Around 9 months ago, God began challenging my wife and me to dream bigger dreams. Your dreams are unbelievably important, because how you dream shapes how you pray, and how you pray determines who you become.
As we prayed, we both felt like God was calling us to enlarge our “circle.” To shuffle the deck, and to reorganize our church in a way to reach way more people.
Yesterday we announced at Access that we’re going to start multiplying. From day one, our desire has been to be a church that continues to multiply itself by starting new churches. Jesus said it this way: “…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Jerusalem was the city they were in. Judea and Samaria were their country. To the ends of the earth… well, that one makes sense!
Through lots of prayer and counseling, we’re excited to announce that our “circle” is getting bigger. Our vision and dream is to see Access Church become a church with locations all over the greater Tampa area.
Think about how exciting this will be:
- One day, you show up at the airport to go on a missions trip, and find yourself meeting other members of our same church, who have the same heart to serve others as you do.
- One day, we’ll join with Access Church campuses from all over the Tampa region to have an incredible, united Night of Worship!
- One day, all of our campuses will converge on one location, and hundreds or thousands of us will join to serve and bless a city!
- One day, you’ll have a friend or family member move to the greater Tampa Bay area, and you’ll be able to invite them to our church, even though you may live 45 minutes away from them. We’ll be the same church, with the same excellence in Worship, Children’s Ministry, Creativity, and Messages – just dispersed.
The truth is, the more I think and pray about it, the more excited I get. Since making the announcement, dozens of Access members have had unique, beautiful responses:
- One guy told me his job is transferring him to Tampa. He’s been worried and praying about finding a church there. Now we’ll be there and he can help us launch it!
- One lady told me that God has given her a specific burden for the people of a certain community in Tampa. We’ll be starting a location right next door. It was a direct answer to her prayer.
- One family has been driving an hour each week to attend Access, and at one point had actually began searching for a new church closer to home. After a year of searching, they committed to making the drive each week back to Lakeland, only to find out we’re starting a second location in their neighborhood.
- One guy told me last night that he has a friend that he’s been talking to about God for years. He “just happens” to live right where we’re starting a new location.
The stories go on and on. The bottom line is this. We exist to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything we do is about that one simple truth.
I believe with all of my heart that this is the start of something big… Something bigger than we can even imagine.
Over the next few days, I’ll be blogging lots of posts about what this means and what it looks like for us as a church. I’ll answer lots of the questions you have. I’ll let you know how you can specifically pray and help us. I’ll be explaining the process.
For now, please start by dreaming bigger dreams with us! I know that God has bigger plans for our church than we can even begin to imagine. Together, I believe He’s going to do something so big that He gets the credit for it!
I love you. I’m excited to start this journey with you!
Here is the video message from yesterday. The Tampa announcement starts around 22:45.