Happy Birthday!

Tomorrow is a really special day for Access Church, because it was one year ago this weekend that we held our first public worship service. We had no idea what God was going to do through this church, and have been so thrilled with the energy and excitement that has surrounded this group of people.

It’s been an amazing year. I can’t believe it’s flown by so quickly! What started as a small group of seven couples sitting in circle and praying has become the most amazing journey of our lives. Now we’re launching environments for middle- and high-school and college students. There is so much yet to come!

We’ll celebrate with some special fun tomorrow, and a real highlight will be having Eddie Kirkland back to lead worship. Eddie led worship for our first-ever service and he holds a special place in our heart. Plus, he just released his first CD (on iTunes here) and you can pick up a copy tomorrow at the resources center.

Actually, it’s better to say that this weekend is our one-year anniversary of public Sunday services, because Access really began several years ago as God began to move in the hearts of a few people to begin a new church in Jacksonville for people that don’t go to church.

There was a vision of a church in Jacksonville where people who don’t even agree with us could be welcomed, and engaged, and challenged. If you’ve been away from church for a long time, or you’ve never been to church before someone invited you here, this church was started for you.

It began with a group of people praying big for what God might do if they surrendered their resources and relationships to him. These same couples began to set aside money for this dream, even before it had a name. They stepped up and volunteered to create incredible environments for kids and adults. And, when the time is right, they invited their friends. Many of you are now a part of Access because of their invitation.

We are so grateful for our heritage… for a team of people who began by submitting this project to God, and who would focus on such a simple mission. A lot has changed in the past year, there are a whole lot more of us around the circle, and we no longer fit in anyone’s living room! However, our mission has not changed. We still desire to be a church for the unchurched. We still need to pray for our future as an organization and all that’s ahead. We still need to give to see this church become self-sustaining. We still need to serve so that we can go to an every-Sunday schedule. And we still need to invite those around us to come alongside us and meet the God who has rescued us.

To those seven original couples, we say thanks—and to all of you who will help make the coming years just as amazing as the first, we say thank you in advance for leveraging your prayers, resources, time, and relationships.

Here’s to great stuff ahead!