Hell Bound (Not)

Right down the road Chris Elrod is leading Compass Point Church in Lakeland, FL.

The other day he posted this great story about the win, and I lifted it from his blog to share here:

This is Pete.

Pete has smoked since he was teenager.

Pete struggled most of his life with alcohol.

Pete used to shoot people when he’d get angry.

Pete spent 15 years behind bars.

Pete has cancer…a bunch of cancer.

Pete has been given only a few months to live.

Pete has a tattoo on his leg that says “Hell Bound”.

Pete won’t be going there.

Pete came to know Jesus two weeks ago.

Pete was baptized today.… Read the rest

Posted February 26, 2008

An Unscheduled Tribute

I interrupt my regular blogging schedule to bring you some exciting news. Larry Norman, who is widely attributed with contemporizing Christian music in the late 60s and early 70s, is now worshiping his saviour face-to-face. Larry went home to heaven on yesterday morning.

Larry was a pioneer, disruptive to the Church, and we’ve all been influenced by his leadership.

What do you think? Who will be the Church’s next Larry Norman? (Doesn’t have to be music-related.) Answer below.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BznsjIe5sMk]… Read the rest

Posted February 25, 2008

What’s Your Name? (All-Skate)

People from Florida are called ‘Floridians’. People from Georgia, ‘Georgians’. People from Michigan, ‘Michiganders.’

People from Canada? Well, they’re just ‘Cold.’ (Love ya’, Carey.)

Elevation Church calls their attenders Elevators. I love that. It’s clever, and communicates clearly their life purpose—to elevate the name of God.

So, my dilemma. What to call the people of Access?

Your turn. Name thyselves.… Read the rest


Sunday Morning and I’m Not Going to Church

It’s Sunday morning, and I’m not going to church.

It’s not that I don’t like church. I do. I love the music and relevant message, and I mostly love the people. Oh, and my kids are crazy about Waumba Land and UpStreet.

But the church community I’m a part of only meets twice a month. It’s a strategic decision we made early on to not exhaust our volunteers. We won’t go to weekly services until we have enough volunteers so that we can distribute the workload and operate in a healthy way. (Small groups, though, meet every week!)

But it turns out that not meeting some Sundays has a really cool side effect. It gives our family the opportunity to hang out on Sundays with friends from our neighborhood who don’t even think about attending church.

You see, the people we’re trying to reach at Access are not in church on Sunday morning. In fact, studies say that 800,000 in this city are not in church on any given Sunday.… Read the rest

Posted February 24, 2008

Salt, anyone?

Paul said, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

I love that! Full of grace, seasoned with salt. So yes, truth (salt) and grace go together, but you don’t go home after a great dinner and say, “Man, I’m so glad they prepared SALT for dinner.”

Instead, prepare someone a meal of grace, and season it with salt. Love people, invite them over, show them that you really do care that they don’t drive through a “road closed” sign, and introduce them to a God who loves them.… Read the rest

Posted February 22, 2008


In 2006, just before we moved here from Alpharetta, we attended DRIVE. As we left, I kept thinking, “Man, I wish the whole Jacksonville team could have been here for this!”

Well, now you can. DRIVE will be held again May 5-7 at North Point, and you can be there!

There is no other event so specific to our model of leading people, and no event so inspirational. It’s the how and the why of Access Church. As an Access volunteer, you can get an unbelievable price on this conference—and chill out in the coveted VIP lounge between sessions!

If you’re interested in being a part of a great road trip, give any of us on staff a holler and we’ll hook you up!… Read the rest

Posted February 18, 2008

Three Shadows of the Passion

Andy Stanley leads us into the season of Lent with a study of three lesser-known but significant characters in the Easter story. Part of understanding the bright light of Sunday morning is learning to appreciate the dark human condition that conspired to murder Jesus Christ.

Join us at the University of North Florida this Sunday at 9:30 or 11:15am. Grammy-nominated Michael Johnston will be our lead worshipper.

Click here for directions.Read the rest

Posted February 14, 2008

Worship Leader Roundup

The corporate worship experience at Access Church just keeps getting better and better! Darin Peckham has been working hard to line up some of the best musicians available. Here are a few names to whet your appetite. Coming soon to Access:

Michael Johnston
Eddie Kirkland
Jen & Jon Carrozza
Scott Coleman
Michael Olson

We’ll also have Louie Giglio bringing the heat soon alongside Andy Stanley in the Canvas series. It’s gonna be a great spring!… Read the rest

Posted February 13, 2008

A Generous Church

Before coming home to Jacksonville, I spent one additional day at Buckhead Church attending some meetings about developing a culture of generosity in our church. It was incredibly provoking, especially following on the heels of our decision to begin giving 2% of our Sunday offerings to our strategic partner in Merida, Mexico.

