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!

Mountainside Community Church--Invitation to Friendship

 A new message series this September, looking at the one area that we don't tend to focus on like we do marriage, work, family, health, facebook posts . . . friendships need attention!

A new message series this September, looking at the one area that we don't tend to focus on like we do marriage, work, family, health, facebook posts . . . friendships need attention!

  Since I began ministry in local churches and church planting, the one continual ache over time that people's hearts have expressed is the ache for friendship.  A person can survive without friendship, but it just isn't good for us.  In the creation account, as God looked over all He made at the end of each day, He would say, "It is good."  You know what the first "not good" is in that account?  When God saw that Adam was alone, He said it was "not good" (Gen. 2:18).  There is much more to the Biblical story that points to the reality that we were made for companionship.  God has an ultimate answer to fulfill that need (more on that in the message series), but even the Son of God leaned upon friends when He walked this earth.  To say we only need God may be technically true, but it is not reflected in how God made us.  

  The points of concern about friendship that people often expressed to me, is that they realized, once they were out of school, making new friends is not always "just add water"-instant-friend-easy.  Friendships add great things to our lives, but they will also cost us some things.  Maybe we've forgotten some of the elements that help make a good friendship and it's time to look before the age of Facebook friends to remember those basic elements of friendship.  I know I've been reflecting on this, as I've been attending a men's group on Thursday mornings, thinking about what has attracted me to this group and the new friendships developing.  I've been challenged in the area of lifetime friends with ministry moving me to three different parts of the country.  How have I failed some of those relationships?  What will I do to maintain those friendships that I don't want to lose? 

  At Mountainside, we are extending a hand of friendship to those around us.  One of the easiest ways for us to do that is through meals--picnics, small groups in homes, cookouts with our neighbors.  If you invite a co-worker to lunch, it's a nice thing--but when you invite a co-worker over to your house for a meal that's a whole different level isn't it?  It's an invitation to friendship. An FBI supervisor was making a hire, and he was checking a reference--a supposed friend.  The FBI supervisor's test for knowing if the 'friend' really knew the applicant and could be a legit friend was by asking if the friend had been at the applicant's house, or vice versa.  How would you do on that test?  How many of your friends have been at your house?  

 A picnic on the lawn this past Sunday at the Massey's house.  Everybody was invited--even these goofy guys! 

A picnic on the lawn this past Sunday at the Massey's house.  Everybody was invited--even these goofy guys! 

   Every week, there are two homes opened up for two small groups from Mountainside.  There is a meal everyone pitches in for, and time to catch up on the highs and lows of the week (and open the Word, and pray for each other). This past week (July 26th) both groups met in the park and invited the city to join us for a movie in the park--and sixty some people did, and watched "The Empire Strikes Back" with us.  After serving the town this past Sunday (every 5th Sunday serving is our worship), the Massey family invited everyone out to their house for lunch.  One young lady, who has only been to Mountainside on a Sunday once before, joined us.  These have been the times and places that we've been cultivating friendship and extending friendship.  My hope is that we can do that in Jesus' name--and that each person can have friendship with Christ!

I hope for others to join us.  I just don't think anyone has to walk this life alone.  Join us in building community to reach a community centered in Christ!

                                                                                 --Shannon McCready

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….