(The following is a partial transcript from my sermon on Sunday, January 10, 2009)
MEMORY VERSE: Mark 1:17 “Come, follow me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men.”
I find myself these days extremely excited about the months and years to come for Mercy Church! Not only because of the re-location, but about everything that Mercy Church stands for!
As many of you know Mercy church began just 7 years ago with the vision of LEADING PEOPLE TO A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST; and that vision is what drives us to do what we do, including the relocation!
We have met here week after week through the rain, sleet, ice & snow, and even Blizzards … doing just exactly what we set out to do 7 years ago; to spread this message of hope in Jesus ... sharing the love of God to everyone without judgment ... and without being weirdp Christian-type.
I can clearly see God working in our hearts with each passing year! I believe God is shaping us, molding us to become the church that exemplifies Jesus Christ in all that we do.
There are institutions all around the world doing very important things; but the things that churches do are the most important - dealing with people’s eternal destinies - issues of the soul.
And like I mentioned last week; my heart has always beat with a deep desire to bring people to FAITH IN CHRIST!
That is the reason I was put on this earth, I have no doubt. Actually the older I get, now just a pup at 40, (laugh) I become increasingly aware of my ultimate destiny in life … the WHY I EXIST, and it's to do just exactly what I am doing right now.
And this is why when I felt God leading us to make some changes here at Mercy Church I was willing to do so… and with this leading in my heart that started actually 2 years ago I began discussing this with the staff and leadership to confirm what I felt God leading us to do ... I wanted to truly make sure it was God and not a gas bubble from too much Pepperoni Pizza the night before. (laugh)
It started in early 2008 when we decided to change the name of the church from a LOCATION name (Olathe Life Fellowship), to a IDENTITY name (Mercy Church), a name that gives people a clear idea of the kind of church we are, rather then where we are located.
Then about a year ago discussions began about finding a building here in Olathe … and for over a year we worked diligently with an agent and toured dozen of spaces and made offers … and found the door being closed time and time again. Even when we really tried hard to MAKE it happen … it wasn’t happening.
QUOTE: "God opens doors no man can shut, and closes doors no man can open" - unknown
This lead us back to the drawing board, and back to our knees to get God’s plan for Mercy Church.
We started asking ourselves a lot of hard questions … asking ourselves if we were willing to go and do whatever God may lead us to do ... even move?
We agreed we were willing! So we opened our ears …
Then God reminded me of a story in …
TEXT: John 21:6 "And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch." So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish."
LESSON I LEARNED: WHERE JESUS SAYS TO FISH MATTERS!
I felt called to return home to KC when I graduated Bible College in 1994 and was living in Oklahoma … but I wasn’t ready, and didn’t feel a peace about moving back here then … then in 2002 we were ready, and we moved back here from Texas to KC to start the church in January 2003 … just 7 years ago.
In spite of the obstacles, in spite of obvious challenges … we must follow God’s leading for Mercy Church.
There are times in all our lives that we must make hard choices that not everyone will understand or even agree with and Mercy Church relocating to Northern Johnson County was definitely one of those decisions. It was not an easy decision, yet we must obey God and we know that God has a purpose and a plan.
This is not a move of convenience … we all (staff & key leadership) primarily live here in Olathe, actually south Olathe, so this is going to be inconvenient for us.
SO WHY THE MOVE
1) God is LEADING us.
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths”
Here is what I know about God; He is smart and He knows what is best for Mercy Church. So when we first felt God leading us to move, we did our homework – asking WHY? We wanted to make sure it was truly God.
This began the process of seeking the wisdom of others; asking many questions of our leaders, and of long time church members … we also sought the counsel of other pastors who had made moves similar to the one we are making, we met with consultants as well. The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive in feeling and sensing that this was the right move for Mercy Church.
Even those who didn’t WANT us to move said, “This makes sense … and I can see why God would be leading you to make this change.”
2) It makes SENSE.
In other words; we asked ourselves does this move make sense naturally speaking.
We started with church demographic studies; how many churches are in the area? What style are the churches? Are they traditional, contemporary, Post-modern, Blended, etc? What demonizations are present? Who are these churches reaching?
And more importantly; WHO are THEY NOT REACHING that Mercy Church could reach?
We, like any church that loves Jesus, wants to BE EFFECTIVE! We want to be MAKING a DIFFERENCE … we want to be NEEDED in the area we are in!
What we discovered was that Olathe has PLENTY of WONDERFUL CHURCHES! God’s got Olathe covered!
In this process we learned something very startling - when we looked at how many churches were in Olathe … I stopped counting at 160.
The thing we really like about the area we are moving to is that it’s more centrally located … basically it’s 15 – 20 minutes from anywhere in the Greater KC Metro … for those of us who live in Olathe it’s 15 – 20 minutes, and for those in Grandview, MO it’s 15 – 20 minutes, and for those in Raytown, MO it’s 15 – 20 minutes, and for those in Independence, MO it’s only 15 – 20 minutes and finally only 15 – 20 minutes for those in KC, KS … just by making a small move north, staying in Johnson County we now can reach the greater KC area.
GOD IS CALLING US TO BE MISSIONAL … going into an area that NEEDS MERCY church!
3) It’s a good move financially.
The current recession hit us this year, we fell $38,000 short in 2009 of our proposed budget, and thankfully we have smart financial people on board who helped us make wise decisions and we didn’t fall behind on anything, or did we have to lay off Brandon (laugh)… but we had to look at making changes in 2010 as we move forward to get ourselves in a position to get in our own building one day.
4) It’s a much better facility.
Not only is it less money but it’s a much better size for our church, all the classrooms are clean and neat and the faculty actually seem excited that we are going to be there! And, the layout of the school is such that it's going to cut set up time nearly IN HALF.
There are so many of you that have already expressed that you and your family are coming with us wherever we go - as long as we stay in the greater KC area (and we are ... we are actually staying int he same county) and I know for others of you this is a real big move because you already drive in from the south 20 - 30 minutes, and that saddens me! I wish there was a way to make everyone happy in this process.
I do want you to know that we love you, and we hope that everyone will come with us. But we know that if you do not, God will put you in the right church - And you are always welcome to come back home anytime to visit.
WHERE ARE WE RELOCATING
We are moving to Northern Johnson County, just 10 miles from Olathe to Prairie Village (63rd and Mission Rd) to Indian Hills Middle School.
FIRST SERVICE IN NEW LOCATION
Sunday, February 7 - 10:00AM
INVITE YOUR FRIENDS
Now here is your chance to invite your friends and family who live anywhere in the KC Metro to come to Mercy Church! For 7 years I would hear people say, "Man i wish you guys were closer to downtown cause I live north of the river and Olathe is just too far south... etc etc." Now they have no excuse ... we are 15 - 20 minutes from anywhere in the KC metro!