In case you haven’t caught on yet we’ve really been enjoying this time in life when we can visit a lot of ministries and see what others are doing to reach the lost, make disciples, and impact their context. Here are two other churches we recently visited: a new PCA church plant on the west side of Tampa called “West Town Tampa Church“; and an older, larger powder-keg kind of a church on the south side of Tampa called “South Tampa Fellowship.”
I really enjoyed West Town Tampa Church, they meet in a school and they have to setup and tear down each week like a lot of church planting senarios. It reminded me of my time with Grace Christian Fellowship in its early days. West Town is only 2 1/2 years old and it was a parachute drop plant (meaning it was just Frank and his family at first, pictured above) and its looks like its grown to around 200 0r so. The church is very young, and the people really looked like they had already internalized their membership together as a family. The worship was done really well and Frank’s preaching/teaching style was a blend of story-telling and teaching about the historical and social setting of his passage (Ephesian’s 2). I was really blessed by the spirit of their community and totally encourage anyone on the westside of Tampa to check them out. They are a community excited about what Christ can do through them for West Tampa and beyond. I also noticed on their webpage that they value small group ministries and already have four up and running.
South Tampa Fellowship was the second church we visited in Tampa. Its a large 1200+ member church that meets off of the beautiful Bayshore Blvd. in south Tampa. They to my surprise were using simulcast right in their main facility. On the one side was the traditional church service (larger) and on the other was the modern one. Each room had their own worship band and announcement person. In addition to these services they own a site on Davis Island where their young adult singles crowd meets on Tuesday nights. They’re in the process of raising 4 million dollars to redo the site and update it. The message was well crafted and the worship was good. The pastor is Welsh and did his Masters at London Theological Seminary which I totally dug. For a long time I’d heard of the school and wondered what their people were like on the ground. He did a good job and I found myself at several points challenged by his applications. It was very apparent that South Tampa Fellowship is where some of the most affluent and influential Christians worship in Tampa. But it didn’t have a stigma of social status posturing at all. In fact we were about welcomed to death by them. One lady even took a picture of Cali and Jess and said she’d give us a copy when we come back next week. They are a church that has and no doubt will continue to make a big Kingdom impact in Tampa.