Mountainside Community Church--In the Park!

   So, it's been a little bit since our last update, but we've been having some great moments with Mountainside family, and connecting with others in the public spaces of Boone!  Thank you, everyone, for praying for no rain on June 28th at our Movie in the Park night!  It was a great evening as our two small groups joined together for a picnic and reconnected and then welcomed people from Boone to watch "Princess Bride" with us!  There were around 70 people who came and joined us for a cool mountain evening outdoors.  We met some new friends who then joined us on Sunday morning.  Our friendships at Mountainside continue to grow as we spend more time together--not just in worship or small groups, but as we work together and keep an extended hand to others.

 A little Hoffman girl also kept people entertained along with the Movie in the Park, "Princess Bride"!

A little Hoffman girl also kept people entertained along with the Movie in the Park, "Princess Bride"!

  We also had a lot of fun entering the 4th of July parade, again--only this time we had the Mountainside band playing live music from the back of a trailer!  We handed out frisbees and candy (with some invites to Sunday and the next Movie in the Park".  It is always great to be a part of what the community of Boone is doing.  The police, fire department, boy scouts, cloggers, dojo kids, political candidates--many others were there--so it seemed like a good idea for the church to be there too!

 Lining up for the parade, getting ready to go down King Street, the main downtown strip of Boone!  Elec and Jackson win patriotic fashion statement awards this year! (love the bonnet and cape)

Lining up for the parade, getting ready to go down King Street, the main downtown strip of Boone!  Elec and Jackson win patriotic fashion statement awards this year! (love the bonnet and cape)

We finished the 4th of July by setting up a tent in the park (where people gathered for the town  fireworks display) and gave away free watermelon and hot dogs.  We met some new people and reconnected with others we hadn't seen in a while.  Sherri still beat all the kids at jump rope games, and the guys were challenging others to corn hole.   So, why do we do all these things?  These spaces and events are the "public spaces" instead of "private places" where everyone is welcomed.  Homes are private spaces; businesses are semi-public (no loitering); parks and streets are public.  It's okay to loiter in the park--it's what it's made for!  So, when we meet in these type of public spaces and events, we are engaging with the community instead of hiding from the community.  Instead of crossed arms, it's open arms--or at least an extended hand.  Churches have become known for what they are against.  This is one more way for us to say what we are for--we are for Boone!  We are for Boone, because God made it clear He is for all of us: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). I suppose if you can't humble yourself to see yourself in the 'sinner' category, then this is meaningless.  But I believe we all fall into the 'sinner' category, and so this statement is good news for each of us that God is for us!

 A pause in the watermelon and hot dog line, gives some time to talk with friends working side by side!

A pause in the watermelon and hot dog line, gives some time to talk with friends working side by side!

Mountainside Community Church--Overcoming in Boone

 John & Julie, a Mountainside couple who are "all-in", leading our Sunday volunteers in prayer before guests begin to arrive!

John & Julie, a Mountainside couple who are "all-in", leading our Sunday volunteers in prayer before guests begin to arrive!

Dear supporters and friends of Mountainside Community Church,

 

            Yesterday was Pentecost, where the Church was born. God did that with great fanfare and fire and boldness, and 3000 were added to the Church that day.  We remember that as we press on well over 2000 years later as we continue the work of birthing Churches.  As you all know, this is our second time, and I am only more confirmed in how critical the Church is to the Kingdom’s work in a city.  This really matters!

 

Mountainside is 10 weeks old and this is what we know about this beautiful newborn.

 

 She endures and overcomes.  She was born on March 25th, the Sunday with the worst weather yet in Boone as snow and ice covered the roads.  100 people came anyway.  We were amazed!  

 

She is really thirsty and hungry.  Right now the thirst seems to be for community, worship, and friendship.  We are gently beginning to answer that thirst with the healthy formula of ‘following Jesus’.  We are praying every week that she will develop a taste for this because we know it is all that will truly satisfy.  Every week we remind her that coming to a building and sitting in a gathering of Christ Followers is a beginning place, but the destination is Jesus.  

