This Sunday, Edgefield is launching. Many are excited about this news because a campus has finally come to their community. The desire to have a church gathering close to where you “do life” is rooted in the ancient past. Most of us know that the first Christians met in homes, and as their attendance got bigger, they would spread out into more homes. But because there were no cars back then, the common people didn’t tend to go to0 far outside of their neighborhood. So, how did the church grow?
Sometimes an Insult Can Be a Compliment
Often, in piecing together ancient history, we find truth by studying the works of the critics of the time. If we sift out the hateful rhetoric, we can find a stone of truth within the sand-pile of insults. That is certainly the case when considering how Christianity spread in the years following the apostles (around AD 100). Check out the account of an anti-Christian intellectual named Celsus (writing around 175 AD) of how the Christian message was spread:
In some private homes we find people who work with wool and rags, and cobblers, that is, the least cultured and most ignorant kind. . . . [A]s soon as they can take the children aside or some women who are as ignorant as they are, they speak wonders. . . . If you really wish to know the truth, leave your teachers and father, and go with the women and children to the women’s quarters, or to the cobbler’s shop, or to the tannery, and there you will learn the perfect life. It is thus that these Christians find those who will believe them.
Celsus was speaking tongue-in-cheek. To him, Christianity couldn’t be true because it wasn’t the wise who were teaching Christianity and converting people, but rather ordinary folks who had normal jobs like cobbling and tanning. Mostly, common people were taking the gospel with them in their day-to-day lives. A customer would show up to a blacksmith and order a chain, and the blacksmith who was a Christian would say, “That reminds me. You know who broke the chains of sin and death? Jesus Christ. Want to hear about him?” (Ok, maybe not that exact scenario, but maybe.) Christianity has always grown through the witness of common people, and it will continue to grow that way.
If we are to then think about why Mercy Hill launches campuses, the answer can be very basic and tied right to this ancient practice. We want the Mercy Hill family to focus on taking the gospel to where they live, work, and go to school, so each campus will strive to focus on reaching its particular community. We are launching the Edgefield campus so that there will be a Mercy Hill family whose heart longs to witness to the gospel in both word and deed in the Northwest Guilford county community. So, whether you are going or sending, we want to pray for Edgefield that it would be a place where witnesses to Jesus Christ are raised up, equipped, and sent out to their community for the glory of God. And if you are going, go with all of the strength that God provides.
The Edgefield campus is located at 3530 Edgefield Rd. Greensboro, NC 27409. If you call Northwest Guilford your home, we’d also invite you to make Edgefield your home Mercy Hill campus. There will be two Sunday services at 9:30 and 11. Come see us!
-Alex Nolette (Equip Coordinator/Community Groups Team)
 Quoted by Justo L. Gonzalez in The Story of Christianity vol. 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation (p. 60).