Coming into a Fullness

Super-hero VBS decor from July describes the beginning of our fall for Mountainside!

Super-hero VBS decor from July describes the beginning of our fall for Mountainside!

POW! BAM! and also OOF! Our summer turning to fall is resulting in multiple greatest hits! There has been a great time of building for Mountainside over the summer as a lot of our college students stayed in Boone over summer, and as children’s ministry had an awesome VBS! We also had a hit to us with the loss of a relative (Sherri’s mom passed away) and a dear, key family moving to Asheboro (we will miss you, Miller family).

But as we end summer, school starts, and the fall begins, we are coming into a full season. We have three solid small groups, with one ready to reproduce a fourth. We have the beginnings of a youth group ready to start some added frequency of meeting Sunday nights with adult volunteers. We have a women’s bible study starting this fall, two men’s mentoring groups, two young adult mentoring cores, and a full house on Sunday mornings at Galileo’s—our Sunday venue. We have a leadership community meeting every other month, and men praying for the church (yes, I said men praying)! Every month we take one Sunday to set aside for prayer and worship alone with people breaking into groups to pray for one another—what a time of connection and confessing our needs! Every month with a fifth Sunday we set aside, to let our service be our worship (Sept 29, we’re going to feed 5,000)! With the School of Mentoring & Art there is now an offering of 16 different courses this fall semester with new mentors and coaches!

Yet at the same time we are full, we are fragile—so needy and dependent upon the Lord’s presence and provision. Just two or three families not present because of sickness or vacations can make us so weak on a Sunday. A morning where me or Isaac don’t lean fully upon the Lord can lead to a “Spirit-less” message or worship time. Financially, we are still trying to get our toddler sized legs under this growing body (the congregation currently only meets 60% of our monthly budget) to stand up on it’s own without outside support by the end of the year. If my family (the McCready), has two members or more, out because of sickness, we scramble for available leadership (we had to cancel our Back to School event with a family memorial service).

We are weak; but we are not afraid! In our weakness, Christ delights to make us strong (II Cor. 12:9)! There is a certain delight for me (Shannon) when we are in this full but fragile state, because our full weight is upon Jesus! In fact, it’s the message we are sharing with our congregation—pisteuo, being the Greek for our word believe. In more literal translation, it means to put your full weight upon, or in our slang to say, “I’m all-in!”. For every believer ( a pisteuo-er?), we are training ourselves to be able to say wholeheartedly:

I AM PART OF THE FAMILY (which means I am loved)

I AM PART OF THE MISSION (which means I am sent)

I AM PART OF THE BIGGER PICTURE (which means I am being changed)

In the fullness and fragile-ness, we are putting our full weight upon these truths based in the Word of God. No matter the circumstances these things are true about us. No matter if we’re with provision or without, these things are true about us. No matter if we are making our punches count, or if we are taking a hit, these things are true about us. If we can see ahead or we can’t even see to take the next step, these things are still true about us. God the Father is working out his universal purposes of expanding his family, working our formation to the Son’s likeness, and spreading His fame—knowing Him is life! “ ‘Not by might, but by my Spirit’, says the Lord Almighty” (Zech 4:6). We are following Jesus without any map, compass, or path because HE our map, our compass, and our path! ALL-IN, BABY!

—Delighted to be weak so He can be strong,

Shannon McCready

Relational Community is the Vehicle for Discipleship

At Mountainside we believe relational community is the vehicle for discipleship. There are drivers to be developed for the vehicle and there is a road to travel, but let me pause on just the vehicle. This isn’t just a positional statement, but it’s my personal testimony.

In middle school, I (Shannon) was first drawn to the community of youth at the church my mother took me too. I began to value that group of people before I valued Jesus. Then, my freshman year of high school, I was invited into a smaller group of students that had daily Bible readings (and a weekly memory verse) and came to share what their favorite day was. It was within that group and the moments alone with the Living Word, that I embraced Christ’s embrace of me and began to follow Jesus. During my junior and senior year it was a group I began at my high school—gathering other Christ-followers to encourage each other in Mr. Hamm’s social studies classroom. In my early twenties, it was the “20-Something” large gathering and smaller group of friends that kept me grounded as I traveled with a successful ministry group. It was during my first years of ministry as a student pastor that I (along with my wife and 25 volunteers) worked to build the same sort of community that changed my life in that same youth room. Eight different small groups of high school students (led by seniors and juniors) created community to reach community. Each place in ministry after that—Grand Island, Asheville, and now Boone, I (along with friends, family, and fellow leaders) have strived to build the same sort of authentic and transparent relationships that form a relational community that fosters discipleship.

