Church Highlight: Mercy Hill
Your name: Anthony Cox Your spouse and children’s names: Karla Cox, Caleb, Matthew, and Joshua
Name of your church: Mercy Hill Church
Location of church: 745 W. Fillmore St, Phoenix, AZ 85007
Date church was planted (if your church is a plant): July, 2015
Name of partnering church(es): Open Door Church, Cornerstone Church, Hillside Baptist Church, Foothills Baptist Church
What are the reasons you decided to plant a church in your city (if your church is a plant)?
My burden has been for Church revitalization/planting and serving among the marginal in urban contexts for many years. In 2014 we committed and were commissioned to moving to downtown Phoenix, AZ to serve among the most vulnerable and marginalized and to partner with an existing church with a rich heritage of gospel presence in the city. Today, we are a new church plant with 74 years of history. We inherited a full city block that we are committing to Christian Community Development work for the glory of God and the good of our neighbors. We serve among the most oppressed in a diverse and dense urban context. There are over 9,000 college/university students among downtown campuses. The west prides itself with having a spirit of individualism and anit-institutionalism. For most, they would rather not be pinned down to any particular belief system or faith tradition, yet consider themselves spiritual in their own right. Although most bask in the light of their individualism, they find themselves lonely, and desire a sense of belonging within a community.
What have you seen the Lord do in and through your church/church plant?
God has been shaping our lives, forming Christ within us (Gal. 4:19). Our Church has been slowly impacting our community with kingdom presence. We are a family of believers in Jesus Christ who unite in Gospel, community, and mission. Our commitment has been to demonstrate God’s love to those that society has too often overlooked and marginalized through our historic mercy ministry’s provision of food, affordable housing, job training, biblical counseling, education, and community gatherings. The watching world has taken notice and we give God the glory.
What do you hope to see the Lord do in and through your church in the future?
Neighborhoods that were considered “distressed inner cities” are changing, largely due to reinvestment, across the nation. Devastatingly, the church did not find urban ministry, but urban ministry found the church. With the Church seeking to reinvest herself in the urban core, we have a sacred responsibility for caring for the cultural disregarded and bring good news to the broken-that the Kingdom of the Heavens is accessible through Jesus Christ! MHC distinguishes the poor will always be with us, and embrace our God-given opportunity to live out the Gospel of Good News in the heart of Phoenix. Recognizing our strategic location and need for continued pervasive kingdom presence in the city, our desire is to love our neighbors well, and with humility and boldness, proclaim the Good News and seek the shalom of our neighborhood. May MHC be like yeast, that over time our city would be pervaded by it.
What advice do you have for current or future church planters?
- Relocation- Live in the neighborhood you are seeking to serve. Be present.
- Redistribution- Seek ways to leverage resources to serve the marginalized- human, financial, relational, etc. Hold on to your plans and strategies loosely.
- Reconciliation- Walk with humility and model the ministry of reconciliation. God is in the business of reconciling the world to himself, recreating, renewing the brokenness that exists within every human heart.
What else would you like to share with the readers of our blog?
God’s activity is all around! Will you come and see what God is doing in Phoenix? Will you engage with us in this kingdom work? I would love to talk about this being a reality for you and your church. 919.608.6679
What are your 3-4 main prayer requests?
- Our team is going through Asset Based Community Development training. Please pray as we map out our community over the next 6 months that We would discover what God is doing in our city in a greater way, love and honor as we engage every sphere and sector, establish relationships with our neighbors, listen to real stories, discover the beauty of our community, and uncover real needs among the vulnerable.
- Pray for continued unity, strength, and love toward each other. Pray for unity among diversity as we continue to forge relationships with the Spanish Church that shares space on the MHC property. Our desire is to become one family.
- Pray for fruit as we boldly proclaim the gospel in both word and deed.
- Establishing Mercy Ministries’ areas of impact that foster trust, inclusivity, innovation, excellence, and sustainability within the Oakland/University Park community.