- My Local
- My Reach
- My Self
Melvin Sensenig serves in Reading, the fifth largest city in Pennsylvania. The 2011 U.S. Census data identified Reading as one of the poorest cities in the nation, and a 2016 Rutgers study identified the Reading school district as the most poorly funded district in the nation.
Like many cities in the United States, Reading has undergone significant demographic changes, with a growing Hispanic population. The economic situation is dire, and crime continues to be a problem. Nevertheless, pockets of the city are seeing an upswing for urban development, and the city is filled with many wonderful, dedicated people.
Indigenous churches are springing up throughout Reading, but their leaders have had little or no opportunity for biblical and theological training. Most churches serving least-served communities rely on volunteer or bi-vocational pastors who have little or no ability to access seminary education.
After seeing the need in his community, Melvin decided to use his urban church planting and academic experience to train urban pastors and leaders in Reading.
Theologian-in-Residence for Urban Ministry (TIR) is an opportunity for Melvin to serve within and beyond his denomination, race, and class by providing Spirit-filled training in Christ-centered Biblical preaching and the beauties of grace-infused theology. Giving high quality training and resources to leaders in his community has proven to be the best way to impact the city with the gospel message. Rev. Felipe Faña is the president of the Hispanic Pastors Association, an organization of over thirty Spanish churches within the city limits. The association has invited Melvin to work regularly with their group in ministry training.
Melvin also maintains an active role in the academic community as part of his ministry, to pursue the goal of making the fruits of cutting-edge theological research available to leaders serving least-served churches in the city. He is currently teaching as an adjunct professor in the religious studies departments at Albright College and St. Joseph’s University.
Melvin has served as InFaith field staff since 2016.
Melvin has been married to his wife, Cindy, for twenty-five years. Cindy is the only reading specialist at one of the four middle schools in the Reading school district. They have four children, only one of whom is still in school.
Melvin has a B.A. from Millersville University, a M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from the Religion Department at Temple University. Together with his family, he has spent eighteen years in urban church planting – first in Providence, Rhode Island, and then in Reading, Pennsylvania. Having served in ordained ministry in urban church planting in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), Melvin is now honored to serve in ECO, an evangelical Reformed denomination.