JR & Lisa Ekern

We met J.R. & Lisa Ekern the first day we moved to Jacksonville. In fact, they had us over for dinner that evening and our families went trick-or-treating together that night. So, of course, when we had the “On Location” Sunday back in March, we included them in our neighborhood cookout.

A day or two later, Lisa told Stephanie they would like to visit Access Church. Sure enough, the whole family showed up on Palm Sunday. Even more surprising, they broke with family tradition and came to Access (along with some other neighbors) on Easter Sunday!

J.R. stopped me as I was walking the dog the next week, enthusiastic about the environments you create, and telling me about others he was inviting to Access.

The next Sunday they came back, with guests, stayed for fx: Family Experience, and went home with a virtue pack.

Lisa came over to visit the next week, saying, “We have had more conversations about God in our home in the past two weeks than we have in our entire lives! And our 9-year-old daughter actually understands how to apply the virtues. It’s all so practical!”

Two weeks later J.R. approached me and asked if we could talk about “church stuff” while up at the neighborhood pool.

We talked for about an hour, and he shared that while they had come to Access because they’d heard it was fun for kids, they found themselves growing as well! He said, “We’ve always been around church. Never once has it occurred to me to invite friends to church. Now I can’t help myself! I’m talking about Access all the time!”

“How can I be a part of this? I can’t just sit on the sidelines and watch.”

Two weeks ago Lisa began serving in Waumba Land, and last week J.R. began serving on Host Team.

Way to go, Access volunteers! You just defined “irresistible environments!” As a result, this family tree has been changed, for generations to come!.