Crestview's Mosaic Church: seeker driven, disciple making
Aug 20, 2014
By BARBARA DENMAN
Florida Baptist Convention

SEEKING THE LOST Pastor James Ross planted Mosaic Church to reach out to seekers in Crestview, a prominent military town. Mosaic Church photo
CRESTVIEW (FLBaptist)—Working bivocationally at the local Starbucks in Crestview as he planted a new church, James Ross often invited co-worker Marisela Davis to Mosaic Church. 

After four years of making unfulfilled promises, she came to Mosaic out of the blue, heard Ross proclaim the Gospel and left as a new creation in Christ. 
 
“I’ve never been the same,” said the 25-year-old woman who thrives in her discipleship and mentoring.      
 
When their son was born prematurely, the Air Force quickly transferred Dionna and Alex Cole from Okinawa to Eglin Air Force Base for urgent medical care in a neonatal intensive care unit. 
 
They felt an emptiness in their new surroundings. She was craving fellowship; he was “close minded” to churches. But upon visiting Mosaic Church, “It was as if our hearts opened up,” Alex Cole explained. “We felt like God was calling us here.” 
 
Professing their faith, the couple was baptized, and watched as their lives and relationship changed, Alex Cole said. Together through prayer and Bible study, they are facing life’s seemingly insurmountable challenges with a newfound faith and the loving care of the family of God. 
God is transforming lives through Mosaic Church, located in downtown Crestview, with as many as 20 persons having accepted Christ as Savior in the past year. Since the church was planted in this military town in 2008, nearly a dozen persons have been baptized annually.
 
”Young military families are coming into contact with Mosaic by visiting on a Sunday or by having a relationship with someone who is a part of Mosaic,” said Ross. “Because of marriage problems, having kids or having some bad things happen in their life, they are open to God but they don’t want religion, they just want to know about God.”
 
Mosaic’s mission, Ross added, “is to lead people to follow Jesus, trust the Bible and be the church.  We are challenging people to really understand the Gospel. We are urging people to read the Bible together and strongly emphasizing the need to read the Bible if you really want to follow Jesus.”
 
“Then we are helping people to understand that they do not go to church, they are the church.”
 
RELEVANT WORSHIP Young families are drawn to the contemporary worship style at Mosaic Church. Mosaic Church photo
 He added, “It’s just amazing how God is taking people with great hesitancy towards God and the church and getting ahold of them and then using them to show people biblical truth and what it means to follow Jesus.” 
 
The Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin area, on the edge of Eglin Air Force Base, is the nation’s seventh-fastest growing region as new residents—both retirees and military families—are attracted to the inexpensive housing and low cost of living. 
 
As Mosaic grew, the congregation had difficulty finding affordable meeting space large enough to accommodate their growing needs. During the first four years, the church met in a local school building, then remodeled an unused building on the Central Baptist Church campus.
 
Almost immediately upon the move to the church, weekly attendance increased by more than 100 and more than 200 persons attended two worship services in the revamped facility, a vast majority young adults and children. The facility lacked adequate space for Sunday school and child care. 
 
Because many of the members are military, when the US Army’s Special 7th Forces Group was reassigned to Eglin attendance skyrocketed. But a congregation that grows through the military also declines through reassignment, as Ross well knows. During one especially painful summer, 40 members of the congregation left the church through reassignment. 
 
But as Mosaic Church continued to expand by appealing to seekers, another church in the association, Living Faith, found itself in severe membership decline with only a handful of members. 
 
Recently, the two churches merged and Mosaic Church was given the older church’s facility located on Highway 90, the east-west corridor that cuts through Crestview and the second-busiest road in the community. The merger resulted in preserving the facility for Southern Baptist work and provided the new congregation with a permanent place in the community.
 
Built nearly 50 years ago, the physical plant was in need of updating, especially with the contemporary worship style used by Mosaic and its proven track record of attracting young families with children.
 
Through the Maguire State Mission Offering, Mosaic Church received a $100,000 interest-free church site loan to remodel and renovate the older facility. The church moved into the newly renovated building this summer. 
 
“With this loan, we have done necessary remodeling in a way to go forward with full strength. The Maguire State Mission Offering loan has allowed us to maximize our impact with the building,” said Ross. 
 
With the renovations, the church has a “great children’s facility, great worship environment and other areas which we have strategically designed for the younger unchurched military family that we reach.”
 
“Florida Baptists have walked with us along the entire way,” said Ross. “First, through church planting assistance as we started the church, then through coaching from the Church Health Group, and now this loan which will provide much needed funds so we can update the church for God to use it to reach our community.”

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