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Pastor Andrew Hopper

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson
The Truth Network Radio
September 16, 2022 7:00 pm

Pastor Andrew Hopper

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson

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September 16, 2022 7:00 pm

Stu interviews Pastor Andrew Hopper from Mercy Hill Church. Hear  Pastor Andrew's expert advice on planting churches.

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This is Sam from the Masking Journey Podcast, and our goal with the podcast has helped you to try to find your way in this difficult world. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just seconds.

Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network. What you will hear for sure, if you're anywhere near me, is the preaching the music and God working at a church called Mercy Hill. And I'm with a senior pastor. You guys are celebrating 10 years. Pastor Andrew Hopper, what's going on here at Mercy Hill? What is all the commotion, man?

And this isn't your only location. We planted the church 10 years ago, 10 year anniversary coming up, but it's been crazy, man. It's been wild.

Five campuses and a bunch of church plants and all that. All glory to God, only things that he could do, but we're kind of living, we're getting a chance to live it, man. We're getting a chance to see, as David said, him do what he can do, and we're getting to see it in the land of the living. Tell us about your journey to Christ, Andrew. You know, before this church, before all the stuff that's happened in your life, you know, you got four kids, wife, just God's, you know, working in your marriage and using you in a mighty way with this ministry.

Who is Andrew Hopper? Tell us, take us into your life, kind of where you grew up and how you came to the Lord. I grew up in a smaller context. Then it's really exploded now outside of Jacksonville, Florida called Middleburg, Florida, and I was raised in a small Southern Baptist Church, Fleming Island Baptist Church, and man was taught there to love the Bible, to love the nations.

I was shaped there, man. I got saved there when I was six years old under the leadership and guidance of my father and mother. I got saved in a Winn-Dixie parking lot after a church league softball game by my dad.

Listen, it don't get no more Southern Baptist than that, okay? My journey from there, Stu, has been bumps along the way and all that kind of stuff, but I do feel like I've never had an experience where I didn't feel like the Spirit was with me all the way since then. Man, my life really changed when I landed at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham under the leadership and guidance of a great mentor, friend, older brother in the faith, J.D. Greer, who I know you guys know, got a chance to jump in with him for five years and got the bug to Planet Church, and boom, we moved over here in 2012.

Which, on all accounts, could have been uncomfortable, and J.D. wrote a book called Gaining by Losing. But that book really encouraged me and challenged me because he's like, hey, we've got these amazing leaders and we're getting rid of them.

And I'm like, wait a second, who fires their top guys? But that radical thinking, which is what the king did, Jesus did himself, that has led to who knows how much impact in your own life, in the church, the DNA, and the impact you guys have had. Yeah, for sure. I mean, one of the stated goals we have over the next ten years is that we want to see more worshipers in the family of churches we plant than in the flock that we gather here at Mercy Hill. And that comes directly out of that vision that I caught at the Summit, a thousand churches in a generation. We're jumping in to do that.

I've told J.D., I said, man, I feel like we want to try to take a hundred off the board. But, man, the generosity that we were shown there, for sure, I mean, that just really kind of ripples down. Yeah, hey, I want to go plant a church.

We're going to move an hour down the road. And he said, man, take a hundred leaders with you if you can. Now, we didn't take that many, but we want to have that same attitude now. So we've been involved with planting churches since the very beginning, primarily meaning giving money or, you know, mission trip or whatever, like a lot of churches are involved. But in 2018, really, we made that shift, Stu, to go from partnering to parenting. And so now the churches that we're planting, we're parenting. They're coming out of our church, leader raised up, team gathered, trained, sent.

And then, you know, not just OBGYN, but also, you know, pediatrician. Like, we want to be there as they continue to grow on their journey. Now we've got church in Tampa, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Waynesville, North Carolina, and Roanoke, Virginia, and we just now have announced our next one going to Norfolk, Virginia. Oh, wow.

