An Assemblies of God church in Florida's capital city is reaching the unchurched and unaffiliated who attend one of the nation’s largest schools.
Recently commemorating 10 years, Mosaic Church in Tallahassee is located less than two miles from Florida State University (FSU), which has about 42,000 students.
West Florida District Council Superintendent Tommy Moore says the church is part of the district’s strategic plan to reach those in their 20s who have no church connection.
“Mosaic Church was designed to think outside the box,” he says. “Pastor Mario Solari has led his team to focus on this black hole of ministry.”
Solari moved to Tallahassee in 1993 to plant a U.S. Missions Chi Alpha Campus Ministries chapter at FSU. Mosaic was birthed through the campus ministry. Solari, 53, now is a nationally appointed U.S. missionary and one of seven area directors for Chi Alpha around the nation.
“At the inception of Mosaic, we wanted to be a church that worked in tandem with the local campus ministry,” explains Solari, who has been married to his wife, Robin, for 30 years. “Mosaic purposefully synchronized its calendar, message, and culture to attract and then encourage college students to move forward in their journey with Jesus.”
“Mosaic has a unique vision for diversity and connecting with an age group that is often overlooked,” says Kim Bechtel, 30. “As I have gone from college student to young professional, marriage, and parenthood, Mosaic has grown with me and its other members to deepen our walks with Christ in our changing stages of life.”
Currently, Mosaic has 100 attendees — and 90 of them are current or former FSU students. One of the biggest challenges is the congregational turnover rate. Typically, Mosaic changes 15 percent to 25 percent every year.
“People in this age group are still making big decisions, those involving long-term career goals and marriage,” Moore says. “These decisions tend to eventually move people out of the university town of Tallahassee. Mosaic continues to keep a fresh approach to ministry.”
“When you reach young people at this age, it is a super critical junction of their lives,” says Solari, who in the past decade has performed 125 weddings of those who have been connected to the school.