Shane Platten first came to Access Church because he was hired to play bass in the the adult worship service. “At that point I was a know-it-all Christian,” he said. “I have to say, I was arrogant about it, too, even though I wasn’t living it.” His wife, Annessa, didn’t go to Access with Shane at first. She had grown up in church but hadn’t engaged in awhile. “I had just come off of being a single mom for eight years,” she said. “I knew with church there were always hoops to jump through, and I didn’t feel like I was up to the expectations.”
Right away, the value placed on excellence was evident to Shane as a musician. “I liked the excellence,” he said, “but it was the atmosphere of caring that Darin and Kevin created for the band that really made Access different.”
Shane wanted Annessa to experience this, too.“Before, Shane was checked out about faith, but I started to see something change in him, so I came,” Annessa said.… Read the restPosted July 12, 2018
Kyal and Shana Rector are familiar with the task of finding a church in a new area. They have been through the process before. Their military background has moved them all over the United States. But a career change placed them in the St. Johns area, and they found themselves once again looking for a church.
As parents of two small children, they were looking for a place that would value their children. One of the first memories Shana has of Access Church is when her daughter accidentally knocked over a tray of cookies at a Christmas Eve service just last month. Stephanie Barrett laughed it off, told Shana it was no big deal, and went on to explain that raising four children herself had taught her not to worry about things like that.
“It was a small thing, but it really made us realize that this church was a good fit for our entire family. Access has such a positive family culture,” Shana said.… Read the restPosted January 24, 2018
Did you have a positive influence in your life as a teenager? Perhaps someone came into your life at a crucial time and made an investment in you, the dividends of which you still feel today. At Access we talk a lot about all the ways God uses these kinds of pivotal relationships to help us on our faith journey. It’s hard to think of a a more critical time for this than middle and high school, when the pressures are strong and the choices made can have far-reaching consequences.
Justin Smith knows the pressures students face. And because of the people who invested in him as a teenager, he knows the difference it makes when someone takes a vested interest in helping a teenager navigate the tough choices. Justin is passionate about connecting students to God and community and equipping them to make wise choices. We’re excited to have Justin join our Access staff as Student Ministry Director. He’s working hard to to continue creating an environment where students feel connected, safe, and encouraged in their developing faith journey.… Read the restPosted December 13, 2017
As the holidays approach, many of us will open our doors to family and friends. Our homes will be clean, de-cluttered, and filled with inviting scents. These are intentional actions meant to communicate that we value our guests and have spent time and energy preparing for them. At the end of the day, we want our guests to know that they matter to us.
This is the heart we operate with at Access Church. We want our guests to know we have thought about them before they even enter the property. Since this requires a team effort, we needed a leader that embodies the essence of hospitality. It makes sense, then, that we welcome Stephanie Barrett to our Access staff as our Guest Experience Director.
Stephanie has been a part of Access Church since 2006, when it was a small group of people meeting in a home, dreaming about starting a church that unchurched people love to attend. She has been involved in many volunteer roles since she helped launch Access from student ministry to women’s groups and more.… Read the restPosted November 27, 2017
If you step into the UpStreet large-group environment on a Sunday morning, several things become evident: we believe the Bible should never be boring, worship can be really loud, and Sundays should be fun. You will see the UpStreet Production Team working to leverage every minute they have to make truth memorable. In the middle of it all, you’ll find Hal Henry helping make it happen. Over the years the Henry family has been an integral part of UpStreet at Access Church, and we’re excited to welcome Hal to our Access staff as our UpStreet Production Director.
Invited to Access by neighbors in 2009, Hal and Hope Henry were drawn in by the music and practical teaching they heard. “I can’t tell you how many times I said to Hope that I felt like Andy was talking directly to me,” Hal said. “My kids asking me to take them to church was just icing on the cake. Not only were Justine and Joe having fun, the things they were learning were coming home with them.”
The Henrys wanted to be a part of making this happen for other families, so they began to volunteer at Access.… Read the restPosted November 15, 2017
Sunday was incredible!
We launched Be Rich, our annual campaign in which we join with our network of churches to unleash a wave a generosity in our own community and around the world.
Sunday we launched the Give part of Be Rich by collecting donations, 100% of which will go outside our walls to:
- Hurricane Irma Victims
- 6:8 Ministries in Costa Rica
- Foster Closet
If you missed your chance to give Sunday at Access, or if you’d like to give more, click here to give online. (Be sure to designate your gift for “Be Rich.”)
This Sunday, November 12, there’s no service at Access. Instead, we’re serving our community by helping with hurricane relief and cleanup 8:30am-noon. We’ll give you further instructions including where to meet this week via email. Sign up to join us on our Be Rich page.
Our UpStreet kids (K-5th grade) are learning all about Gratitude this month and are joining in on the fun of Be Rich.… Read the restPosted November 9, 2017
We’re so excited to welcome Sarah Peckham to our Access Church staff as our new Waumba Land Director. Waumba Land is our environment for preschoolers. Our mission in Waumba Land is “to make a first impression of the heavenly Father in such a way that it makes a lasting impression on the heart of a child.” Sarah is passionate about this mission and about leading and supporting volunteers while partnering with families. “I’m excited that I get such an awesome opportunity to show God’s love to the smallest people at Access,” she said.
Sarah visited Access for the first time when her husband, Darin, was asked to play guitar. “I was hooked immediately,” she said. “The message was practical, and I knew our daughter, Ruby, would have a great time in Waumba Land.”
That was 10 years ago, and since that day the Peckhams have become an important part of the Access family. Sarah knew right away that she wanted to be part of what God was doing through Access. … Read the restPosted October 23, 2017
How would you like to spend a day with Andy Stanley, learning what he is most passionate about?