That's tremendous. And here's what I am encouraged by that. And I really think that this will resonate with other pastors that listen. Because initially when you start talking about, I'm planting a church, people are like, wait a second, what are you thinking coming to Greensboro? There's tons of churches in Greensboro. Pastor Andrew Hopper, what are you thinking? How dare you, man?

You're going to steal all our people. But it's actually the opposite of that, isn't it? Talk about the impact and talk about the truly being the body and how you guys are loving on other bodies.

Yeah, for sure. I mean, we believe that church planting is one of those things where all the ships rise, you know. The idea being that in any denominational structure you look at, most of the evangelism and baptisms come out of early, younger churches. A lot of churches in their whole history will baptize more people in the first two years than they will in the next ten, you know, that kind of stuff. So, you know, Tim Keller would say it like this, our evangelism strategy is church planting. For us here in Greensboro, we don't want to be threatened when other churches come in. We're like, hey, man, we need more.

We need you to come in. And when we send church plants to other cities, we hope they're met with that same kind of attitude and spirit. There's things in scripture over and over again about, you know, David said, I think it was in Psalm 63, he says, When I remember thee upon the night watches, meditate on thee in the night watches, having a holy remembrance, you're looking back on ten years. Just what's in your heart? Share what's in your heart about just to the Lord, to your people. You're going to get up and preach on Sunday. I'm not sure if this will air before, hopefully, but your ten-year celebration preaching through, you know, First Timothy. What's in your heart, Pastor Andrew, as you look back on the great things God has done in here in ten years? Man, I mean, what's just in my heart, the fire that's in me is one of the scariest verses in all the Bibles in Hosea 13, where God talks about his people, where he brought them out of Egypt and they became fat in the pasture.

And then it says, And they forgot about me. One of the things that's in my heart right now, man, is thinking about ten years, you know, our church is at a crossroads. Are we going to continue to be a scrappy church plant? Are we going to turn, you know, I look at what 30 people in a launch team did.

Now I'm like, what do 3,000 do? If everybody buys in, you know, if everybody comes all the way in. Or you go the way of the modern American kind of thing and we begin to coast on comfort. And, you know, we stop kind of reaching and being scrappy like that.

That's scary to me a little bit. So one of the things I'm calling our church to, and I'm calling it, I'm really, you know, asking the Lord to break my heart in this, too, is just thinking about he has blessed us like crazy in our personal lives, in our, you know, man, our church lives. I mean, we can count his blessings one by one. Does that give us fuel and motivation to get after it harder in the next season?

Or is it actually something that makes us want to pull back and rest and just be comfortable with where things are? So that's, man, that's where we're at and that's the message I'm bringing to our church right now. I love it. Will you throw some of that passion and energy in a gracious way at a bunch of folks listening who aren't plugged into church? Or they're always complaining about their church. Or they're still in their jammers, right, with their coffee watching their church.

They haven't gone back. What is so important about the ecclesia? What would you challenge someone about getting plugged in, you know, wake up, get off the bench and end the game? Yeah, I mean, at Mercy Hill we say it like this, Jesus didn't die to create spectators. You know, he died to create servants.

He didn't call us to be ones that are on the sideline, but he's called us to the frontline. And so one of the things that we talk about really from Romans 12 is just that if you are part of the body, you are a body part. You should be able to identify what part of the body you are and sitting at home kind of watching from afar, taking it in. My Christianity is me and a cup of coffee and good Christian music and a sermon on the radio. You might be absorbing some good teaching and hearing some good things, but in terms of plugging in and functioning as a part of the body, that's not happening. And so, yeah, I would call everyone.

Man, there's no substitute for it. And I think a lot of us kind of got rocked. If your ecclesiology wasn't real tight before COVID, you started asking a lot of questions of, can you be the church at home? Can you be the church forever on the Internet?

