Jackson County

Ocean Springs megachurch Mosaic moves into new digs this weekend

Eric Faulk of Ocean Springs adjusts the sound board at Mosaic Church’s new location on U.S. 90 near downtown in Ocean Springs on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016.
Eric Faulk of Ocean Springs adjusts the sound board at Mosaic Church’s new location on U.S. 90 near downtown in Ocean Springs on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

Mosaic Church, the city’s megachurch that logged more than 3,000 members last Easter, moves this weekend into its new worship center along U.S. 90 near downtown.

Now a bright spot on the landscape of the highway, Mosaic turned an old strip mall into a worship complex with several sanctuaries, a wing for children’s studies and another for staff, state-of-the-art music and a parking lot to accommodate the weekend crowds.

Years ago, the building was Bayview Furniture and later a Latin rumba club.

We don’t want to be a megachurch. It’s not our goal. We’d rather plant churches.

Doug Molyneaux, Mosaic elder

It had been arguably the ugliest building in Ocean Springs, along the main thoroughfare. Now it is attractive with its sweeping white entrance awning and huge open foyer.

In one year, the church that began eight years ago in someone’s home has bought and paid for the building, borrowed the money to turn it into a worship center, had its founding preacher resign and still kept its membership strong, said Doug Molyneaux, an elder with the church. On Saturday, its newly hired lead pastor, Brandon Conner, is slated to preach the first sermon in the new sanctuary.

Molyneaux said they have finished the city inspector’s final punch list and were striping the parking lot on Thursday.

“If we don’t finish, it will be interesting,” Molyneaux said with a laugh, “because we don’t have an old church to go back to.”

The church let go the skating rink it had rented for years.

Conner auditioned two weeks ago, was hired and preached his first sermon as lead pastor last week, Molyneaux said.

“We were excited he got to preach in the skating rink at least once,” he said. “That’s only fitting.”

Conner, 38, comes to Mosaic after four years as an associate pastor of a 4,200-member church in Canton, Ohio, called NewPointe. Before that, he was a senior pastor in Georgia. He has 10 years’ experience and a doctorate from Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

“He’s a perfect fit for us,” Molyneaux said. “He grew up in a small town in east Tennessee.”

Conner majored in evangelism and church growth and shares Mosaic’s mission “to reach the 180,000 on the Coast who don’t know Jesus.”

Mosaic found him with the help of a church executive-search organization, vetting more than 100 nationally recognized preachers.

Mosaic doesn’t think of itself as a megachurch, Molyneaux said. In fact, he has been a little taken aback by the designation.

“We don’t want to be a megachurch,” he said. “It’s not our goal. We’d rather plant churches.”

The church’s mission is to establish community groups and it’s set up to grow new churches in conjunction with the Acts 29 Network out of Seattle.

For now, there is only the Ocean Springs church. It closed a campus in Gulfport and has focused on the Ocean Springs renovation project that opens for use Saturday.