Frank Mercer “Fired Up” about 4Heroes Chaplaincy


A near tragedy providing an up-close encounter with firefighters gradually evolved into a different direction for pastor Frank Mercer’s ministry. The Fayetteville, Georgia, pastor served Rolling Hills Baptist Church at the time.

Several years ago, in the middle of the night, the home’s fire alarm roused the Mercer family, who found their back porch engulfed in flames. If they had stayed in their home a few more minutes, they would have perished, Mercer was informed. Mercer instantly gained deeper admiration for these often-unsung heroes. 

If they had stayed in their home a few more minutes, they would have perished.

“That burning deck became my burning bush because God spoke out of that experience,” Mercer shared. “I had a compelling urge to show appreciation to the fire department and the 911 center. They were there for me, and I wanted to be there for them.”

One thing led to another, and Mercer began, serving the church while building his ministry to public safety personnel. 

Mercer already led the Southern Baptist congregation to take a creative approach to ministry. In 2010, Mercer guided the church to sell their property and become “a church without walls.” They worshipped in local movie theaters and redirected their focus to go where people are rather than expecting people to come to them.

“More than 50 percent of our budget went into a building we were using less than 10 percent of the week and that didn’t make sense. We could invest in ministry and people or maintenance and mortgages.”

The church family served Jesus by serving others across the street and across the world, initiating and supporting various mission endeavors. 

The growing fire chaplaincy was a natural local ministry. Mercer served both entities as long as he could, and on Easter Sunday, 2022, Rolling Hills “graduated,” commissioning members to take their “infectious mentality of serving Jesus” into other churches. Mercer went full-time as lead chaplain for 4Heroes, his renamed non-profit, serving the fire department, local law enforcement, EMS, and 911 employees. He recently added the county Marshal office.

Mercer’s week includes prayer time at the fire department headquarters, sitting in department meetings, travelling to neighboring Tyrone for a Bible study with their police department, then lunch with the fire command staff before visiting the nine county fire stations, doing ride-a longs with police officers, or visiting the night shift at the 911 center. And, of course, responding to calls.

Recently, a horrific wreck occurred south of Fayetteville when a driver ran a stop sign, entered oncoming traffic on a major highway, and was smashed by a large truck. The driver was killed.

As these heroes are taking care of us, they are exposed to all sorts of trauma. They see things they can’t unsee.

When Mercer arrived, the entire road was blocked with emergency vehicles and law enforcement. He asked the battalion chief where he was needed, and the chief told him to return to Fire Station 10 to meet the paramedic and EMT driver charged with accessing the driver who died. This was not the paramedic’s first wreck, but this one was particularly troubling. The paramedic looked his chaplain in the eye and asked, “Why?”

What the man meant was, “Why does this happen? Why is a wife left without her husband? Why are children orphaned?”

Mercer listened, and then gently moved the question from “Why?” to “Who?”

Who can help me when my heart is torn? Who can help me live when I’m surrounded by sickness and death day after day? Who can bring peace to this situation? And he points them to Jesus.

“As these heroes are taking care of us, they are exposed to all sorts of trauma. They see things they can’t unsee. They feel things they can’t un-feel. I try to be there for them and bring them and their families spiritual and emotional support.”

Fire department Chief Jeff Hill fully embraces this ministry. “We’ve had chaplains in the past that showed up to say the blessing over Thanksgiving dinner and then we don’t see them. Every day, every week, Frank shows up and is highly involved in our people’s lives and in their family’s life. He’s an invaluable asset for me personally and for our department.”

What is the most satisfying part of his ministry? “Walking into a station when a responder is struggling and you encourage them and help them connect with the help they need, and then weeks pass, and you see them again and they are back on track . . . that’s rewarding.”

Even heroes need a helping hand, and Frank Mercer is there to extend his.

(David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Visit to see more of Chancey’s writings. Visit for information on this ministry). 

Dr. David L. Chancey
Dr. David L. Chancey
Dr. David L. Chancey is the pastor of McDonough Road Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Georgia. Pastor David grew up in Southwest Atlanta in his early years, then moved to Milledgeville, Georgia, when his father took a job transfer. He graduated from Baldwin County High School, attended Georgia College, graduated from Georgia Southern University with a BS in Journalism, graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity, and then from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Doctor of Ministry. As God's call upon his life evolved, he served in denominational communications, then as a BSU director, and finally in the pastorate, where he served Carmel Baptist Church, Carmel, Indiana; Cool Springs Baptist Church, Tate, Georgia; and currently McDonough Road Baptist Church (MRBC) since 1999. He describes the best thing to ever happen to him outside of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior is marrying Amy, an RN and neonatal intensive care unit nurse. He and Amy have four children (Rebecca, Rachel, Ruth and Jonathan), and, though he says he's not old enough to be a grandfather, six grandchildren. David loves to preach, but also loves pastoring. He enjoys "just hanging out" with his flock, especially if it involves eating. He is thrilled when he sees members "growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," and when people come to Christ. His desire is to lead MRBC to impact as many people as possible with the life-changing power of the Gospel. This desire to impact lives with the Gospel has led him to take an annual mission trip to Santa Catarina, Brazil, in recent years, where he has seen over 2100 persons come to Christ and new churches planted and strengthened. He is also leading MRBC to strive to new levels in missions going, giving, and praying. David enjoys spending time with family as often as possible, getting away with Amy, following the Atlanta Braves and University of Georgia Bulldogs, and writing a regular column for The Citizen, one of our local papers. He also enjoys running. Please visit him on the web or social media at the above links.

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