 

Some in our little body of Christ are mature and strongin their walk with Jesus.  They have walked with him a long time and have been tested through many, many storms and are still clinging to the vine.  They are flanking Shannon and I and are like trained strong horses ready to pull a lot of weight.  We are so thankful for each of them as they endure and serve faithfully every week.  Among these we have had intense battles with health; pre-eclampsia, cancer, and possible stroke or heart disease.  We have had many reasons to pray with each other and for each other already.

 

Some are just beginning to choose Jesus!  Several college students from App State and several young couples have not had the rhythm of Church, spiritual growth, or pursuit of Jesus in their lives at all.  They are trying to come, learning how to save room for pursuit of Jesus in their crazy crowded lives.  We love each of them so much and greatly value every time they are able to come and worship with us.  

 

So far we have 7 teenagers, and Elec (our 17 year old son) is serving as our Student Ministry Intern with Sherri as his coach.  2 of the 7 have had Youth Group Experience before, but the other 5 have not.  They are wonderful students with soft hearts and very little to no Bible knowledge.  They are pressing in and seem willing to begin.  They each one serve so faithfully with us each Sunday; making coffee, setting up the nursery, running sound, and loving on the the little ones.  

 

Right now we are really small- 60 in total if they all come, so some Sundays we will have under 45. We have made a 1 year commitment to Regal Cinema’s and so sometimes the larger theatre can feel like a giant crib for a tiny, tiny infant.  But this is where Mountainside chose to take her stand in Boone, so we will remain there as God provides the way. 

 

Her vision is BIG and her prayers are fervent and passionate. We are already pressing into Boone to serve her and love her and the desire of our little Church is alive and real. We are praying that God will enable us with the strength and the people to love Boone well.  We serve Boone every 5thSunday.  We were able to do that April 29th- it was awesome.  We were able to come alongside some local efforts and add our strength to their projects and service.  We long to do more of that.

 

One year ago, 7 McCready’s arrived in Boone and in that one year God has nearly multiplied us 10 times over.  We are no longer strangers in a new town.  God has established us in that time.  Shannon serves as a chaplain to the local police force, and is a faithful member of the Rotary club, as well as a city wide men’s bible study.  Shannon is currently the only full time staffmember and we are so thankful for that.  Isaac is the only other paid staff, serving as the part time worship leader and works a couple other jobs as well.  Sherri is a volunteer and the Lord has blessed her with a local house cleaning business that allows her to keep her evenings and weekends open for ministry, she is currently wearing 3 hats; Children’s Ministry Director, Student Ministry Coach, and Community Engagement Director.  Elisa has been serving as our web designer and social media intern and Elec serves as the Student Ministry intern as well as playing in the worship band.  Zach Hoffman is volunteering as our Small Group Director and Lori Whitmire is volunteering in Administration work.  Scott Whitmire volunteers as Operations Director managing all the logistics of Sunday morning.  We’re so thankful for these people and their help!

Mountainside Community Church--I LIKE These People!

 Part of our early morning crew that help set up on Sunday mornings--I love these people!

Part of our early morning crew that help set up on Sunday mornings--I love these people!

  So, we've been faithfully preparing a place for people to meet with Jesus for eight Sundays now!  Our new friends who have joined in with us are helping build "roads" to help people come, find and follow Jesus.  Some prepare their houses for a couple of small groups that meet during the week; others help prepare Regal Cinemas to be a hospitable place to someone nervous about coming to church for the first time.  Others prepare worship, lighting, sound, coffee, directions, children's areas.  Some are building roads towards their neighbors--starting conversations to get to know them, their story, and thinking of what questions to ask that might lead to crucial conversations.  I'm really growing to know these builders of community--and I like them a lot!

 On the 5th Sunday of April, we split into three groups to surprise and serve Hardin-Park Elementary (landscape work-above), Oasis (re-stocking groceries of safe house), and the "tot-lot" near the swimming complex (bubbles, snacks, games).

On the 5th Sunday of April, we split into three groups to surprise and serve Hardin-Park Elementary (landscape work-above), Oasis (re-stocking groceries of safe house), and the "tot-lot" near the swimming complex (bubbles, snacks, games).