You see, when we come together in a Christ-centered group, we learn each other’s stories. Then we see how the Gospel story applies to our stories, and we help each other walk the next step in following Jesus. Yes, there are specific strategies and formations within those relational communities to formalize discipleship, but the basis is a loving, honest, real group of people coming together and putting Jesus in the center of it. It is like some sort of changing agent. I’ve been a part of other community groups—Rotarians, sports teams, parent-teacher groups, book clubs, even some church groups that weren’t honest—but nothing touches or comes close to a transparent group with Jesus at the center. As a group we agree to put one hand in—connecting with each other and Jesus, while putting out the other hand—extending it to others who need this community just as much as those already in it! In doing all that, we build community to reach a community.

I love what God is doing among us at Mountainside, and the genuine love that is growing among us within our relational communities! Men’s group, women’s group, youth group, young adult small group, young marrieds with kids, married with teens and empty nests—all the variations coming together in groups or three’s or four’s—it is beautiful. We have a few who attend our small groups, but don’t attend on Sundays. We have a few who go to our small groups, but go to another church. When we are embracing Jesus and his mission, those sort of little things don’t really matter.

This last Monday, our house was full with 20 young adults celebrating four who had their birthdays in June. There was so much laughter! I wish you could have seen the couple of large circles of conversations going on among the more extroverted, and then the few side conversations happening between the more introverted. The two leaders of this group know the stories of each of these people. A discipleship group has formed among 3 young ladies. Similar things are happening within our other small groups. It gives me a lot of hope for the future of Mountainside.

Thank you to all those supporting the mission of Mountainside Community Church as we help people to come, find and follow Jesus!

—Shannon McCready

Resurrection

The God-Man, Jesus, said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25a).

The God-Man, Jesus, said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25a).

He was placed in a tomb, dead. It was a wonder he survived the brutality of the flogging to have to suffer death on a cross. But a soldier verified his death by putting a spear in his side. Yes, he was dead. Joseph and Nicodemus wrapped the body of Jesus in linens with the traditional seventy-five pound mixture of aromatic spices. Using levers, the two men rolled a two-ton stone in front of the tomb. The next day a Roman detachment was put on guard by orders of the governor Pilate, after the Jewish leaders warned of the body being stolen. The guards placed a seal upon the tomb and kept vigilant watch under threat of death by military code (Justinian’s Digest 49:16). And all was silent, cold, and dark.

But early at dawn of the first day of the week, history changed. The ground shook. The light of life coursed through the body of Jesus, and resurrection power transformed dead cells and liquified congealed blood. His heart warmed and began to beat. Every synapse and nerve ending began to fire with energy from the Spirit of God. Then a first gasp. The light of a mighty angel. The stone was rolled away. Empty burial iinens lying in the tomb. The detachment of guards seized up and “became like dead men”. The living Savior, Jesus, was gone, leaving the tomb behind forever. Just an angel remained to deliver a message to the women coming to the tomb: “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here. He is risen from the dead!” (Luke 24:5-6).

The angel gave a message for the women to tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee. They were still in Jerusalem, hiding in fear for their lives in a locked room. The women tell the disciples, but they are slow to believe. Jesus couldn’t wait any longer: he appears to Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the two on the road to Emmaus. By Sunday evening, the joy of Jesus moves him to bypass the Galilee meet-up, and he appears in the room with the disciples in Jerusalem. The joy spreads and wonder fills, as the disciples touch his hands, eat with him, hear his voice again. A ghost has no flesh and bones. A man who didn’t really die, doesn’t miraculously heal from a Roman flogging in three days. For a period of forty days Jesus appeared to his disciples, opening their minds to the Scriptures, teaching them. At one point he appeared to over 500 people at the same time. No, it’s not a mass hallucination. And neither was it one of the other alternate theories presented by new atheists. The body wasn’t stolen. It wasn’t relocated. It wasn’t that they visited the wrong tomb. It wasn’t a variation of an ancient resurrection myth tacked on to a sad story. These men and women, gave their lives to testifying about seeing the resurrected Jesus. He was miraculously alive. And He still lives today.

The resurrection changes everything for us today. Not only does it validate Jesus’ claim to offer resurrection to us too, but we are told that resurrection power is made available to us now (Eph 1:19). Why would God give that sort of power to ordinary people? Resurrection follows death. People who have been crucified with Christ need resurrection (Gal 5:22). People who have had relationships and dreams die, need resurrection.

This coming Sunday, April 21, we will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and why it makes all the difference in the world for us. Hope you will join the celebration.

