Jason and Laura Webb
When Jason and Laura Webb began searching for a place to learn and grow in the Jacksonville area, they assumed they would feel most comfortable in something that mirrored the churches of their past. Jason was raised in a traditional church, and Laura began attending a church similar to Jason’s during college. They visited several churches, but never felt “at home.” “Nothing resonated with us. We didn’t get excited about going back week after week,” Laura said.
Jason and Laura were invited to Access Church when it first opened, but declined the invitation. They didn’t think they could be impacted by a message delivered via video. A few months later, their good friends, Doug and Janie Hurley, invited them to give Access a try. This time they accepted the invitation.
At the time, Access didn’t meet in an official church facility. But despite the lack of a dedicated church “building” or an on-site communicator, the lessons were applicable to Jason and Laura. “Andy Stanley shares biblical messages in a way that applies to our current culture,” Laura said. “I’m amazed that something written thousands of years ago is relevant and impactful today.”
The formula Jason and Laura knew from their church backgrounds was to attend on Sunday, check the “present” box, and move on. It was wonderful to see everyone inside the building, but they weren’t doing life with the people they saw at church each week. One of the reasons Access was a good fit for Jason and Laura is because friendships at church began to bleed over into everyday life. “The people we met at church were the same people who lived in our community,” Laura said.
Jason and Laura also began to participate in a Community Group that met weekly to discuss how to apply the messages to everyday life. The initial skepticism about the format of Access turned into a passion to be part of this new and different concept of church.
The kids’ environments at Access have also had an impact. “Waumba Land and UpStreet are a great fit for our girls, who are three and six,” Jason said. “The singing, dancing, and messages are really geared toward kids.”
Jason and Laura jumped into serving at Access and started out as leaders in their daughter’s Waumba Land class. But after several months in this role, they felt they might be better suited for another volunteer position. During the message series, “It Matters,” they realized how crucial strategic service is to Access. They were presented with several opportunities to volunteer and encouraged to pray about what talents and abilities God gifted them with. Now Laura is enjoying her role as part of Guest Services. Her outgoing personality and ability to easily converse with new friends make it a good fit. Jason, who is a bit on the quiet side, found that the set-design team is a great area for him.
When Jason and Laura reflect on the mission of Access Church, they believe that Access “gets it.” They often hear, “This church is for the un-churched.” “Many churches have gotten it all wrong and focus on themselves instead of reaching out to those who don’t know Christ,” Laura said. “I love the philosophy of Access. They are more concerned with reaching people than keeping people.”
The comfort of tradition could never be as exciting as the opportunity for spiritual growth. “The most powerful thing I can say is that it being involved at Access has changed the way we live our lives,” Laura said. For a couple that was initially nervous about “change,” this is a pretty impressive transformation.