On April 29th, we had the first of our 5th Sundays where we've purposed in our heart to surprise Boone. People everywhere are looking for some sign of credibility of the Gospel.  When we surprise, serve, and bless others in a sacrificial way (in a way that doesn't benefit us) we show we are not just for ourselves, but for others!  God the Father was said to have "demonstrated his love for us while we were still sinners" by having Jesus dying for us (Rom. 5:8).  God showed He was for us, as human beings, not just for Himself.  With so many people only hearing what churches are against, we hope in some way our actions can show that we are for Boone, and that God is for Boone.

--Shannon

P.S.  Sorry, that we lost touch with some of you when our website was updated and disconnected you from receiving updates.  If you're reading this now--welcome back!  Hope you will catch up with us from some of the other posts on our website blog.

Mountainside Community Church--A Beautiful Endeavor!

 Sunday morning we express our faith, enter into community, explore the truth and experience God--all in movie theater!

Sunday morning we express our faith, enter into community, explore the truth and experience God--all in movie theater!

This is a beautiful endeavor!  We love the wonderful people that Mountainside Community Church is allowing us to know.  They are really, really wonderful and so grateful for this gathering.  We are small, but growing every week as we meet new people.

So- here is the reality.  We are absolutely not strong enough in any way to carry the weight of this baby Church here in Boone, but it matters so much to the folks that are finding the life of Jesus and the love of His body through this Church.  We COULD NOT DO THIS with out the amazing, faithful, loving support of so many churches in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee pooling their funds through networks like WayPoint, and Church Partners of the Smokies as well as those giving directly.  Really- this could not work at all without the great love and support of a whole bunch of people we will likely never meet.  But we know they are praying and giving financially- and there have been several who have driven up the mountain each week to serve with us.  It has been so humbling and deeply moving to see THE BODY OF CHRIST in action.

There is an excitement over this newness- this endeavor- this mission- this ‘something that came from nothing’…IT IS A MIRACLE, and we all know it. We are very much like the family who gather around a new born baby and ooh and ah at the infant- expressing thankfulness at the safe delivery and wondering with great hope of all this new one will grow to become!

Our faith is strong- and our work is cut out for us as there are many many more people to reach out to- just like we have been doing for the last year.  I am excited to walk into this spring and summer flanked with 75+ Boonies, because last spring we arrived with just our family of 7.  God has already multiplied us 10 times in one year.  Wonder what He will do with another 12 months….

Mountainside Community Church--Resurrection Sunday

 From the Gospel account of John we hear that despite real sorrows, danger, and loss, happy endings are for real because of the resurrection!

From the Gospel account of John we hear that despite real sorrows, danger, and loss, happy endings are for real because of the resurrection!

   Well, this is week 2, Easter Sunday and we had an awesome gathering at Regal Cinema’s with Mountainside Community Church! A great group of volunteers from Knoxville came over and assisted us with serving- and everything went so well.  This is a great Church, really- really.  This Launch team loves and serves with such skill and enthusiasm, it is a sight to behold!  We sang our hearts out in celebration of the Resurrection, and were reminded again of the power of this story and this day that changes everything.  After Church the lobby was filled with conversation- lots of people asking questions and hopefully finding a home.  We gathered again Sunday evening at Chili’s for chips, salsa, and easy conversation with new families who are planning to join us in this mission.  It is awesome. Mountainside Community Church is alive here in Boone- and the love of God is strong and present among us. Wow- it is so so good.  I love this Church!

Mountainside Community Church Launches!

 Our morning for launch started with roads covered in ice and snow, yet 110+ people came to join us and investigate this new church for Boone!

Our morning for launch started with roads covered in ice and snow, yet 110+ people came to join us and investigate this new church for Boone!