Shannon McCready

The Faces At Mountainside Community Church

The faces we see at Mountainside . . . and behind each face is a person’s story.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are always at work in the lives of people!

The faces we see at Mountainside . . . and behind each face is a person’s story. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are always at work in the lives of people!

At Mountainside, Zach & Jenny Hoffman help out almost every Sunday in some way, and every once-in-a-while they bring their cameras and share their photos with us. It’s been great to look at these photos from the past year and reflect on the stories behind each face. God is sooooooo at work! In one person, He’s been restoring joy by his Spirit, in another, He is convicting a heart to reflect the Good News in their life. Sweet friendships growing between young and old—and everyone in between! Then there are those young faces of children that are just absorbing the stories of Jesus, and hearing the songs and prayers of Christ-followers. One of our middle-school students who was baptized on December 16 (along with 3 others) said this in her testimony of why she was being baptized: “I’ve seen the lives of those who are not following Jesus, and I’ve seen the lives of those who are following Jesus; and I want to be like those who are following Jesus.” It’s definitely a testimony to this young lady’s family, but it is also a testimony of the community surrounding her. I agree. There are Christ-followers at Mountainside that I want to be like; I want to imitate them in certain areas of their lives. This is a group of people I admire and I’m growing to love better each day.

Cloey Hadley, a middle school student at Mountainside, after her dad, Preston, baptized her because of her faith in Jesus.

Cloey Hadley, a middle school student at Mountainside, after her dad, Preston, baptized her because of her faith in Jesus.

There is something God wants to do with this group of people. I (Shannon) don’t have it all figured out exactly, but I keep receiving nudges as I see the people God is assembling in Mountainside. The first nudge for 2019, is not unusual or unique: it’s just that we pray more! Yeah, that seems like a safe direction, I mean, what area of our lives would we say, “Nah, I don’t need any prayer about that!” But it’s more than receiving prayer that could benefit our lives, it’s becoming excited about spending time with the Lord. It’s about a movement that becomes a “fast from the world” (decreasing) towards “feasting with God” (increasing). No promises about what could happen or might happen if we make opportunities to pray, just the guarantee it is GOOD in every way!

We would appreciate your prayers for Mountainside as we approach 1 year of officially being in existence. In 2019 we will have to become self-sustaining, have more leaders developed, and a few disciples who want to make disciples will need to emerge. Pray for a vibrant faith to grow in the believers, and for the door of faith to be opened to those here in Boone who are still yet-to-become-believers. Join me as I pray for these things and a gospel renewal in Boone (where individuals center their will, thoughts, and emotions around what Jesus said and are changed).

God bless,

Shannon McCready


How to Do Church in Snow

Snow is already here and ‘Snomageddon’—over a foot is predicted for this Sunday in Boone, NC!

Snow is already here and ‘Snomageddon’—over a foot is predicted for this Sunday in Boone, NC!

So, we’ve been having some great moments as a young 8 month old church! We’ve enjoyed a “Thanksgiving Brunch” together on Sunday morning; we’ve had the “2018 Following” Retreat last weekend with all students and young adults. We’re also looking ahead to wonderful times together—the Christmas Cookie Competition on the 15th, and baptisms on the 16th, and a candlelight service on the 23rd. We’ve enjoyed the company of growing friendships in our three small groups and the ever-expanding circle as others join our little community of Christ-followers.

But sometimes the geography and weather of Boone is a challenge to getting together. It’s not like some of the flat places I’ve lived before. There are steep, narrow, winding roads to get from homes to town. Add just a little snow, and without special equipment or vehicles, people are stuck. Most of the time our road crews are good at clearing snow and ice, but get a bunch of snow 4-10 hours before an event or gathering, then there has to be some decision making on what is safe. Sometimes you stick it out and push through . . .

Elec pushing through a Sunday load-in just after an ice storm!

Elec pushing through a Sunday load-in just after an ice storm!

Other times, we have to take a different approach that’s possible with technology, but looks a little different . . .

Sometimes this is what Sunday will look like on snow days for Mountainside!

Sometimes this is what Sunday will look like on snow days for Mountainside!

This coming Sunday, December 9th, is going to be a Sunday for Mountainside Community Church to grab a hot drink and log in to Facebook to “have church” online. There is already snow on the ground now (Wednesday) and a foot of snow is predicted from Saturday evening to Monday. There are other options out there for families snowbound in homes, but we will offer a 25 minute time of worship and a devotion (lead by Isaac, Elec, & Shannon) at 10:30AM. Just look us up on Facebook @mountainsidecommunitychurch.

