Melissa Min visited Mosaic for the first time in April of 2007. At the time, she and her partner were looking for a church that was friendly and welcoming for new Christians.
Now, more than a decade later, Melissa is the Director of Children and Families Ministry at Mosaic. “Before I ever started working here, I was fully invested at Mosaic,” she says. “I love my job because it’s not just my job. Mosaic is my community.”
Back in 2007 Melissa and her husband Kenny were engaged. Kenny had just become a Christian, and both of them were looking for a church that they could attend together.
“I knew I had to find a community that wasn’t heavily loaded with Christian language, and no guilt-inducing, shame-inducing agenda.”
As Melissa recalls, she literally googled “seeker friendly churches Philadelphia” and Mosaic came up. At the time it was called Vineyard Community Church.
“Right from the first Sunday, we loved it. We loved how diverse the attendees were. We loved the worship--it spoke to us. People were really welcoming. It felt really easy to connect to the church.
We loved that people weren't dressed up for church. We loved that people came up to us to welcome and greet us. We loved that there were folks who looked like us. It felt comfortable, like a home for us.”
Becoming a Leader
Right away, Melissa started working with the children’s ministry. “I was a full-time teacher. If you teach, ministry leaders immediately want to recruit you.”
Before long, Melissa was asked to take over leadership of the children’s ministry as a volunteer. She volunteered in that role for 6 years, and in 2015 a paid position was created to lead children’s ministry. “As a church, we were making a big push to properly resource our kids’ ministries.”
Melissa started at 10 hours a week, but quickly realized it was not enough time for what she had in mind. “I was spending too much time on administrative tasks. What I really wanted to do was cast a vision for the church community on why it’s important to invest in the faith lives of children.”
In 2018, Melissa’s role increased to half time and she was able to step more fully into leadership within the church. With her expanded role and hours, Melissa was able to try her hand at preaching for the first time, an experience that was rewarding, challenging, and well-received! You can listen to her two sermons, "Belonging" and "Courage" here.
Casting a Vision for Kids
There’s a moment in Mosaic’s history that Melissa often recalls. It happened in 2014, as Mosaic was rebranding and stepping away from their relationship with the Vineyard church network.
“When we voted on the name Mosaic, I remember Brad said, ‘We are tiny fragments, often broken, but when put together we create this beautiful artwork that reflects God’s kingdom. We’re not perfect, but we’re all beautiful reflections of God.’”
Melissa’s work with the kids’ team is all about celebrating this mosaic. “Kids are meaningful, vibrant members of the community,” she says. “Our community is richer and more beautiful because it’s reflective of diversity in all areas-race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, ability, and age.”
One project that grew out of this vision last year was the Race and Beauty project. “I really wanted to press into social justice matters through my work with kids,” Melissa recalls, “But there’s just not a lot of curriculum out there that brings together faith and social justice. Plus, I saw a deeper need for families of color at our church to connect with one another and be more fully integrated into the life of the church.”
She created the Race and Beauty project to help kids claim their beauty and worth in Christ, and recognize how many cultural messages they’re receiving about how race impacts beauty and worth.
This year, one of the focuses has been connecting kids and parents. “Our parents were saying ‘We need to know how to have more of these important conversations with our kids.’”
In response Melissa helped organize a parenting series on tough topics like sex and consent, managing big emotions, talking to kids about race, and managing screen time. “We brought that series specifically so parents could have better strategies and conversation starters to use with their kids.”
Over time, Melissa is seeing a change. “I see that families are engaging in more conversations about the injustices that they see in our world. Our church demographics have been changing too, reflecting the people who actually live in our neighborhood. Our church is working towards addressing injustices and making folks feel welcome, seen, loved, and cared for, especially those who have been left out of the church for far too long due to their identities.”
“I can’t take credit for that,” she says. “But it is exciting to see. Our church is becoming the beloved community that Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned.”
We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!