And I'm not saying anything about anybody. I know for our church, we coming through that season, we realized, man, no, no, no. We step directly into two thousand years of church history where even under pain of death, we must gather and we must be together and plug in because we can't use our spiritual giftings any other way. We're not going to condemn someone who's at Panera and says, well, there's three believers in here. We just prayed. We're having church.

And we make that expression. Or even on an elevator or wherever, an airport, we randomly meet other believers. And it's amazing how we are one body, church universal. But there is a call for believers in the Bible to be a part of a body, a healthy body, to contribute their gifts where there is actual leadership.

It's not just two or three gathered together in Matthew 18, which is talking about church discipline. So speak to that importance real quick. I mean, not not in any kind of competitive way, but a good analogy that we use in our first in our new members kind of class here is like, man, you've never met a baseball player that's not on a team. If somebody said, hey, I'm a baseball player. And you say, oh, you're a baseball player. Well, what team are you on?

Well, I don't have a team. Well, how does that? That doesn't make sense, right?

Like, what is that even? And so for us, yes, there is a universal nature to the body of Christ that I value greatly. And I think even there are even some baptistic type circles that I think can go so far that they stop valuing that into the local. But just because you understand and see that we are one body globally, man, that expresses itself in local expressions all over the world.

And then the movement is doing nothing but growing and it can't stop, won't stop all the way to the ends of the earth. So, yeah, we have to be in a local church. It's exciting to announce you mentioned radio earlier. And that's what we're a part of, you know, Truth Network and all kinds of radio stations carry and affiliates carry this program.

We're so grateful to all of them. AFR, many networks carry Truth Talk. But we're honored to have your program starting.

And how important can that be maybe in touching folks? Because even a lot of unchurched folks will consume Christian radio. Yeah, for sure. I mean, we're we're launching a new program made for more.

We're really excited about it. I grew up driving around listening to the old time great preaching on the radio. My dad was a lay person.

He was a great leader in our church. But, man, he consumed much of the word just driving. And it's so funny because in the last 10 years, I think that radio is one of the things that all the gurus have just totally gotten wrong. I mean, you just in everyday life, radio is just as big as it was.

I mean, in my opinion. So for us, man, we're excited about it. We're hoping it reaches somebody on the outside. We're also hoping it creates something for our people to use as an evangelistic tool to tell somebody here in the triad and also just around the state of North Carolina, hey, catch a snippet of what our church has got going on at so-and-so time. Awesome.

So I believe it launches somewhere Monday morning at six forty five a.m. in the triad area, right? Your home base is God blesses. Maybe God will add it to other stations, other networks. Listening to my voice here in your voice could could pick up the program and and be encouraged.

Best Web site to learn more about made for war. The new radio program to learn more about Mercy Hill. All the stuff God's doing. Church plants.

What's the best place you send folks? Just go to Mercy Hill Church dot com. I mean, that's got all of our campuses, all the places that we have church plants around the US.

So it's got all the stuff on there. OK. Played college football and I know you still got some game. We got to get on the court soon, Pastor.

I'd love to do it, man. God bless you. Mercy Hill Church dot com. Learn more there. Be encouraged. Here's some great teaching and get plugged into a church.

Be a part of God's mission. This is the most exciting time. We have the capacity to span the globe. So we have we have it all technologically. So now is the time to wake up. Right, Pastor?

Yeah. I mean, we were just our you know, this fall time, our college students just got back and we meet over 30 percent of our eventual missionaries on the campus. And I was sitting there worshipping with them just this past couple of weeks. And I just I just prayed, God, let this be the generation that finishes the task because they can, you know, and that's what we need to be thinking about. Three of your High Point University students that come here, Wilson, Olivia and Watson, my awesome niece and two nephews. They love it. And they call me excited.

They just heard Pastor Andrew bring the heat Sunday. So thanks for all you do. Bless you, brother. Thank you, man. I appreciate it. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-24 20:44:33 / 2023-02-24 20:50:46 / 6

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