A Heart to Serve
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Brian J. Roussel and his wife, Dawn, planted Connect Fellowship Church (CFC) in 2016, launching with 25 people. Currently, 175 people call CFC their church home. The congregation’s efforts of serving the community have translated into converts, with 72 people making salvation decisions since CFC opened.
“We exist to see people become fully engaged followers of Jesus Christ,” says Roussel, 45. That’s accomplished in part by those from the church helping with city events.
Brittany Dyess of the Gulfport Department of Leisure Services says CFC has had a positive impact on children and families at local events, including a senior Mardi Gras mambo, Easter egg hunts, back-to-school gatherings, summer jamboree for the disabled, and movie nights at the park.
“Every time Connect Fellowship volunteers at our events, they show up well in advance of the scheduled time and bring more than enough volunteers,” she explains. “While there, they have a positive attitude and are ready to serve the people at the event. They enjoy serving and volunteering, and we see that in the way they interact and communicate with event participants.”
Lauren Wales, a colleague of Brittany Dyess, concurs.
“We never ask them to stay and clean up following the events, but they do, and they do it with a joyful and thankful heart,” Wales says. “They also leave the areas in better shape than before.”
Roussel notes that CFC also is involved in Gulfport's schools through an outreach called Campus Life, where topics include relationships, bullying, purity, school shootings, and how to deal with failures.
“We reach the students, teachers, and staff with positive and encouraging messages to inspire them to be better and do better, which in turn brings them to church,” he says.
Donna L. Hughes calls CFC a welcoming, loving and accepting church.
“Connect provides me, my husband, and other family members a safe place to belong, grow, and serve God and others,” Hughes says. “Never have we belonged to a body of believers that really loves unselfishly and unconditionally as does Connect Fellowship.”
Roussel says the congregation is looking for a new building due to CFC's growth.