Melissa Brussa

melissastaffNTS graduate Rev. Melissa Brussa (MDiv, 2013) recently shared about her call to ministry and the ways her studies at NTS have helped shape her for missional ministry.

Tell us about yourself!

I grew up in Waverly, TN. I attended Trevecca Nazarene University and graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Religion with a pastoral ministry minor. I met my husband, Ed, while at Trevecca, and we got married in 2012. We moved to Valparaiso, IN in 2018. We have one son, Jude, who was born in March. We’re all about the arts – from playing guitars to creating community for young musicians. We spend a lot of time outside, exploring local parks, going to the beach, and taking drives around the area.

How did you sense a call to vocational ministry?

Being immersed in the Nazarene church from a young age, I fell in love with Jesus and the church. After graduating high school and attending my last church camp as a student, I felt God call me to ministry, which later that evening was affirmed by my mentor. While attending Trevecca, God directed my path towards a specific focus on pastoral ministry.

Tell us about the places you have served.

I served as lead pastor of East Gadsden Church of the Nazarene in Gadsden, AL in 2013-2015; as community pastor of Inglewood Church of the Nazarene in Nashville, TN in 2016-2018; and now as associate pastor of Duneland Community Church in Chesterton, INl,  since 2018.

What makes your assignment at Duneland unique? What do you love about it? 

DCC is the healthiest church I’ve ever attended or served. Being on staff, I’ve been challenged and reshaped in my understanding and practice of discipleship. Part of the shared staff role is to train ministry leaders, who will then train ministry teams. The presence and future of the church is not solely the responsibility of the lead pastor or staff, but a shared calling of the whole church. I’ve had the opportunity to raise up and train kids as ministry leaders, while also leading a discipleship group of women who are already causing a kingdom ripple effect.

What are some of the unique blessings/challenges in your context?

We are not your average Nazarene church. Our worship space is an old lumberyard. In the community, we’re known as ‘the bra church’ because we partner with Free the Girls to fight human trafficking by collecting bras. Our community is comprised of some locals and transplants, while all of the staff are the latter.

How did your time at NTS prepare you for faithful and effective ministry?

NTS helped me to gain confidence in my call while immersing me into the community of believers, challenged preconceived notions of the church and theology, and opened my eyes to creative approaches to ministry. It gave me a voice and opportunities to listen. I’m extremely grateful for the community of professors who invest into church leaders, entrusting God to lead us all as one united body.

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