Friday, December 21, 2007

New Music Director

Jacksonville musician Darin Peckham has been playing guitar in our worship services since last spring. You can imagine how excited we were when Darin recently joined the Access team in a part-time role as music director!

Darin's responsibilities include lining up the band and the worship selection each Sunday. He also works with Rob Lott, coordinating the creative elements of the service.

Originally from Port Orange, Darin has been in Jacksonville since his UNF days. Darin is married to Sarah and is the very proud father of Ruby. Darin can usually be found mixing it up with local musicians around town or in his home studio producing music for some of Jacksonville's finest.

Darin and Sarah are two of the nicest people you'll ever meet. Be sure to wish them a merry Christmas on Monday evening.

You will be there Monday evening, right? 5:00 & 6:30pm. Invite a friend!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Student Pastor

Access Church is excited to announce the newest addition to our staff! Brian Reese will be serving in the role of Student Pastor, working to lead middle- and high-school students into growing relationships with Jesus Christ. Brian will start in January.

Brian and his fiancé, Jamie, are both from Sarasota, Florida and are excited about the move to Jacksonville. Brian is an avid fisherman and outdoorsman, as well as an active musician. In fact, Brian first became aware of the North Point model of ministry through his college roommate and fellow musician, Kristian Stanfill.

Growing up in Venice, Florida (the shark tooth capital of the world), Brian has worked with students at two churches prior to joining our team at Access Church. He has led everything from programming and production to small group environments.

It will be with small group environments that Brian will initially focus his efforts at Access, in addition to building a team of volunteer adults willing to whole-heartedly invest in students. Brian and Jamie expect to be married in February.

Please welcome them warmly!


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

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.

In December 2004, David explained that North Point had just launched strategic partnerships in Dothan, Alabama, and Athens, Georgia. These churches operated much like a North Point campus, showing Andy Stanley's messages, except that they were farther from Alpharetta and were independent churches. David asked if I would be interested in leading a strategic partnership. I laughed! I had never been a senior pastor and considered myself unprepared for such a venture. But the idea began to germinate.

Over the next year, Stephanie and I met with many of the NPM staff members and discussed several possibilities of what it might look like for us to join in what God was doing through North Point. We immersed ourselves in the culture and learned all we could about this fascinating church. Finding the right fit proved to be a challenge until finally David and I found ourselves at Starbucks (again) shortly before Christmas of 2005. We discussed the strategic partnership model again, and Stephanie and I agreed that we would lead the next North Point partnership. But where?

Stephanie and I are both originally from south Florida, and immediately began to think about how exciting it would be to return to Florida and take the North Point ministry model with us. West Palm Beach was home, had all the right demographics, and seemed like a perfect opportunity. But David kept calling us and telling us about this amazing story God was writing in Jacksonville. Every time I would call David to discuss West Palm Beach or some other location, he would tell me about all the people you've previously read about on our blog. "Go meet them," he said. "They're amazing people."

David was right. By the time we'd made two trips to Jacksonville in the spring of 2006, God was convincing us that Jacksonville was the right place to move our family and begin a new ministry. The launch team here was everything you'd want from a group of people starting a church, because they understood that this wasn't about them! In fact, these people—the ones you've read about—made it clear to us that they believed the last thing Jacksonville needed was another church. Instead, they wanted to create environments where people of all backgrounds and beliefs would be encouraged to pursue a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Soon, we were packing our boxes in Ohio and saying goodbye to friends of 15 years. It was surreal. For years, we had prayed that God would return us to the South. For years, we had studied and admired the North Point model of ministry. Now we would have the opportunity to launch a North Point partnership in our home state!

In July of 2006 we moved to Alpharetta and began a four-month internship at North Point, which allowed us to meet some of the greatest people you'd ever want to know and ask a lot of questions about the philosophies and strategies of ministry at North Point, Buckhead, and Brown's Bridge. We've lived here in Jacksonville since November and are enjoying it more every day. It's home!

We are so blessed to have been given this opportunity. We're operating way beyond our level of knowledge or expertise and completely relying on God to build his church. We repeatedly say, "This was His idea, not ours, so we'll trust Him to work out all the details!"

The road to Access has proven to be an amazing ride. God's given us a great launch team, great staff, and an unbelievably exciting response in the community. Thanks to all who read this and pray, give, invite, and serve! Thanks for partnering with us to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ!

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Thursday, May 24, 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. He has served two congregations as their Family Ministry Pastor.

Adam and Kristen love Jesus Christ and "can't wait to help create environments where we all can invite our friends to experience life to the fullest." Adam & Kristen became familiar with North Point during their time in Atlanta at Columbia, and have several friends among the staff of North Point Ministries.

Adam begins at Access June 17. Look for the Flynts in the hall and introduce yourself. They can’t wait to meet you!


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Technical Director

Kevin Bunnell recently joined our staff in the part-time role of Technical Director. Kevin is an old friend, originally from Ohio, and has just moved to Jacksonville to help launch Access Church. Kevin says, "God has been working on me to learn to work and live open-handed with Him. I am so excited to be able to use my technical skills to help others learn about Jesus on a deeper level."

Pray for Kevin as he adjusts to being far from friends and family and enjoys new relationships here in Florida. We're so glad to have Kevin for both his technical skills and his pursuit of God and people. He is skilled with lights, sound, and video, but even better, he's a great guy to work with. Kevin holds degrees from Cedarville University and Trinity International Univesity, with a strong background in media. You're gonna love him!