During this season of giving, we would like to share an audio visual project that is very special to us, as well as and the man who brought it to our attention: Broderick Connessero. We are so thankful for the work he’s doing in Memphis and the intentionality of his church in the Orange Mound community. We are happy to be partnering with Broderick, and we hope that you are blessed by his story!
Broderick is married to Dione and they have three kids: Jessica, Jayla, and a son Niles. Broderick is originally from Compton, CA, but he told me that when he first came to Memphis, he was a drug dealer. He said that all changed on December 31, 1999, when he felt convicted, shut down his drug business, and decided to go to church.
“After that night, within 90 days my life had completely come to a halt. In March of 2000, after losing a lot of stuff … I went outside and told God, ‘God, I’m just tired. Whatever it is you want me to do, I’ll do.’ From there my pastor, Dr Norman (at First Baptist Broad in Binghampton) took me under his wing. I told him I didn’t like church because everyone was fake, and no one was real. He said, ‘Well, what good are you to the church OUTSIDE the church? You need to be in it.’” Broderick took this challenge and became more involved in the church. From there, Broderick said, “I began to grasp the faith. I had my stumbles though. While I had great guidance about working in ministry, I didn’t have true discipleship. I didn’t have people in my life checking for the residue… because again I was a dude coming right off the streets and right into church. So that created an ugly cycle for a couple of years of making mistakes while in ministry that brought me to a very broken place.”
“After 16 years of youth ministry, I started a consulting company. Around 2011, I had an opportunity to go to Piperton, and sit down with Pete Demoss and Greg Gibson. What began as me interviewing them, turned into a big crying session. Two weeks later, Greg gave me a call and said, “Hey, have you ever thought about planting a church?’”
“And from there I got connected to Living Hope, and I’ve been with them for eight years now. I started off as a part of the Church Planting Cohort, then spent a year teaching at their sister church, Living Hope VE. I left there a lot better and I knew for sure what God wanted me to do with my church plant. I spent one more year teaching in the youth ministry at LH and prepared for the plant. I began doing a thing called “Brunch and Bible” as part of my preparation for planting. Out of that we developed a core team of 15 and found Orange Mound. This past September will make two years of the church being in existence in Orange Mound, moving from an elementary school to Melrose High.”
What do you want to be known for? When people hear The Common, what do you want them to think?
“I want to be known for change. When the Common and Broderick Connesero leave somewhere, I want people to see that change happened because we were there. I don’t want to go into a culture/ environment and leave it the way I found it. [I want] change for the better.
Why did you decide to plant a church in Orange Mound?
“Orange Mound has been known in its history of 100 years for the ability to be a community. They’ve had some rough patches along the way, but you have a group of individuals, alumni who are hoping to bring the glory back. I’ve been privileged to be a part of the process with them. To be in the conversations with those leaders of the community and people of the church, who want to see OM and Melrose come back to the united aspect that it was.”
Why did you choose Melrose High as the home for The Common?
“I’ve [been] connected with Melrose for eight years. I used to coordinate a program for Melrose and RedZone to do something very similar to Young Life, called The Club. We saw that [program] grow from 25 kids to 115 kids. My heart’s desire was always to see kids’ lives changed. A great number of those kids are now a part of the Common as adults. These kids come from various circumstances of life. Because the relationship part was more rooted, I was able to witness subtle changes in their lives. My heart for Melrose has always been there.
I remember the first day I came to Melrose, I was walking in and there was a kid hanging out the second-floor window yelling, ‘Bald headed man! What do you want!?’ I’ve always kept that in my thinking with Melrose. ‘What do I want? [The answer is that] I want change.’”
“In the time I’ve been connected, subtle changes have happened. We partnered with Don Gilbert and his non-profit Kingdom Community Builders to feed the kids after every game.
The norm is to feed football players before a game. We learned that kids were going home after the game hungrier than they were before the game. This year we are embarking on a new challenge where we do the same thing for the basketball team. In most school settings, they are left on their own to figure out what to eat before a game and after. Some of the kids who have to go find food on their own, get into trouble, or they walk into trouble. We are trying to take all of that away to create change.”
What led you to Redwire Audio Visual?
“I’ve [visited] the Melrose auditorium for the last eight years and it’s been the same. This past Sunday we came into the auditorium and they had a nice sized flat screen. But they had to cut and paste stuff together for the speakers so you could hear what you were seeing. Keep in mind it’s a flat screen for an auditorium that seats almost 1200 people. So, imagine, if you have the full student body in there, 648 students trying to see that one monitor — it’s not fair, you know what I’m saying? You got kids talking and you are using wireless mics that aren’t nice, so they keep cutting out, and so you try to tell the kids to be quiet and they’re like, ‘What’s he saying?’ Approximately, 75% of the lights are not working. You have this wonderful catwalk, but there are no lights.
Someone [from Melrose] told me, “I put the order in for the lights, but there’s no telling WHEN we will get them.”
“When reaching out to Redwire, my hope was, with the resources we have, and Tim’s resources, we could gather up support to help this school, and put them in a good place. Not that everything has to be new, but a lot better than what they currently have, so that those kids and that administration can see change.”
“And for me from a church perspective, I’m not forcing you to come to church on Sunday, but I’m going to show you how through God, I can love you enough to care about something like this and give it to you without any expectations. That’s the downfall in the black community that are low income. Help like this comes with a string. You come to church for five weeks, and then we will give you ____. We’re asking for people to come with no expectations. Just because it’s the right change needed for kids in that school.”
Redwire Audio Visual is donating labor on this project. If you’d like to donate money towards the Melrose AV Project, go to : http://common432.com/index.php/ways-to-give/
Or Donate Directly here:
*Where it says, “special instructions,” write “Melrose Project”
If you’d like to donate equipment: contact Hannah@redwireav.com
The Common meets Sundays at 12 PM at Melrose High In Memphis, TN. For more information, visit: common432.com