And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
We do this two ways:
We have a community of congregations in Middle Tennessee, including our original assembly Mercy Collective.
We provide training, materials, support, and accountability to Mercy Gate Fellowships worldwide.
What might make us different?
We practice and teach the commandments of God.
Whether given at Mt. Ararat, Mt. Sinai, during the Sermon on the Mount, or at any other time, we believe God's commands should be honored.
We honor God's schedule.
The Bible outlines weekly, monthly, and annual festivals for God's people to celebrate. As such, we keep the Sabbath weekly, and celebrate the other Biblical Holy Days throughout the year, such as Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles.
We foster Hebraic culture.
The legacy of our faith started with Abraham and extends into eternity. As such, we may use some Biblical expressions in our worship, including using the Hebrew names for Jesus, the Father, holy days, and other things.
We reject both prejudice and supremacy.
All men, women, and children are made in the image of God, called to serve in His kingdom, and have equal access to becoming part of the household of God, what Scripture calls "the assembly" and "the commonwealth of Israel."
We give God our appetites.
We strive to surrender our desires and behaviors to the will of God. This means that what we surrender what we seek, participate in, and consume to the Law of God — yes, literally and abstractly.
We love what God loves.
Children, mercy, cheerful givers, Jerusalem, unity... The Bible tells us God loves many things, and we choose to align our hearts with His.
The foundation of what we believe:
At Mercy, our faith is firmly planted on Scripture, from Genesis through Revelation. We have summed up the foundation of our beliefs and core theological positions what we call The Messianic Creed:
The Messianic Creed
- Yeshua of Nazareth is Yahweh's only begotten son.
- The Bible teaches how to live the best possible life.
- Yahweh and Yeshua's commandments are immune from human alteration.
- Sin is the violation of Yahweh and Yeshua's commands.
- Everyone has sinned.
- Yeshua's death burial and resurrection removed the guilt of sin.
- Eternal life is a gift that comes through Yeshua and is received by faith.
- The promises of God are everlasting and equally available to all people.
- Yeshua will return to Jerusalem to reign as the Prince of Peace.
This core is supported by the totality of Scripture, including the following truths:
We believe in the Scriptures, both the Old Testament and New Testament in their original, inspired text. They are the inspired and inerrant Word of God Almighty. They alone are the divine and final authority in determining all doctrinal truths (2 Timothy 3:16).
We believe in the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth, Elohim, which is often translated as "God" in English. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are united in Elohim (Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 11:1-2, Luke 4:18-21).
We believe in Yahweh as the utmost identification of Elohim (God) (Deuteronomy 6:4, Deuteronomy 10:17, Nehemiah 1:5). In scripture, Yahweh is often likened to a Father and is traditionally referred to as God the Father (Matthew 6:9).
We believe that Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth is the Messiah, Elohim made manifest in the flesh (Isaiah 9:6, John 1, John 8:58, John 14:8-11, John 20:28, 1 Timothy 3:16). As Elohim, Yeshua was preexistent and Creator (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, 1 Corinthians 8:6). He was born of a virgin (Luke 1:34) and lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21). He died for us as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10), was resurrected from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:4), and has ascended to the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19). Yeshua will return to earth physically as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to reign over the earth (Zechariah 14, Acts 1:9-11, Revelation 19:11-16).
We believe that the Holy Spirit of God dwells in believers to lead, guide, teach, comfort, and empower us to live a righteous life (John. 14:26, 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Corinthians 14:26). We believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17, Acts 19:1-7). We pursue the fruit and gifts of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11).
We believe those who profess the Lordship of Yeshua and believe His testimony will be granted eternal life (John 3:36, John 10:28, 1 John 5:11, Acts 16:31, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9). We believe in the resurrection; those redeemed by Yeshua will live again and for all eternity in the presence of Elohim (Hebrews 6:2, 1 Corinthians 15:42, Titus 1:2, Revelation 20:6).
We believe that all have sinned and need divine salvation, which is provided only through Yeshua and by the grace of Yahweh (Psalm 14:1-3, Romans 3-23). Sin is defined by Scripture as any act or intent that goes against the perfect will and law of God (1 John 3:4).
The Law of God
We believe the Torah (Law) of Yahweh is the instruction of a loving and gracious Father to His children. It is the perfect law that gives us liberty (Psalm 119:44-45, James 2:25-26). The commandments of Yahweh will not go away until heaven and earth disappear (Matthew 5:17-20). We delight in the instruction of Yahweh (Psalm 1:2). The Torah was not given for salvation. Rather, it is the loving instruction of how a redeemed people should live. Yeshua kept His Father's commandments and lived in the Father's love. We are instructed to walk as Yeshua walked (1 John 2:3-6). We are to obey Yahweh's commandments and to hold to the testimony of Yeshua (Revelation 12:17).
Serving Worldwide from Nashville, Tennessee
Our community began in a small home group in 1994. Over the years, this group grew and encompassed several home fellowships. In 2013, we felt the call to step up to better serve Nashville. This growth resulted in the congregation that we have today, a spiritual community called Mercy Collective. Fueled by our desire to teach Biblical truth and meet the needs of those who have committed to walking with us, we continue to grow in the strength of our unity and His love.
Today, we are a body of dedicated Believers who seek to serve His Kingdom and one another. We embrace His Torah and our Messiah, the Living Word. Through faith and by His Spirit we seek to establish His word as the standard for living within our congregation. All who share our desire for truth, relationship, accountability, and the love of Messiah are welcome.
Our desire is to develop true disciples of our Master, Yeshua. We realize that this is a process that takes time and commitment from all involved. Our faith is to be alive in real, tangible, every day action. The mission of Mercy is to encourage believers to lead Biblical lives, embracing the Hebraic roots of their faith. We have been blessed to see the Father use Mercy to change lives in Middle Tennessee and throughout the world.
John & Melissa Diffenderfer
John and Melissa Diffenderfer started the Nashville Sabbath gathering that would ultimately become Mercy Collective. Their areas of focus are centered on teaching and the day-to-day management of the ministry. As lifelong, second-generation Messianic believers, they bring a unique understanding of the intersection between Hebraic culture and modern life. John is the author of The Marriage Commandments, and they share a number of vocations, including raising their three children, pastoring and teaching, and leading a number of businesses.
Patrick & Tabatha Stopperich
Patrick and Tabatha Stopperich, along with their beautiful children, are longtime residents of Middle Tennessee. Patrick and Tabatha bring a wonderful, first-generation perspective to Mercy; they found salvation in Christ early in their adult lives and have been Torah-pursuant for many years. They support Mercy Collective with a focus on building community, fostering discipleship, and meeting the needs of the Mercy family. In addition to serving at our home congregation in Franklin, Tennessee, their ministry includes leadership over our Torah Teens ministry and Mercy Gate Fellowship in Mount Juliet, Tennessee.
Ron & Tracey Colling
Nate & Ginger Kett
Mark & Sarah Oswalt
Mike & Jane Weisman
Norman & Marleen Edwards
The couples listed above are spiritual elders in our community and have been appointed to lead in various ministries at Mercy Collective. They serve by facilitating the worship, discipleship, events, and other functions of Mercy Collective.