’t need to pack the chairs away after the service anymore, so you have more time to chat). I remember the early days of Mercy where people would make a run for their cars after every service and I felt we struggled to build a meaningful community. Now we have 60% of our church in Life Groups and growing. We have a pastoral team who have been great in visiting the sick and showing the love of Jesus to those going through tough times. We also have loads of spontaneous acts of kindness.

I also see a community that is seeking God and giving God space to move freely in our services. We are experiencing His presence in greater measure, enjoying intimate times of worship and pushing into prophecy. Our prayer meeting has grown and we have our prayer warriors group actively praying for us as a church. We pray on Sunday mornings before the service and our Freedom prayer group regularly ministers to individuals in our community. It’s all very exciting.

We have also developed a culture of generosity. Our giving has grown tremendously over the years, enabling us to employ more staff, give generously and simply do some more stuff! It is a wonder to me that in this economic climate, we are still giving generously to the work of the Lord. Every month we give 6% of our income to Vineyard South Africa, and last month we were the fourth highest contributing church in the nation. Wow! We have also seen a tremendous response to our giving initiatives for Robson as he seeks to lead the Vineyard movement in Malawi. God is doing great things through him.

What I especially like about Mercy, is that we are reflecting the grace of God for those who have experienced brokenness. People who have suffered through divorce, addiction and other tragedies in life are finding Mercy a safe place for restoration. We are indeed becoming worshippers of God and rescuers of men. We continue to grow in our love for the Word and taking seriously our responsibility to live in a counter-cultural way. We have two Bible Study Groups, some people studying through the Vineyard School of Leadership and a real hunger to engage meaningfully with Scripture.

As I reflect on the last seven years, I am deeply thankful for this community. We are not perfect, but we are transforming as the Lord moulds us into His bride. I end off with our Mission Statement, which is how we are going to be a people who “come alive in God and bring life to every environment.” “To be a welcoming urban church where people connect, heal and grow to share the life of Jesus with the world.” It is from this vision that we have formulated the 4 pillars of healing, connecting, growing and going.

Ps: It’s freezing this morning!
Love Mark

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