If you’re friends from distant locations, you can check in on us and see what we’re up to! If you’re one of the regulars here in Boone, I hope you will take advantage of some face to face time with one of our small groups (shannon@mcboone.com for locations & times) before this weekend!

God bless,

Shannon McCready

Mountainside Community Church--Pilgrim Way

Our first Sunday in November as a church! We can’t stop identifying everything as our ‘first time’ as a community of Christ-followers!

Our first Sunday in November as a church! We can’t stop identifying everything as our ‘first time’ as a community of Christ-followers!

This past Sunday we started a message series called, “Pilgrim Way,” looking closer at Jesus’ words, “come follow me.” The word “come” is an invitation and summons, but it also implies that we will leave something behind to turn and pursue that invitation. “Follow” is a word that we often tie to the metaphor of walking, but outside of that metaphor it really means we imitate. “Me” is Jesus, and because of his validated claims of who he is, causes us to respond to the summons and begin to imitate him. But there are some overtones, foreshadowing, and words connected to “come follow Jesus”—words like “cross”, “deny”, “die”, and “lose”. It’s a summons to lose our life. But take heart, because there are other words also connected to “come follow me”, words like “resurrection”, “raised”, “life”, and “find”. It’s what follows the cross, what follows when we lose our life for Jesus! Our life is an ongoing journey with God, and the temporary sacrifices, suffering and losses are momentary and light compared to the eternal and weighty life, glory, and joy that is at our destination. The pilgrim way has “many dangers, toils, and snares” as John Newton wrote in “Amazing Grace”. Grace has led us safe this far, and will continue to lead us safely home.

Part of the reason for talking about this, is that “Come Follow Me” is tied directly to our mission: to help people come find and follow Jesus. Jesus is our final destination—followers will one day be totally transformed into his likeness (II Cor. 3:18). We become what/who we love. Another reason is that I really hope to help believers and yet-to-be-believers to not be unpleasantly surprised to what they’re being called to follow. It seems obvious to some, that if we follow Jesus, we will eventually—and not be able to avoid— having to face a ‘crucifying of ourselves” (Galatians 2:20) so that he might live in us and through us. But I guess in our American culture, which has co-opted only the pleasant parts of the Gospel to promote a self-fulfillment message, has influenced us all to forget Jesus’ original call includes a denial of self, a call to lose our lives for his sake. There is a power in that call, that let’s us know that Jesus and authentic Christian faith isn’t trying to “sell us something”. My hope and prayer is that like little ducklings that imprint on the first thing they see (and begin to follow), that believers will imprint on Jesus—not on an institution, a self-fulfillment dream, an idol of our own choice, or even a mission. The Father doesn’t desire us to become like an institution or an idol; He wants us to become like his Son.

—Shannon McCready

This past Sunday, “Come”, and this coming Sunday, “Follow”! Sorry, the Smirnoff and Jim Bean (in the foreground) aren’t added to our communion juice!

This past Sunday, “Come”, and this coming Sunday, “Follow”! Sorry, the Smirnoff and Jim Bean (in the foreground) aren’t added to our communion juice!

Mountainside Community Church--Enjoying New Space

Some of our “Road Crew” having a chance to breathe before welcoming guests on last Sunday morning at Galileo’s.

Some of our “Road Crew” having a chance to breathe before welcoming guests on last Sunday morning at Galileo’s.

So, when I say we’re enjoying our new space to meet on Sundays, I’m talking about two kinds of space. We are enjoying the cozy atmosphere of Galileo’s, and how it just seems to suit us. But we are also enjoying the breathing room—space to hang out, with a little more time to visit before and after the service. The owner’s of Galileo’s have been very generous towards Mountainside, working out an arrangement for us to use the space on Wed, Thurs, and Fridays for after school community classes, and a “Mom’s Morning Out”. There is room for us to grow (numerically) and connect with new people, and there is room for us to grow (relationally) as we spend more time together.

This coming Sunday (Oct 21) everyone—even if you don’t come for the 10:30am service—is invited to join us for a “Crocktober Fest” meal. Right after our gathering, starting at 12 noon, we will be digging into dishes prepared by our families from small groups. Some of it will be warming up in crock pots down stairs, making our mouths water! Good things happen when we share a meal together—it’s a sign of friendship in many cultures and many places; and it’s also true here in Boone!

—Shannon McCready

Mountainside First Sunday At Galileo's

Mountainside Kids area was ready to go on our first Sunday at Galileo’s!

Mountainside Kids area was ready to go on our first Sunday at Galileo’s!

