Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What's in a Name?

Certainly a rose by any name is just as sweet, but when you name your child or your church, you choose carefully. A number of our core team members have contemplated this question for months with the intent to choose a name that will serve to describe what's at the very heart of our new church.

Church should be a place where people of all backgrounds feel welcome. There should be no unwritten rules to follow before you can be accepted. Everyone should find church to be a safe place where they can ask questions about God and not feel judged. We want church to be a place where everyone feels included, even those who have never been to church before in their lives. I mean, really, isn't that the whole point of church? To help people who don't feel all that close to God find out what He's really like?

Since we didn't know what part of town we'll eventually be meeting in, we couldn't choose a geographic name like North Point, and we wanted a name that would evoke all of the above. We wanted to be distinctive. Securing an available domain was also important. We contacted some naming consultants and spent a good deal of time reading on the value of a name when building a new identity.

So, we've just received approval from the state of Florida to operate using our new name, Access Church, because we really believe that church should provide a relational point of contact for everyone to know the one true God and all of His love for us.

I can't say thanks enough to Brad, Zoie, Dianne, Chip, Susan, and Katherine, who arrived at this name together, and many of you reading this blog who offered valuable push-back through the process. Let's pray that this body of Christ lives out the name and provides excellent environments that help people connect with God, each other, and those outside the church.

Director of Administration and Group Life

Ben and Audrey Habeck have accepted our invitation to join the Jacksonville team, and we are thrilled to have them! A 2002 graduate of Cornerstone University, Ben has been in Atlanta for the past four years as an accountant and entrepreneur. His wife, Audrey, is in sales and marketing for AmTrust.

This is a huge decision for the Habecks, as they will leave behind family, job security, and a North Point Community group they were really beginning to groove with. The leap from secular employment to a leadership position within the church is sure to be full of exciting surprises, as well!

Ben is currently a consultant in the field of accounting and will be transitioning to full-time employment with us near the end of October. He and Audrey will move to Jacksonville sometime before the end of the year as Audrey transitions her job to Florida and they await the sale of their home.

Rob and Stephanie and I have known Ben for 12 years, and we can vouch for his character, his ability to influence people in the best of ways, and his knack for accessorizing your home in just the right shade of Charmin! Audrey loves the Lord, loves Ben, and is excited to see what God has in store for them in Jacksonville. As our time in Alpharetta winds down, we are so pleased to see God building the right team to lead people in Jacksonville into a growing relationship with God.

Please continue to pray for this developing team as we look to fill the position of Family Ministry Director. We are especially interested in someone with a real heart for intergenerational ministry and experience ministering to the family unit as a whole.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lead Pastor Retreat

Can you remember playing junior high basketball? Now, imagine if, as a junior high basketball player, you were invited to hang out with LeBron and a few other all-stars for a couple of days!

Well, I've just returned from 48 hours at the beautiful Brasstown Valley Resort with the likes of Andy Stanley, John Woodall, Jeff Henderson, 10 other lead pastors, and the NPMI campus expansion team. What a great time! We spent a lot of time discussing tactical issues, but balanced that with some fantastic sessions led by John and Jeff on life balance and being men of wisdom. Some very practical tools were discussed, and some great time was spent focusing on the application of Psalm 1.

I come away more humbled than ever that God has chosen to given us this church in Jacksonville to care for and encouraged that He has great things in store! Please continue to pray for the rest of the team that He is calling and for the transition to Jacksonville in just a few weeks.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Rich and I finished the Catalyst conference this past week. I've got nothing but great stuff to report. So, here's my "Reading Rainbow" update.

We got to the first day just in time for some amazing worship and the first keynote speaker, Andy Stanley. As if it needs to be said, he was great. Rich commented that he could go home right then—that just hearing what Andy had to say was worth the trip. I talked him into sticking around for a little while longer.

The two days were a great mix of information, food for thought, and entertainment. When we arrived for the second day, we were all met with pillows on our seats. We set a new world record for the biggest pillow fight. After lunch, all 10 thousand of us were armed with rubber balls in order to take on the current dodgeball champions (which happened to be a team of youth pastors).

This was my first Catalyst conference, and it certainly won't be my last. All of the speakers were excellent, including Marcus Buckingham, Louie Giglio, Kevin Carroll, and Donald Miller. Donald Miller said some especially thought-provoking stuff (which I may bring up in future blogs). I think some of the week's events can be heard on the Catalyst Podcast.

Catalyst is doing excellent work for church leaders; I hope we can take a bunch of folks next year. I know I won't want to miss it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Catalyst starts this week in Duluth, and Rob and I will be soaking in sessions with great presenters like Andy Stanley, John Maxwell, Marcus Buckingham, Eugene Petersen, Louie Giglio, Donald Miller, John Stott, Rick McKinley, George Barna, Kevin Carroll, and Gary Haugen. What's not to like? See you at the Arena!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Join Our Email List!

Add your email address to the form below, and we'll add you to our database so you can be sure to know what things are developing with the Jacksonville partnership!

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List iconSign up for our email newsletter!