In 2014, Terrence and Emma Mullings were busy working high-powered jobs in television and radio in Australia. But they quit that year, gave away most of their belongings, and moved with their four young children to Miami to plant a church.
To others, leaving it all behind may not have made sense at first glance. However, to Terrence and Emma, moving across the world to answer a greater calling couldn’t have made more sense.
The Mullingses were not naive to how life could look in Miami. Terrence was born in Australia, but split time between the south Florida city and his parents’ native Jamaica as a young child before returning with his family to his home country after a robbery. Still, he wanted to come back one day.
It didn’t take long to see issues, including racial tension, guns, violence, and unrest. Miami is a place where 85% of the population have no church affiliation. However, it’s also a beautiful place where people come to work, play, and live. With half of its residents born outside of the United States, it’s a gateway to the world.
And for all those reasons, Terrence and Emma said yes to planting a different kind of church in Miami.
Terrence saw the impact of one at a time when his mom’s life changed after deciding to follow Jesus. Her life impacted another. And that person impacted another, and so the network grew.
Once the Mullingses moved to Miami, they began meeting neighbors, other pastors, and parents at their children’s school.
HIStory Makers Church began with family dinners at their home where Terrence and Emma told their story and listened to others. Soon, 60 people came by to eat and chat. One at a time plays out in a thousand different ways. None of it plays out like a script in a television show.
“We believe God is not afraid of our stories,” Terrence said. “So, we are not afraid, either. We’ve been through some hard chapters. Emma was raised in a Christian family, but walked away from faith as a 14-year-old after her mother and sister passed away. She understands abuse and trauma. And I know what it’s like to live as the outsourced family, the outcast from Jamaica.”
Those hard chapters help them understand the stories of the people they meet.
Connections happen in crazy, unexpected ways.
“Emma was hunting for shoes at the local mall when she met a sweet girl who became our babysitter. One night, I found Emma sitting on the couch, talking to her about Jesus," Terrence said, adding that later that night, the girl decided to follow Jesus.
Next, she brought her boyfriend to one of the family dinners. He, too, decided to follow Jesus. Then, the story got a little more complicated. One night, the sitter called Terrence and Emma to let them know she was pregnant, considering abortion, and unsure she wanted to marry her boyfriend.
The Mullingses celebrated the life of that baby. The sitter ultimately decided to parent, and Terrence and Emma committed to walk through life with her.
That story continues to unfold. The Mullingses will continue to love her. So will people at HIStory Makers Church. She has a place where her story matters.
Terrence said focusing on one at a time has changed how life looks.
“In the beginning, it was meet this person and that person. We never felt satisfied we’d done enough,” he said. “Now, we focus on one divine connection a day. If I make that connection with a stranger on the street, someone at a coffee shop, a dad at soccer practice, someone inside or outside the church, I can focus, invest, and rest. I pray every day that God will give me eyes to see who I can love and bless.”
The new church, which Southeast Christian Church helped launch, has become a place for those who have given up on church or given up on God.
“By the grace of God, people feel like they can fit, that they can be their authentic selves. We have a lot of people from the fringes as well as people who were far from God,” Terrence said.
“No matter where you are in life—affluent, blessed, or hurting—God invites us into the pages of His story and His plan,” Emma said. “He sees and hears. He’s the one coming to rescue His people. We imagine a better story for all people.”
Southeast Christian Church has helped plant 68 churches. Click here to see the list.