   What a day!  A snowy weekend, complete with an ice storm served as the backdrop for the day we were set to launch Mountainside Community Church. The drama started at 6:00am with our Launch team group test questioning whether or not we should go forward with Launch.  The decision was made to go forward if we could make it out of our driveways, and amazing news- nearly everyone made it!  When we arrived with the trailer loaded with all the gear, we found two families were already there and prayer walking all around Regal.  I won’t soon forget that sight.  Amazing!  We were so thankful for  a crew of volunteers from The Point Church in Raleigh that braved the storm and came to assist us.  We were able to get everything set up and were ready to greet by 9:30….and miraculously by 9:45 Boonies started to arrive in spite of the storm. Over 110 of them, crazy!  We knew every person walking through the door had to overcome some pretty intense weather to get there- it spoke volumes to their hunger and resolve.  We worshipped the Lord as Shannon, his Dad, and a member of our launch team carried in the cross. We prayed prayers together and heard the Word of God, loved on the children, took Communion, and sang again….and just like that- Mountainside Community Church was born.  
    Her whole story was a miracle.  The people that God gathered in a long string of ‘circumstances’ can only be explained as divine, really divine.  I do not know the story that lies ahead of us- I only know that watching this Church emerge has increased my faith.  I anticipate His work among us and I am certain that He loves the folks in Boone.  He has remembered them and is reaching toward the many folks here who need to know He is close. It is an honor to be on this journey.

Mountainside Community Church Launches This Sunday!

Well, this is it. 7 days till Launch and it is strange, miraculous, and wonderful to say that we are ready-ish.  This Launch team loves Jesus and loves Boone and is ready to serve them both. Today was our last practice service and we are so ready to open the doors of Mountainside Community to this city.  We believe that Jesus must be up to something special, in the way that He is moving among us.  I cannot say with any certainty that we know what He wants to do, but we are so thankful to be able to join the work of the Kingdom here in Boone.  I say we are ready “ish” because there are lots of area’s where we are dependent on God’s miraculous intervention- but we are looking toward his faithfulness.  We have 2 small groups ready to go, ready to receive the folks that God sends and welcome them into this family trying to follow Jesus. It has been amazing to watch this beautiful community of faith emerge- I know she will grow and grow, there are many more people to add.  Let’s do it!

 The beginning of a church is called a church plant--and just like a biological plant, we are putting down roots, stretching towards the light; just a little sapling trying to stand up.  Pray for us!

The beginning of a church is called a church plant--and just like a biological plant, we are putting down roots, stretching towards the light; just a little sapling trying to stand up.  Pray for us!

Mountainside Community Church--Filling

 Our launch team, plus some friends from Bridges Church who helped with making our Sunday Preview happen at the Regal Cinemas!

Our launch team, plus some friends from Bridges Church who helped with making our Sunday Preview happen at the Regal Cinemas!

The room used to be so empty, now we don’t have enough chairs. The weekly schedule was full of open spaces, now we are making sure we somehow get enough sleep.  Our hands were aching with emptiness, now we are praying for strength to press on in the fullness. God fills.  It is what He wants to do most, to satisfy us, to fill us.  He knows He is all we need and He alone can satisfy the deepest longings and cravings of the soul... known in fullness only to Him.  He fills.  He brings light to the dark and life to the dying, and hope to the hopeless and laughter to the lonely. It’s true.  It has always been true.  It is just what He does, and every week I am seeing Him do it again here in Boone.  
    Our weekly hi-lo group is filling up the house and we are ready and preparing to become 2 groups that can become 4 groups.  We have vision growing for the next generation and are ready to extend our mission to students and children.  We have 4 families eagerly offering their houses for this growing Church. It is awesome and I know when God brings a new person or a new house or a new venue to Mountainside- my hope explodes into worship, because I know He is bringing them so He can fill them up, it is what He does.
    We are filling up Galileo’s on Sunday evenings and our kitchens and living rooms mid-week.  We are filling up bins with toys for children, and sound gear for worship.  We are filling up our schedules with time to spend with each other, and our journals with praise to God for what He is doing here in Boone.  This weekend we went to see a movie at Regal and the parking lot was packed.  I smiled, because I believe it won’t be long till it will look that way on a Sunday morning sometime in the coming months.  Why do I have that faith?  Because we are following after a God who fills things up, I imagine the Regal Theatre is next. Can’t wait.

