MITCHELL, SOUTH DAKOTA – It is Sunday morning at 10 am and the campus center at Dakotas Wesleyan University (DWU) is bustling with energy. Fusion, a new church start, birthed by Mitchell First United Methodist Church and Dakota Wesleyan University is holding a nontraditional, contemporary worship in the DWU Sherman Center.
Photo: The view from the chairs at Fusion worship.
Over 150 people stream in the doors, grab a cup of coffee and casually great one another. Most folks are dressed in casual clothing as they visit and then find a chair inside the Sherman Center. A band with drums, bass guitar and more starts playing. However, the songs are not what you find in a traditional worship but more what you would hear on a Christian rock, or contemporary Christian radio station.
The mission of Fusion as stated on the website www.mitchellfusion.com is: “A church that is passionate about reaching out to people who do not yet know Jesus or who have disconnected from a church for one reason or another. We aim to go where people are, to engage the community, and to host events that bring people together.”
Rev. Brandon Vetter, describes Fusion this way, “Fusion is an opportunity for the United Methodist Church to reach a group of people who prefer a less traditional approach,” Vetter said. “We use pop culture, video clips, new music and a casual atmosphere to deliver the Gospel – those things won’t appeal to everyone, but they appeal to our congregation.”
Reaching those people that do not have a church affiliation is becoming increasing important. The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever according to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center.
“My son loves Fusion. He is so excited to come. He plays the drums and now I come. I am excited that we have a church that all of us can relate to,” said Carol from Fusion Church.
Fusion works hard to reach the needs of young families. Fusion Kids is held each Sunday for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade at 9:00 am. A curriculum is utilized to help children grow in their relationship with God and others. Children’s Church at Fusion happens during the regular worship time. Children’s Church is a unique multi-sensory, storytelling format that is a joyful way for children to worship God. Nursery care is available during worship for ages 0-3.
Small groups are a key part of Fusion. Several adult small groups happen before and after worship on Sunday as well as during the week. High School and middle school youth can also connect with a small group at Fusion.
Fusion has a service focus. Every month one mission project is promoted. There are also numerous service and outreach opportunities ranging from helping out locally or travelling to far away places like Africa. “One of the reasons that I like Fusion is that it is about more than worship, “ noted Jessie, a member at Fusion.
Fusion is a unique partnership between a university campus, a traditional United Methodist Church, and the Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church. “We call ourselves Fusion because we are bringing together many elements of several entities to create a new thing to make disciples,” stated Vetter.
The unique campus setting and nontraditional worship create a new experience for many. One that over 150 people who see Fusion as the church that speaks to them.