Melissa Nunez, Network First Impressions Team
Melissa Nunez still remembers the main point from the first sermon she ever heard at Springcreek back in 2011. "You're in the right spot, and we're glad you're here. You're OK."
"I know he was talking to me," Melissa recalled after hearing Pastor Keith's message that morning.
She now wants to make sure other young adults who show up know that they belong here, too. As leader of the First Impressions team for Network: Young Adults Ministry at Springcreek, Melissa greets young adults and keeps up with them by texting them throughout the week. She also directs her volunteers to roam the lobby and connect with people who come in alone.
"Our goal is to make sure no one is sitting by themselves and to know they are welcome here," she said.
Melissa encourages young adults who are new to Springcreek to get out of their comfort zone and be more than just another face who comes in the door. She got her feet wet as a volunteer by first serving with the church's Welcome Team. After Patrick McLaughlin came on board as young adult pastor in March, Melissa was tapped to lead the First Impressions team.
"If you get involved and you start to meet people, you expand your positive circle of influence," said Melissa, a self-described extrovert. "I love to know as many people as I can, and the only way to do that is to get involved."
Melissa, who is single with no kids, says she has found a "family" in the young adults who are now part of her life. The Network ministry has grown from about a dozen to more than 40 young adults since this spring. Melissa credits the growth to the authenticity of the participants.
She's open, for example, about celebrating six years of sobriety, and recognizes how important relationships are to her recovery. Springcreek is where she first learned about recovery groups.
"When it was time for me to surrender, I knew where to go," she said. "I'm big on being vulnerable. If you see other people get real and be vulnerable, you know it's safe for you to be real, too."
- Written by Robin Russell