Mountainside Community--Boone Ball Benefit

 February 14, 2018, 6:30-8:30 PM at the Courtyard by Marriott 1050 NC-105, Boone, NC 28607

February 14, 2018, 6:30-8:30 PM at the Courtyard by Marriott 1050 NC-105, Boone, NC 28607

If I may use a metaphor, Mountainside’s ‘song' is being written now.  The Rhythm is growing now as we begin to meet 2 times weekly, one for corporate worship and one for small group, and even additionally to have dinners or to play. Her Rhyme is showing up now here and there as we find our passions and see where we have great unity in deeply held beliefs and out reaching ministry. None of us have heard the ‘song’ yet in its entirety, but this I know- it will be beautiful and it will be all about Jesus.  This group of Christ Followers who have found each other here in Boone are passionate for this Church and its work to “Find and Follow Jesus”!  I am amazed at the fervor beating inside the hearts of these once strangers now friends…its kind of like an orchestra tuning up before the production when the audience quiets and the lights dim.  I can only say I am amazed at what I am seeing inside this small launch team and I thank God with great anticipation as He creates this new Church and teaches her to sing the song that He has given her to sing.

We held a practice service at Regal for the first time last month and had enough team members to cover every need, amazing.  We will gather at Regal again on February 25 (10-11:30am), for our first public practice service.  Pray for us as some of us are serving in new area’s with very little experience and a lot of faith.  We are working hard now every week as we continue our preparations while simultaneously reaching out to new people.

This Wednesday, Feb. 14th- we have rented out the Marriott meeting room to host the Boone Ball & Benefit for OASIS.  All of our Launch Team will have a table to host the friends, family, and guests who arrive to a fun evening to raise funds for a local organization that aids women and children fleeing from abusive relationships.  We wanted to remember the ones who may have feel ‘love’ failed them.  Pray for us to be able to raise funds, meet new people, and share the love of Jesus with Boone while we eat cupcakes, sing love songs, and celebrate the gift of relationships.

We still meet weekly at Galileo’s to worship, hear the Word and pray.  It is a great local pub, and we are so happy to bring them a bit of business on a day they were normally closed.  Every week we meet someone new, and add another name and another story to miraculous song building as we launch Mountainside Community Church.

Mountainside Community Church--Surprise

 Long-time friends from our first church plant in Asheville surprise Sherri and join Mountainside for a night of worship at Galileo's.

Long-time friends from our first church plant in Asheville surprise Sherri and join Mountainside for a night of worship at Galileo's.

   Mountainside Community Church found her voice on Sunday night Jan. 14th as we gathered in a local pub for a worship gathering.  The theme of the night was ‘Surprise’, which is the action of the Mountainside value “Neighboring”.  I was the unsuspecting recipient of the “Surprise” as it was my 50th birthday.  I cannot begin to explain the power of the night for me.  First of all, our entire Mountainside Launch Team showed up together for for first time.  I was blown away.  That was a gift enough.  Plus, some our new neighbors came and a few folks from Boone came because of the article in the paper- so, wow!  The night was already over the top.  Then when I thought we were going to start our worship set, my son Isaac led everyone in singing “Happy Birthday” and my daughter, Elisa came out with a carrot cake with 50 lit candles!  I was touched at the sweet gesture and blew out the candles, then my daughter said, “Mom, Look behind you.”  I spun around to see piles of my lifetime friends from Highland Christian Church come pouring through the door at which point I collapsed into a puddle of tears and the warmest of hugs from folks I dearly love.  It was powerfully moving, healing, encouraging, and just like a little bit of Heaven coming to that little Pub in Boone. Then we all gathered around and my son, Isaac and the Mountainside Band led us in worship- and we all sang our hearts out, celebrating this Good God who will never let us down.  The room was filled with the folks who helped us launch Highland and 12 years later, the ones who are helping us launch Mountainside.  It was Holy- no really, no other word explains it better.  When God’s people gather together to love Him and to love each other- the world just changes. So folks, let me tell you this.  I would’ve never imagined in a million years that I would’ve been the first recipient of Mountainside’s ability to surprise!  But let me tell you what, she does it well.  Loving your neighbor is a force that moves mountains.  It moved mountains in me.  I cannot wait to be a part of the next time this little Church reaches hard into someone’s heart with the power and surprise of Neighboring. I will never be the same, love is quite overwhelming in its power.

 Surprise: 50 candles for Sherri!

Surprise: 50 candles for Sherri!