There’s no doubt that God is calling us as Christ-followers to share what we have. Sometimes that means giving to the local church, sometimes that means giving to the world’s poor through incredible organizations like Compassion, Samaritan’s Purse or World Vision, and sometimes that means giving as a church toward strategic church initiatives around the country and around the world.

Before we even launched Access, one of the written goals for the church was “a culture of generosity.” I want to be surrounded with people that see the world as bigger than themselves.

The highlight for me? Listening to Andy Stanley share some very personal stories of what stewardship looks like for Sandra and him.… Read the rest

Posted February 12, 2008

Clarify the Win

It’s been an exciting weekend!

Adam, Kevin, Darin, Brian, and I set out for Atlanta this weekend to reconnect with the team at North Point Ministries. It’s a priority for us to regularly clarify the win, and there is no better way to achieve such clarity than visiting North Point and Buckhead. It’s fantastic to be part of an organization that understands the importance of this exercise. Thanks to everyone at Access Church who makes this possible!

It was a good time to get to know each other better, especially our newest teammate, Brian. It was an awesome opportunity to witness irresistible environments. It was even pretty cool to race go-karts at Andretti’s. But mostly, it was great to hang with North Point & Buckhead staff and hear story after story of what God is doing in the lives of people coming to know God for the first time. That’s the win!… Read the rest

Posted February 11, 2008

Gone Fishin’

Fishin’ for old friends and new ideas, that is.

The Access staff is making a quick trip to Alpharetta to attend MarriedLife LIVE, worship at North Point, Watermarke, and Buckhead, and attend the Monday morning staff meeting. I’ll bet we squeeze in some BBQ along the way!

See you back in Jacksonville next week, as we begin our new series on Sunday, February 17—Three Shadows of the Passion. It’s a great series designed to turn our hearts toward Easter.

Have a great weekend!

(posted from the Starbucks at Exit 62!)… Read the rest

Posted February 9, 2008

Makin’ it Local (All-Skate)

FAIR WARNING: This post is an “all-skate” post. I really want everyone—especially everyone in Jacksonville—to jump in on the comments!

When other church leaders see your organization as the third most innovative and fourth most influential church in America, it stands to reason you’ll take some criticism. And really, that’s only fair, because we learned from watching Spiderman that “with much power comes much responsibility.”

So, we shouldn’t be afraid to engage our critics, and although we shouldn’t let them sap our energy or blur our focus, we should be open to learning from them.

This past week we’ve gotten a few knocks in the blogosphere, and I wanted to allow you, the readers, to respond to one concern in particular. It’s an important issue, but I can’t answer it all by myself.

You see, some (who’ve never visited Access Church or any other North Point Partner) are concerned that we are not “local” enough. They contend that in order for us to be relevant in Jacksonville, Andy Stanley would have to live in Jacksonville and attend Access Church.… Read the rest

Posted February 8, 2008

Better When We’re Together

Many of our groups that began in November are now nearing the end of their “trial period,” and moving to the next stage of group life. Here’s a report from Adam Flynt, as he reported on Orange Families:

Jack Johnson got it right when he sang, “It’s always better when we’re together.”


It may not be easier. It may not be quieter. It may not be simpler. It may not be calmer. But it’s always better when we’re together. That’s the growing feeling each time we’re with our community group.

One of the hardest things about leaving our last church to come to help launch Access was leaving a group of friends that we had prayed with, vacationed with, suffered with, asked questions with, laughed with, mourned with, ate and ate and ate with. It was painful to leave them and we felt like we were loners for a few months without them.

But in the last two months we have connected with a group of other couples.… Read the rest

Posted February 7, 2008

CNN: UNchristian

I love this interview… can’t believe it was on CNN. Totally worth four minutes of your time.

Gabe introduced this book at Catalyst back in the fall and it’s having a great impact on the way church leaders are thinking.


What do you think?… Read the rest

Posted February 4, 2008

Rob Lott

Since this blog began, we’ve been telling the stories of people God has brought to Access Church. For many of you, these stories have become the number one reason to read this blog.

Today’s story has taken a little longer to craft. There is a lot of emotion behind this one, for Rob & Beth and for all of us who love them. He has carefully chosen to share his story with us, because it truly is a testimony of how God’s grace and this baby church have helped him through a difficult time.

In February 2006 Rob Lott was in Tokyo, working for Disney Entertainment, when he received a phone call out of the blue from Rich Barrett, his former youth pastor in his hometown of Akron, OH. Rob was surprised by the call. He and Rich had kept in touch since Rob graduated high school and moved to Orlando to work for Disney in 2000, but it was a big deal for Rich to call Rob on the phone in Tokyo.… Read the rest

Posted February 1, 2008