Until joining Mosaic, Corby served as associate pastor at Rock Creek Fellowship on Lookout Mountain, GA. Corby and his wife, Rachel, have been interested in Mosaic since the beginning of the plant. When the presbytery and MNA committee were praying about planting a church in Highland Park, Chattanooga, Ted Strawbridge pitched church planting to the Shields.
Rachel said, “I remember feeling like urban residential church planting would be fun. We’ve lived in urban settings and neighborhoods before that are similar to Highland Park, and we loved the diversity that came with that. I remember my heart being stirred but not feeling like it was time. Not long before the changes at Mosaic, I told Corby I was willing to look at and think about opening the door to something beyond our role at Rock Creek.”
Not only were the Shields drawn to Mosaic, but others who know Corby also thought of him as a fit for the church plant. He recalled, “As soon as changes started happening at Mosaic, four or five people called me in the first week, including Luke Banner and one of the church’s ruling elders. Then, Rock Creek’s session loaned me to Mosaic for a four-week stint in February.”
Rachel said, “In that season, we didn’t feel the pull go away.” However, another church approached the couple about an assistant pastor position. Rachel and Corby explained that this was the only other church they would have considered because it was a very special church to them.
They asked friends to join them in fasting and prayer as they considered both options, specifically praying through Psalm 25. While not easy or simple, the Lord made it clear that Mosaic was their next call.
With all sides in agreement, Corby officially became Mosaic’s pastor on June 1. The community at Rock Creek is sad to say goodbye to the Shields, but Corby says, “Many at Rock Creek have said the same things: ‘We’re really happy for you, we’ll miss you a lot, and this makes perfect sense.’”
Of the community at Mosaic, Corby says, “The people who are there are very committed. I’ve experienced them to be really warm. They want to be part of this, and they have a sense of calling. That has given me the strength and excitement for this new adventure.”
The Shields are intentionally focusing on a season of listening and getting to know the unique context and community of Mosaic Fellowship. According to Corby, “We want to spend these next months praying together and listening to the Lord’s vision. We’re not going to talk ourselves into our vision; we’re going to pray ourselves into it. Part of the listening is learning what it means to walk at the pace of this existing community.”
Rachel added, “I have a desire to hear about why people love being a part of Mosaic. There’s so much good that continues to happen through this church.”
One way the church is pursuing open, honest, intentional conversation is through “family time” at the beginning of each service. Corby explained, “This is a good time to talk openly about being the church in this unique season. We focus on prayer, and we’re open about budget choices, leadership structure, and other facets of being a church.”
Corby described the start of his time at Mosaic as “the fun version of overwhelmed. Of all the very important things, what needs to be done this week and this day? It’s enlivening to be in a church at this phase; there’s so much room for creativity.”
Rachel said that joining the church plant has her thinking more about why we plant churches. She and Corby say, “A smaller, intimate, geographically focused work is important for this neighborhood. We hope that people will encounter this community who might not seek out a more established church.”
Currently living in their home on Lookout Mountain, the Shields are looking for a house in Highland Park. They feel that proximity to the church and the Highland Park neighborhood is important. This search and season of uncertainty poses one challenge for Corby, Rachel, and their kids. It’s a current prayer request for them.
In Rachel’s words, “It feels like we’re living in one world but worshiping and serving in another. I don’t fully know the needs of Highland Park yet or what it’s like to live there.”
In addition to seeking the unchurched and dechurched in the area, the Shields are also praying for mature, missional families to join the church. They are thankful that a part-time administrator, Anna Baum, has joined the staff.