I want to introduce a new voice in our updates—Nikki R. Miller, a professional writer and mom who is a part of Mountainside. You might get two blog updates close together, since it’s my fault for the delay of this one. Thanks for your prayers and we will have more on how thing are going with meeting at Galileo’s! —Shannon McCready, Lead Pastor

Kicking off Fall with a Fresh Start

 

It finally arrived! Our first official Sunday service at Galileo’s happened this week, and we had a great turnout. We are so grateful for our community that continues to grow with us through these early stages of getting established in Boone. 

 

Pastor Shannon kicked off our new location by starting a series called D&D: The Monsters We Face. Throughout the next couple weeks, he’ll be going over the various monsters in our own life such as deception, depression and death.

 

Kidzone was amazing in the new space and Mountainside Kids enjoyed making swords of truth to fight again deception after learning about the original lie in the Garden of Eden.

 

This move to Galileo’s allows for us to also fellowship more as we no longer have to rush out of Regal Cinema. So many friendships are being formed through this new community, and it’s such a blessing to watch how our roots are getting stronger each day. We’re excited for another week at Mountainside as our small groups continue to meet. 

 

We hope to see you next Sunday! For more information on how to connect with us, visit https://www.mcboone.com/about/.

Mountainside Community Church--Passing The Baton of Faith

Students at our "Lord of the Rings" retreat!

Students at our "Lord of the Rings" retreat!

   At Mountainside our students are making a huge difference as they are the way we run our MCKids nursery (0-4) and Climbers (K-3rd) programs.  They register the kiddo’s, make crafts with them, play play dough, sing songs, play chase (endlessly) and offer lots of cuddles and fun.  We are so proud of each of them and their willingness to offer this real help to our little ones.  Oh- and you should try the coffee that one of our students makes…he just turned 13 and is quite the barista!  We believe strongly that these students are not junior helpers, but critical members of our volunteer teams every Sunday.  We look forward each week to sharing a meal with these students at our Thursday small group- we hear all about their journeys, encourage them in the Word of God and prayer- and then have some plain old fun with some type of game ranging from cards to hide and seek.  Working with each of these students is our great joy and one of our high values- to pass the baton of faith and leadership to the next generation.  

--Sherri McCready

Elec making it happen at the Back To School Festival at Watauga High School!

Elec making it happen at the Back To School Festival at Watauga High School!

Just an update on our Roadie Award winner, Scott Whitmire:  When Scott isn't helping with logistics on a Sunday morning, he could be at the beach--in San Diego--with the Mountainside Roadie Award (Emmet)!  Of all the people helping serve at Mountainside, I wonder who will be taking home the Roadie Award this winter? 

Just an update on our Roadie Award winner, Scott Whitmire:  When Scott isn't helping with logistics on a Sunday morning, he could be at the beach--in San Diego--with the Mountainside Roadie Award (Emmet)!  Of all the people helping serve at Mountainside, I wonder who will be taking home the Roadie Award this winter? 

Mountainside Starts at Galileo's September 23!

Galileo pointed out we aren't the center of the universe; we're just trying point to the One who is!

Galileo pointed out we aren't the center of the universe; we're just trying point to the One who is!

Five months ago when Mountainside started, an ice storm hit Boone the evening before and kept most everyone home that first Sunday.  What do you do when handed lemons?  You make lemonade!  And we've been doing that all spring and summer, meeting new people and growing in relationship with those who helped us begin!  Now we think it's time this fall to re-invite Boone, as we relocate to Galileo's on 1087 W King St in downtown Boone.  As we move into Galileo's, we are also moving in on some other things.

We are moving in:  

1) CLOSER—to people, within walking distance to ASU and the heart of downtown Boone.

2) MOVING-IN ON COMMUNITY—we are building community to reach a community.  Our new location is not open on Sundays, which will allow us to be able to linger longer and have special events any time on a Sunday.  Our relationship with Galileo's has also opened up time and space Weds. & Thurs.) to offer weekly classes to the community--drama, crafts, creative writing, guitar and more!

3) MOVING-IN ON VISION—to grow and multiply disciples and leaders.  Our new location will allow us to have multiple services on Sunday, which means more people involved. We believe we will also have a lower-cost, reproducible model for Appalachian church planting

We did a pretty good job in letting Boone know we are the "church at the movie theater", so we will have to also do a good job in letting people know we moved--with a fresh invitation saying, "you belong here"!  Leading up to our move, we will be sending out an invite to 27,000 homes along with other means of communicating (social media and the local papers).  Pray for our team of volunteers and our staff as we learn how to set up in a new location and welcome adults, students, and children to a warm and inviting atmosphere.  Pray for more to start the journey to come, find and follow Jesus!