The Melting Pot: student run worship service


Submitted by Aashawnti West

Student leaders and volunteers sing worship at the Melting Pot during every meeting.

Noah Cloonan

The Melting Pot is the newest branch of Christian Ministries at Ashland University.
Still, in its provisional charter phase, the Melting Pot is a large scale Bible Study that is completely student run and student led.

Melting Pot services begin with a welcome from the organization’s welcoming team at the door. The service officially kicks off with a time for worship that normally is led by the worship team from Melting Pot’s leadership team.

After worship, it is time to dive into the main teaching for the day and at the end of the message, there is an altar call. The service concludes with a homemade meal and fellowship time for everyone in attendance.

The schedule is set but changes slightly week to week, but the Melting Pot has not always looked this way.

Rewind ten months to November of 2017 and the Melting Pot looked very different.
The idea for a new ministry outreach at Ashland started from a conversation between a pair of freshman at AU.

Brenden Archer and Ray Vernon decided to start up a Bible study on their floor after they had heard from some of the peers that they would attend the study if they knew the people who were the leaders.

“We were going to a lot of different things on campus and there is a lot of great ministries such as FCA and The Well. There’s a lot of awesome things on campus and in our community but one thing just for our class that was being said was we don’t really want to go to these things but if you all started something we would go to it,” Archer said. “Especially with the African-Americans on campus if you go to some of the other events there are less African- Americans at those certain events, we just wanted to get those people that don’t necessarily go to FCA or some of those other big ones.”

The showing was outstanding for the groups first meeting as nearly 30 people showed up at the initial meeting and Archer and Vernon realized that they were onto something.
Archer said that ideas just started coming out of nowhere.

“It sounds crazy but we were telling one another about similar dreams we had pertaining to the group and Ray loved the idea of the Melting Pot because integrated into our plans from the beginning was a diverse community where people of all races worshiped one God,” Archer said.

When the two got back to campus, they started to push towards creating something bigger.
They wanted to take the steps necessary to become a university recognized organization and they applied for a provisional charter.

The Melting Pot started to form their leadership team to help bring the organization to life.

Aashawnti West was named as the head of the communications team and started to help grow the Melting Pot.

“We have different teams,” West said. “We have a social media team, a worship team, we have a communications team, a hospitality team and we have a welcome team. People gravitate towards whichever team they want to join and our numbers between our intermediate teams have grown.”

Numbers have grown so much that the leadership team now outnumbers the number of people that attended the original Bible study.

Archer said that there are 37 members of the leadership team and that number is growing on a weekly basis.

Once the team was in place, Archer and Vernon began the process of moving towards being a recognized branch of religious life at Ashland.

“We are still waiting on funding because there is always a process with charters getting voted on,” Archer said. “Nicole Dyer and her team have been very helpful just working with us because it’s definitely challenging.”

Despite the challenging waters of becoming a charter, the Melting Pot is thriving in the meantime.

In their first service of the fall semester, nearly 200 people turned out to Redwood Hall to grow their faith and community.

“It’s been pretty awesome to see,” Archer said. “We always had a vision of what it could be but we never imagined that it could just happen this fast.”

The Melting Pot has placed a large focus on promoting over the first few months of its existence and West said that they have had a lot of success promoting the event through social media but maintains the belief that word of mouth has been the most effective way.

“A lot of it is done through social media and word of mouth,” West said. “Word of mouth has been our greatest channel of communication, mainly because there are almost 40 members of our team and we are all different majors, hang around different people so we are really reaching a lot of people through word of mouth.”

One of the questions both Archer and West said they have received about The Melting Pot is “is this service for me?”

“Everything we do at the Melting Pot is relatable and applicable to everyone’s lives,” Archer said. “We don’t just read a scripture and then leave you with that we want to give you applicable steps to change your life.”

He also said that the Melting Pot is open to anyone and everyone and that diversity is one of the main reasons behind the name.

“One thing that we wanted to create was, all churches have the identity of the person they expect to come to their service and one thing that we incorporated from the beginning was we wanted a very mixed audience. We didn’t want just one gender or one race we wanted anyone and everyone,” Archer said. “So the melting pot comes from having that mixed pot of people. You know they call the United States the melting pot and that’s what we wanted to form, You know that diverse community where you can look at some time to your right and see someone that looks like you and then look to the left and find someone that doesn’t look like you.”

The Melting Pot is currently in the middle of their first series of the fall entitled, “In My Feelings: Love, Sex and Relationships.”

West said the series is a nod to the Drake song that took the world by storm this summer but she said that the Melting Pot has placed their own twist on the title.

“If you think about college, one of the main struggles everyone goes through is literally love, sex and relationships,” West said. “It’s just a solid series for our age group.”

Archer said that he and the rest of the leadership team have received a lot of great feedback on the series and people are really looking forward to wrapping up the series on November 12.

The Melting Pot does not plan on slowing their growth at all and Archer said he is extremely excited for the future.

“We are just praying for continued growth, we’ve already had people asking about bringing it to other universities. That’s a big thing to think about and we definitely can see it growing like that,” Archer said. “We just want to make Jesus famous on campuses all around the country. Truthfully we can see this growing to other college campuses all around the world.”

With those dreams and goals in mind, Archer said that now is not the time they are looking to move to other campuses but instead want to create an even stronger foothold in Ashland.

“We don’t want to start something that we cannot finish,” Archer said. “We wanna know our stuff, we want to be locked into the Word and what God has for us. We don’t want to move too fast, we don’t want to do it just because it sounds cool to have it on another campus but we want to do it when God tells us it’s time to.”

The Melting Pot meets the second and fourth Monday of every month in Redwood Hall at 9:05 P.M. with doors opening at nine.

“Come as you are,” West said. “That has always been our number one thing. We don’t need you to dress up, we don’t need you to hide behind any sort of makeup, we don’t need you to pretend like you don’t have struggles because in the Melting Pot we keep it real.”