Rich & Stephanie Barrett

We’ve been telling stories on this blog about the families who helped Access Church get off the ground. For many of these families, it has been a two-year journey of praying, giving, inviting, and serving—all the time wondering what God might do if they submitted their plans to His.

For Stephanie and I, the road to Access Church began when we visited North Point Community Church in the summer of 2003. Our church in Ohio had just launched a second campus, and we were interested in comparing notes with the staff at North Point about the recent launch of Buckhead Church. I had the opportunity to meet with David McDaniel, and those hours proved fateful.

As we learned more about North Point, we fell in love with this simple, focused model of ministry. We had pastored at some great (but cluttered) churches, and the clear strategy of reaching people, rather than keeping people, was invigorating! David and I stayed in touch and, over the next couple of years, we met with David and other NPCC staffers whenever we passed through Atlanta.… Read the rest

Posted May 29, 2007

Masters Weekend

Since I seem to have collected quite a few golfing readers, let me set the record straight: this is THE Masters! In fact, each Memorial Day weekend Callaway Gardens hosts the most revered tradition in waterskiing, The Masters. This year is the 48th Masters, and the best waterskiers in the world will be making the trek to Pine Mountain Lake.

For those who’d rather stay a little closer to home, you can see the Senior Masters, taking place right here in Duval County. Those of us spending our weekend at Victory Lake will see the best 55-and-over skiers the sport has to offer.… Read the rest

Posted May 27, 2007

Director of Family Ministry

After a long and careful search to fill the position of Family Ministry Director, Access Church is excited to announce the addition of Adam & Kristen Flynt!

Adam & Kristen are well-qualified to lead in this area of our church. Married for eight years with two children of their own, the Flynts have their very own Waumba Land every day! Gavin (4) loves swimming and anything to do with cars and trains, while Sophie (2) loves to climb and jump from high places!

Adam grew up in Jacksonville and loves the people and the area. In fact, Adam writes, “We love the ocean, the smell of sunscreen, and hunting for shark’s teeth and sea glass. I grew up life-guarding, fishing, scuba diving, and surfing. If it involves the water, count me in. Growing up in the cold of the Chicago area and northern California, it didn’t take much for Kristen to fall in love with white sand and warm water. There’s nothing like a good book and a sunny day for her!” Yeah, we’ll have a tough time getting along…

Adam graduated from The Bolles School, University of Florida (I’m warning you, he bleeds orange-and-blue!), and Columbia Theological Seminary.… Read the rest

Posted May 24, 2007

Sutton & Debbie McGehee

Several years ago, Sutton and Debbie McGehee made a trip from their home in Jacksonville to visit their daughter, Amanda, who had moved to Atlanta. Amanda had been telling Sutton and Debbie about her church, Buckhead Church, a satellite campus of North Point Community Church, and she was anxious for her parents to attend with her.

Sutton and Debbie weren’t sure they would like Buckhead Church. The idea of viewing the message on a large video screen instead of seeing a live communicator didn’t appeal to them. But once they attended, they had only great things to say about Buckhead Church. “The quality of the screen was outstanding,” Sutton said. “It really seemed like Andy Stanley was right there in the building.”

The excitement at Buckhead Church drew Sutton and Debbie, and they liked Andy’s teaching. “Andy is a gifted speaker,” Sutton said. “He held my attention the entire time.”

Debbie said, “The way Andy delivered the message was relevant, pertinent, and upbeat.… Read the rest

Posted May 23, 2007

Fields of Gold

Recently, a friend and I have been having a lot of discussions about our giving. We’ve been asking each other questions like, “If you give out of every paycheck, does that take away from the ‘cheerful heart’ aspect of giving? What if you don’t give from every paycheck—are you neglecting the principle of first-fruits?”

As God-followers, we know that money is important to us and to God. We know giving is part of our worship, but under the growing pressures to make ends meet each month, fear often stands in the way of letting go of our finances.

Soon we become irrational in our thinking about God, his faithfulness, and our role as stewards of His resources. And when we let it, this fear has the potential to rob us of an intimate trust relationship with God.

So, last time I was in Atlanta, I picked up a copy of Andy Stanley’s recent book, Fields of Gold.

Fields of Gold reminded me of some core truths about money and giving.… Read the rest

Posted May 21, 2007

Foyer, Living Room, Kitchen.

At Access Church, we believe that environments are very important. In fact, we would presume that significant spiritual growth in your life has probably been the result of truth being introduced to you in the right environment. The right people, the right setting, the right message. We have found it useful to employ the metaphor of a home as we explain three key aspects to our church life.

The place in your home that serves as the welcome area for guests and new friends. It is the first step, and it’s often your only chance to make your guests feel comfortable enough to return. That’s exactly how we’ve designed our entry environments at Access. Our Sunday-evening worship services are foyer environments. We want our guests to come back, so we do everything with them in mind. This environment serves as the perfect place to introduce newcomers to the life of Access.

Living Room
Once your guests arrive and are welcomed into your home, you invite them into the living room.… Read the rest

Posted May 18, 2007

Speed Dial

What does persistence have to do with God and prayer? Apparently, a great deal. This Sunday, we will discover the implications of persistence for your prayer life. It will affect not only what you ask for, but also your understanding of how and when God answers prayer.

Come Sunday and enjoy Andy Stanley’s presentation of Speed Dial, the final message in this practical series on prayer, and be led in an acoustic worship experience with Todd Fields.