Deep & Wide is a one-day conference with Andy, and it’s right down the road in Orlando!
All Access volunteers are invited to join us November 9, so we can learn together how to make Access even more irresistible to unchurched people. It’s a day designed to help us turn up the irresistible in our programming, preaching, and community presence. Andy will share what he’s learned in the past 25 years about creating churches unchurched people love to attend. The day will be structured around four talks by Andy along with two extended Q&As. The content will be practical, actionable, biblical, and field-tested.
You, our volunteers, work so hard to create environments at Access Church that unchurched people love to attend. Because of you, God has used Access to change so many lives. Just scroll through this blog some time and read the awesome stories you’ve helped shape.… Read the restPosted October 20, 2017
Take 10 teenagers, 3 college students, 75 kids, and 4 host homes all over town. Add UpStreet-style storytelling about God’s love, great music, and lots of water fun. Mix it together, and you have an amazing week of summer called Camp95.
The goal of Camp 95 was to bring “all the fun of UpStreet to your street,” and for three days in four different neighborhoods around Jacksonville, the Camp95 student leadership team did just that. “The highlight of the week for me was seeing the kids have such a great time,” student leader Brennan Robles said.
From the moment kids arrived at the Camp95 host home, the fun was non-stop. Students led kids in singing and dancing to UpStreet songs and kept each other cool and wet with wacky water games. Every day the students used skits and stories told in fun ways to engage kids with the good news of God’s love. “It was great to see kids who wouldn’t let go of their parent when they arrived for the first time not want to leave when it was over,” student leader Chase Barrett said.… Read the restPosted August 7, 2017
Costa Rica, with its coastline, mountains, and rainforest, is a beautiful place to spend your time. What about spending your sweat, your work, and your heart there as well?
July 4 a group of 15 Access Church adults and teenagers returned from a week-long globalX trip to Costa Rica, where they did just that. Why go to the trouble? Why give up a week of vacation, take the time off work, save and raise funds, pack work clothes, and brave the language barrier, different food, and cold showers? Why visit a city and head straight for the places children live in the ravages of poverty and need when it is easier just to stay away? Why work to serve people you may never see again? “It was the hardest work I’ve ever done, but it was the greatest,” said a teen globalX team member. “It’s hard to explain how it could be hard and fun like that.”
How could doing hard things be the “greatest thing” to do? … Read the restPosted July 14, 2017
One-day Conference for Access Volunteers
Thursday, November 9
All Access volunteers are invited to join us November 9 for Deep & Wide, a one-day conference with Andy Stanley. Deep & Wide is designed to help church leaders turn up the irresistible in their programming and community presence. Andy will share what he’s learned in the past 25 years about creating churches unchurched people love to attend.
The day will be structured around four talks delivered by Andy along with two extended Q&As. The content will be practical, actionable, biblical, and field-tested. Don’t miss this great opportunity!
The cost for Access volunteers is only $29 through June 7. The cost includes transportation, lunch and dinner, and the conference. (Register early because the cost increases to $39 on June 8. Then on Sept. 1 it increases to $49, and on Oct. 13 it increases to $99.)
Angie and Shane Hamilton thought they knew church. They both grew up attending church and had tried various churches off and on as adults. “It was boring, and I felt I had to change my life to be a part of it,” Shane said. “It just seemed easier not to go.”
Angie’s disenchantment began as a teenager. “I didn’t want to stick to the strict rules of the church and, for the most part, I stopped going,” she said. “I never lost my faith in Jesus, but I lost my faith in church.”
To Angie and Shane, church seemed to ask for a lot without giving much in return, and church like this didn’t seem worth the requirements involved.
After they had their boys, Isaac (now 11) and Mitchell (now 9), Angie and Shane felt the need to go to church again for their kids’ sake. They tried several churches, but couldn’t seem to commit to going much. Then Angie went for a run on Losco Road near their home and saw that Access Church had moved into the neighborhood.… Read the restPosted April 28, 2017
Thanks to Brian Smith for being bold and publicly professing his trust in Jesus though baptism on Easter!
Access is committed to being a church that’s easy to invite people to. “Invest and invite” is shorthand for our desire for the people in our lives to experience what has impacted us. Yet as easy as we try to make it, inviting remains a very personal thing. What makes Access people so passionate about inviting?
Jamie and Andy Kichert are two of these passionate people. They have invited many to join them at Access. Recently a family came to Access because they overheard Jamie and Andy inviting their Publix cashier! We asked Jamie for the story behind their passion.
Give us a snapshot of your faith story.
God really drew us. Neither of our families were church-goers. I would say I was a self-absorbed person. After we were married, in our twenties, we came to one of those crisis points. Andy was going to UNF and was in the military. Our son, Aiden, was five months old, and we found out we were going to have Lila.… Read the restPosted March 24, 2017
We’re excited that 19-year-old Zach Mengel has joined our Access Church staff. When he came on board this past summer, he jumped into helping with Waumba Land (preschool), UpStreet (elementary), and InsideOut (high school) and assisting Lead Pastor Rich Barrett.
Zach was invited by a friend to visit Access, and he attended for the first time in August 2015, at the start of his senior year in high school. The second time he visited, his friend was unable to attend, and Zach went alone. The week after that, he brought his mom. From there, Zach has regularly attended Access Church and said he loves it.
“I started going to Access because it provided me with a message style that was more applicable to my life,” Zach said. “I was going to church, but I wasn’t receiving anything. That was a really huge step for me personally, saying and admitting to myself that I needed more.”
Zach met Rich the first week he attended Access, and the second week when he returned, Rich remembered his name.… Read the restPosted February 23, 2017