Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Tampa's LifePoint Church to offer services in South Tampa

He comes from north of Kennedy Boulevard. New Tampa folks know his name. He's their pastor, or rather that pastor from the big church that causes traffic problems on Sundays.

Out that way, he's Pastor Brad White, founder of the 2,000-plus member LifePoint Church.

In South Tampa, he's just the latest guy trying to start something new. He realizes people see him as a stranger, but he wants to change that.

"In New Tampa, we have credibility," White said, preparing his team for the launch of LifePoint South Tampa's opening today. "Here, for all these people know, I could be David Koresh."

• • •

The dream started a decade ago when White, now 39, led a small congregation at the New Tampa YMCA. Money was tight, but steady growth propelled the church forward. White, a graduate of Gulf Coast Seminary in Panama City, Fla., tailored his sermons to reach unbelievers.

As a teen growing up in Louisiana, he lost a friend to suicide. The experience prompted him to seek out the lost, he says.

At LifePoint, he didn't care if visitors came dressed in gym shorts and smoked cigarettes in the parking lot. Church was about reaching the broken, not catering to the holy-roller crowd, he told members. Soon hundreds came to hear him speak about stress, sex, work and how it all relates to the Bible.

By 2007, LifePoint moved into its own building, a former Winn-Dixie off Bruce B. Downs Boulevard rebuilt to house a worship hall, youth rooms and offices. White gained a following online as well, broadcasting sermons and using social networking sites for advertising. He tweeted about people giving their lives to Christ on Sundays. Church attendance went from hundreds to thousands.

Today, White preaches at four Sunday services and one Saturday night service. A staff of eight and dozens of volunteers help him keep the church running, from managing parking to signing children up for programs each week. There are mission trips to go on and youth events to attend. Still, White wanted to take on more.

"I've always wanted to open a South Tampa campus," he said. "About six months ago, I decided to take the leap and just do it. I'm addicted to saving lives."

• • •

A team of six, led by Executive Pastor Don Allensworth, will oversee LifePoint South Tampa. The church will meet one Sunday a month through January at Kate Jackson Community Center in Hyde Park. A grand opening is planned for February, when LifePoint will launch weekly worship. Services will mirror those in New Tampa, Allensworth said.

About 50,000 mailers went out last week to South Tampa homes and businesses. Still, White worries no one will show up. At a prelaunch meeting, he urged his team to pass out invite cards and spread the word. He said it's like starting over again. He envisions something big happening in South Tampa, but it will take time.

"My goal is to have 50 people there on Sunday," he said.

Visitors can expect contemporary worship music and themed messages. Most weeks, White will appear life-size on a 6-foot flat-screen TV. Allensworth will introduce his sermons and serve as the go-to pastor for South Tampa members.

"It's a concept even I was skeptical about at first, Allensworth said. "But the screen is so big, it's like he's really there."

Some New Tampa members who live or work in South Tampa will migrate to the new church.

Jose Lubrano, for instance, used to drive 60 miles round trip on Sundays. Now, it will only take him a few minutes.

"I'm glad its going to be closer," he said. "This way I can invite more friends from out here, too."

Reach Sarah Whitman at (813) 661-2439 or swhitman@sptimes.com.

.If you go

LifePoint

South Tampa

Services will be at 10 a.m. today. Upcoming services will be held Oct. 9, Nov. 13 and Dec. 11. Kate Jackson Community Center, 821 S Rome Ave. For more information, visit lifepoint.tv/southtampa.

New Tampa's LifePoint Church to offer services in South Tampa 09/15/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 16, 2011 11:15am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. PolitiFact takes on big health care question: Does GOP bill cut Medicaid?

    National

    Politics and math don't always get along, and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway raised a common complaint about how people talk about the future of Medicaid spending under the Senate Republican health care bill.

    Alice Jacobs, 90, at Dogwood Village, a nonprofit county-owned nursing home in Orange, Va., on June 23. Medicaid, targeted by Republicans' health care bill, pays for most of the 1.4 million elderly people in nursing homes, some of whom do not know they are on it. (Khue Bui/The New York Times)
  2. Higher Social Security payouts help Florida post a big jump in personal income

    Personal Finance

    Personal income grew 1.3 percent in Florida in the first quarter of this year, a four-way tie among all states for second-fastest growth behind Idaho.

  3. Gov. Scott in Washington as health care debate intensifies

    Blogs

    Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday began a daylong series of meetings in Washington on health care, saying he wants to ensure Florida gets its share of Medicaid funding while praising parts of the Senate GOP’s Obamacare replacement.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks at Creative Sign Designs in Tampa on June 13.
  4. Rays series preview: Who are the Pirates?

    Blogs

    After an off day Monday, the Rays head on the road to PNC Park for a three-game interleague series against the Pirates. Here's the information you need to know about Pittsburgh before the action kicks off.

    Record: 35-41, fourth in NL Central

    Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, left, has rebounded from a rough start, while fellow outfielder Gregory Polanco, right, has fallen off recently.
  5. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo in Parkshore Plaza on the market for $1.5 million. {Courtesy of Amy Lamb/Native House Photography]