By Allen Allnoch
Dr. Grant Scarborough laughs as he tells the story of how MercyMed of Columbus acquired its name.
Scarborough founded MercyMed in 2011 after spending four years in Augusta, where he had co-founded a similar health care center “for people in all walks of life.” That facility was called Christ Community Health Services of Augusta. Thinking along those same lines when he moved back to Columbus, his hometown, he discovered another local institution already bore the name “Christ Community.”
He didn’t want to create confusion, so he decided on MercyMed for the new practice.
“So it’s pretty much your fault we have that name,” Scarborough joked as he spoke to a group visiting from Christ Community Church last Monday.
Branding issues aside, there’s only one name that really matters at MercyMed: Jesus. The entire practice is built on Him, with a mission “to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and to demonstrate His love by providing affordable, quality primary healthcare for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the underserved in Columbus, Georgia and the surrounding area.”
MercyMed seeks to treat not only physical ailments, but to care for its patients’ mental and spiritual wellbeing as well. It offers prayer and counseling services, and it has an expanding menu of specialty services that currently include dental, GYN, vision, cardio, dermatology and ultrasounds. Patients without insurance are charged on a sliding scale for as little as $30 a visit.
Scarborough holds degrees from the University of Georgia and the Mercer University School of Medicine. He completed residencies in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Tennessee-Memphis. But for all his knowledge and skill, he’s most concerned with helping people connect with God.
Faith in Jesus is not a requirement to see a MercyMed doctor or nurse. But patients will see, hear and feel the touch of the Gospel when they enter the former bank building on Second Avenue. (A second Columbus location opened on Steam Mill Road in 2014.) Scripture adorns the walls, and staff will discuss matters of faith when opportunities arise.
“I’m not the Great Physician,” Scarborough says. “I’m an OK physician. But I know the Great Physician, and that’s who we want to point people to.”
Scarborough and Billy Holbrook, MercyMed’s director of development, hosted the CCC group for lunch and a facility tour. The latter included a look at one of the newest initiatives, a community garden. MercyMed staff are growing fruits and vegetables with the goal of helping neighborhood residents improve their diet and, ultimately, their health.
The pair also shared prayer needs and volunteer opportunities. All of the following bullet points are prayer needs, and some are tangible ways CCC members and attenders can plug in. If you have an interest in giving time to Mercy Med, or have ideas or resources that would help staff fulfill their vision, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on all aspects of Mercy Med, visit mercymedcolumbus.com.
Prayer, Material and Volunteer Needs
Harris III was our guest speaker on Sunday, January 28. Named “one of America’s most influential young people” by Catalyst Conference, Harris engaged and wowed the congregation with some creative sleight-of-hand tricks, then spoke from 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 on the notion of truth, deception and walking by faith.
Truths from 2 Corinthians 4 and 5
We are a people of faith. At least that’s what we claim. We all know faith lies at the heart of Christianity. And yet, if we are utterly honest, we would rather talk about faith – or better yet, listen to someone else talk about it – than live it.
Think about the two most succinct definitions of faith we have in the Bible:
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1).
"We live by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7).
In short, a life of faith requires that we choose to embrace the unknown. The challenge is that every cell of our flesh clings to the known: that which is familiar, predictable, manageable.
Let’s be clear. Living by faith is not easy for anyone. Those who do have chosen to make a conscious and continuous decision to ignore the cries of the flesh and embrace the life of the Spirit – which, by the way, Jesus likened to the wind (unseen, unpredictable – are we getting the message yet?).
It is helpful that the writer of Hebrews doesn’t over-spiritualize or leave the matter of faith in the realm of the hypothetical. Rather, he turns to examples of real-life men and women who were called of God to leave the known and boldly enter the unknown (see Hebrews 11).
We are reminded of Noah’s willingness to become the laughingstock of the known world when he built a land-yacht with no cloud in sight.
We have Abraham, who was willing to leave everything – family, friends, home – to travel with the sole promise, “I’ll let you know when we get there.”
And then there is Rahab, who chose to put her life in the hands of two total strangers rather than the fortified city she called home.
Equally celebrated are the nameless legions of men and women who chose faithfulness to an unseen God over the safety and security of this world.
So what’s their secret? Perhaps, Erwin McManus has answered that question as succinctly and beautifully as anyone I know in his allegorical poem, The Perils of Ayden. This particular entry comes from young Ayden, who confesses his fear to his older and more experienced mentor, Maven, as he was about to begin his great quest:
“I’m afraid,” he confessed as Maven stood with him in the place where his quest would begin.
“Of what?” Maven asked in his calming voice.
“For this journey. Have I learned all I need to know,” Ayden queried.
“Ayden,” he replied, “you know all you need to learn.”
“What should I take with me?” Ayden continued.
“Leave all you have and take all you are.”
Ayden persisted, “And the path, is it safe to travel?”
Maven looked at him sternly for the first time he could remember and scolded him, “It is not safe to remain! It is not the place but the Presence that upholds you! This is your only certainty. Go! Walk where no man has walked, yet you find footprints.”
You see, faith does not demand that we live or act in total blindness. In fact, faith requires an object. It is the certainty of what we do know that gives us the courage to face what we do not know. For us Christians, that “object” is not a safe place, or an adequate supply, or an abundance of knowledge, but the person of Jesus Christ.
His Presence will uphold you! This is your only certainty.
The CCC Blog is a collection of writings and images from staff members and guest contributors, all pointing to the extraordinary life made possible by a relationship with Jesus.