Since this blog began, we’ve been telling the stories of people God has brought to Access Church. For many of you, these stories have become the number one reason to read this blog.
Today’s story has taken a little longer to craft. There is a lot of emotion behind this one, for Rob & Beth and for all of us who love them. He has carefully chosen to share his story with us, because it truly is a testimony of how God’s grace and this baby church have helped him through a difficult time.
In February 2006 Rob Lott was in Tokyo, working for Disney Entertainment, when he received a phone call out of the blue from Rich Barrett, his former youth pastor in his hometown of Akron, OH. Rob was surprised by the call. He and Rich had kept in touch since Rob graduated high school and moved to Orlando to work for Disney in 2000, but it was a big deal for Rich to call Rob on the phone in Tokyo. “I knew something was up,” Rob said.
Rich told Rob that he was starting a church in Florida in partnership with North Point Ministries of Atlanta. He asked if Rob was interested in the service programming position for the new church, which would put Rob in charge of creating the adult worship environment.
Rob questioned his interest in church work. “People have always told me that I would be a good children’s or youth pastor, but I had never wanted to do that,” he said. “I wanted to work with the best of the best production-wise, and that’s why I chose Disney.”
Despite Rob’s reservations, Rich sent some North Point materials to Rob in Tokyo. As soon as Rob saw the materials, he knew that North Point was going above and beyond any church or secular production company he’d ever seen. “I really did want to use my gifts and talents for a higher purpose,” he said. “It was very exciting to think that I could be part of something like a North Point partnership church on the ground floor. I was definitely interested.”
Rob discussed the possible job change with his wife, Beth, and they agreed to move forward with the new church. Rob returned from Tokyo in May 2006, began the North Point internship in September, and moved to Jacksonville in November. He immediately jumped on board and helped plan the beginnings of Access Church.
But before long, Rob and Beth began to discover that there were some serious problems in their marriage. The two worked at their differences, but in early February, Beth left Jacksonville and soon after requested a divorce. “We both had made a lot of mistakes,” Rob said. “I resigned from my position at Access because I was in no place mentally or spiritually to be doing my job.”
Rob returned to work in Orlando, but strongly believed in Access Church and wanted to continue to have a part. Rich narrowed Rob’s position down to a volunteer creative director. “I am responsible for the overall flow of the service and the look and feel of the environment—putting on the final touches,” Rob said. “I love it because that kind of work comes naturally to me.”
Although he spends most of his time in Orlando, Rob makes the two-hour drive to Jacksonville twice a month to volunteer and take part in the services. “I get very energized about what we’re doing at Access,” he said. “There is a phenomenal team of volunteers there. Their mindset is to go for excellence and nothing less, and it shows.”
Rob continues to wait on God’s timing for him and for Access. “I’m still in strong prayer that my marriage will come back together,” he said. “Beth and I have a lot to forgive each other for. I regret how our marriage ended and how that also affected Access in its infancy stages. But I believe all that happened in my life needed to happen. Access Church is all about life change. Life change is happening for me, and I’m thankful that God had already connected me to Access Church when the crisis came along.”
I am personally so grateful for Rob’s contributions over the past two years as we have imagined together how this church could bring glory to God. I’m grateful that he’s willing to share his story with us and that we can all continue to love on him and Beth. Thanks, Rob!