Click here to invite a friend!… Read the rest

Posted May 15, 2007

Free Andy Stanley Messages

If you’re looking for a free & easy way to get your hands on some great teaching—the kind of teaching that can make sense of the Bible for everyday life—you really ought to click on this link.

North Point Community Church has begun podcasting some of Andy Stanley’s message series, and this iTunes podcast already includes Pause, Permission to Speak Freely, and Breakaway.

You don’t have to have an iPod to enjoy podcasting. It’s simply an easy way to download audio right into iTunes (Mac or Windows) so you can burn a CD, transfer it to your MP3 player, or listen at your computer. Each new message posted can be automatically downloaded to your computer.

Enjoy it yourself or forward the link to a friend who might enjoy Andy Stanley’s teaching. Happy Mother’s Day!… Read the rest

Posted May 13, 2007

Golf is a Religion

I’m writing this from the Starbucks in Ponte Vedra, while a constant stream of golfers, golf-fans, and wanna-be-golfers passes through.

You see, it’s a big weekend in Jacksonville. We’re hosting THE PLAYERS, and that means we’re hosting Tiger Woods, Rory Sabbatini, Phil Mickelson, and anyone who wants to be anywhere near them. I heard someone say today that “Golf isn’t a sport, it’s a religion.” And the more I contemplated that, I have to agree.

It’s not just that golfers have their own vocabulary, dress code, and spending priorities. The game itself has a lot in common with religion.

You see, golf is impossible. Trust me. I’ve tried it. They give you this little white ball and tell you to hit into a hole barely larger than the ball. Mind you, the hole is three or four football fields away! If your swing is off, the ball knows. If your back is stiff, the ball knows. If you’re having a stressful day (or game) and you tense up, the ball knows.… Read the rest

Posted May 11, 2007

Atlanta Events

Concert on the Lawn
concert on the lawnTraveling to Atlanta anytime soon? Be sure to consider getting tickets for Concert on the Lawn (June 1, Marrieds) or Gig on the Grass (June 2, Singles). It’s guaranteed to be a great time with great music, and an encouraging perspective on what’s ahead for Jacksonville!

Night of Worship
You might also enjoy a less-publicized “Night of Worship,” featuring North Point worship leaders, scheduled to take place in Alpharetta on May 18, 7:30pm.… Read the rest


We’re Building a Church!

The time has come to unveil our latest plans at Access Church. After two years of careful planning, the time has come to build a church!

Where? All over the region! When? Every day!

In fact, this building project is already well underway, and you may be part of it. You might already be inviting friends, praying for Access, serving in one of our ministries, and faithfully giving. You are building a church!

Okay, you say… don’t be a smart-aleck. When are we really going to build a church? And where?

Well, I’m serious. There is no better use of our time and resources right now than to build a church. Not a building, but relationships. A relationship with the God who made us, loves us, and wants us to enjoy him forever. Relationships with other God-followers, who need encouragement along the way. And relationships with those outside our community of faith, who will only know God’s love if they see it demonstrated through us.… Read the rest

Posted May 6, 2007

Sunday is Coming!

Some of you might remember the old Tony Campolo message, “It’s Friday, But Sunday’s a-Coming!” Campolo draws from the grief and discouragement that the disciples must have felt when Jesus was buried on Friday, and with him all of their hopes and dreams. Little did they understand… Sunday was a-coming!

For two thousand years since, Sunday has been a day for the Christian community to celebrate the empty tomb, hope come to life, and a God who always keeps his promises.

Some of us who have been involved with the set-up and tear-down processes of Access Church go home pretty tired on Sunday night. For about sixty of us, Sunday is an eight- or ten-hour day. So, the fact that April had a fifth Sunday gave us a nice little break. But, we’ve missed it!

We’ve missed you! We’ve missed the chance to worship with you and corporately recognize that Sunday is an important, symbolic day. We’ve missed the chance to meet you in the halls, love on your kids, sing and celebrate together.… Read the rest

Posted May 4, 2007

A Different Kind of Communion

Some of you were a part of Buckhead Church long before they built a building. Now they are about to move into their new (but surely not their last) building—this Sunday!

Consider joining us Thursday night at 8pm, when Buckhead Church will host an online gathering for prayer and communion. Everyone who feels a connection to this event can come from all over the world to pray together before opening day on May 6. All you will need to do is visit the Buckhead Church web site shortly before 8pm on Thursday, click on the webcast link, and be prepared to participate in communion (have juice and bread handy) and pray with us online. You could do it with a group or by yourself.

Personally, I’ve never done communion like this before, but I’m willing to give it a shot and pray for this amazing next step in the journey that is Buckhead Church.… Read the rest

Posted May 2, 2007

Making Your Minutes Count

For some time now, we’ve been saying that Jacksonville doesn’t need another church. However, Jacksonville does need environments where those who are still unsure about how God fits into their lives can ask questions and learn what the Bible has to say in a very non-threatening way.

Perhaps there is no better starting point for that kind of conversation than around the topic of prayer. Everyone I know prays—even a woman who insists that she is an atheist. There is something in everyone that desires to reach out beyond ourselves and connect with some kind of “higher power.”

Is there a right way to pray? A wrong way?

Join us this Sunday as Andy Stanley teaches the second part of our “Permission to Speak Freely” series on prayer.

But don’t come alone—bring a friend! It’s a great environment to ask spiritual questions. A while ago I introduced a suggestion for strategic and repeated invitations. “3x3x3” means that you invite three people that you really care about and have invested in.… Read the rest

Posted May 1, 2007