Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Special downtown church services emerge weekly

DOWNTOWN — Gospel music escapes from a small meeting room at the Hyatt Regency just a few steps away from the bustling activity of an adjacent downtown office building.

A pianist serving double duty as worship leader gives instructions to a dozen people in the makeshift sanctuary.

Lift your hands, he tells them. Clap. Sing along: "Lord, I worship you because of who you are."

All the while, a clock with big red numbers ticks off the seconds. It's noontime, and most are on their midday break from work, so the lunch hour must be strictly honored.

The service is part of a program called Market Street Inspirations, a ministry for professionals. Since January, members of Bethany Christian Discipleship Church in New Tampa have hosted this downtown worship service every Tuesday.

When Pastor Richard Lockett Jr. stands to deliver his message, he paces across the room and makes grand gestures with his hands. It's as if he's delivering the sermon to a sanctuary of 1,000, not about a dozen people scattered in a hotel conference room.

His message is tailored to workers, especially those who feel underutilized, unappreciated or who are still searching for that perfect career.

One recent sermon focused on dealing with frustration. Lockett suggests a mixture of patience and hopefulness. Each person, he says, possesses the potential for greatness, but they sometimes hinder their own success.

"You limit your potential," he says.

The audience consists mostly of Bethany members, including some who drive downtown solely for the service. Visitors, however, are starting to trickle in.

Thomas Hester and a co-worker attended after someone handed him a flier. Hester, who works for the city but also serves as an associate pastor at his own church, said he appreciated Lockett's targeted message.

"He speaks to things that folks are dealing with on a personal and professional level," Hester said.

The church provides a free lunch of sandwiches and chips and Lockett adheres to an hour time limit.

First Baptist Church of Tampa has a similar outreach program, the Business Bible Study Luncheon, every Thursday.

Chris Haight, the church's associate pastor for evangelism, sometimes centers discussion on a topic or current event. But usually the focus is on a specific book of the Bible, he said, "starting at chapter one and going all the way through to the end."

First Baptist has hosted the Bible study for several years, averaging five to 10 attendees a week. Some are downtown workers, some are homeless people who stick around after receiving lunch.

Similarly, Lockett wants Market Street Inspirations to appeal to a wider audience than the members of Bethany, including people who don't go to church at all on Sundays.

Michele Patterson works in Brandon but drives into Tampa to attend the Market Street Inspirations service every few weeks.

The service allows her to feel connected to her Bethany church family and maintain her spiritual focus throughout the workweek.

"You're so busy with stuff, and this service allows you to reconnect with God and the Word," she said. "It actually gives you a pause from the busyness."

Tia Mitchell can be reached at tmitchell@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3405.

.Fast facts

Lunchtime worship

•Market Street Inspirations is held every Tuesday from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. It will be held at the Hyatt Regency Tampa most months, but other locations may be added.

For more information, visit bcdctheplace.org or call toll-free 1-866-756-2538.

•First Baptist Church of Tampa's Business Bible Study Luncheon is held every Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. in the church's dining room, 302 W Kennedy Blvd.

For more information, visit fbctampa.org or call the church at (813) 251-2425.

Special downtown church services emerge weekly 04/07/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 7, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Letter from 'many' St. Petersburg High faculty, staff to Pinellas School Board pushes for assistant principal to be next principal

    Blogs

    A St. Petersburg High teacher sent a letter on the behalf of "many" school faculty and staff to the Pinellas County School Board and school district superintendent Mike Grego in support of appointing their assistant principal, Darlene Lebo, as principal.

    Darlene Lebo, an assistant principal at St. Petersburg High, is supported by "many" school faculty and staff to be the school's next principal, according to a letter sent to the Pinellas County School Board.
  2. 2017 Florida Theme Park Guide: A look at this summer's top attractions

    Attractions

    Florida's theme parks are getting ready for their busiest season with new rides, shows and perks, and we have rounded up a guide to the best new things to see.

    The newest fireworks presentation at Magic Kingdom uses lasers, lights, projections and pyrotechnics showing characters and scenes from more than 25 Disney films. [Walt Disney World]
  3. Meet 'rave pops,' the EDM-loving, hard-dancing 72-year-old who went viral via the Sunset Music Festival (w/video)

    Music & Concerts

    Alan Grofé is a 72-year-old, semi-retired entrepreneur and former tech executive with frost-white hair, two grown children and five grandchildren.

    Alan Grofe dances at the Electric Daisy Carnival festival in Orlando in 2016. [aLIVE Coverage for Insomniac]
  4. Humana adding 200 telemarketing jobs in Tampa Bay

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Health insurance company Humana Inc. is hiring more than 200 workers in Tampa Bay. The Louisville, Ky.-based company said Wednesday that the new positions will focus on phone sales for Humana's direct marketing services department.

    Humana is adding 200 positions to its Tampa office. Theo Sai, chief medical officer for seniro products at Humana, is pictured in the company's Tampa executive office in 2015. | Rachel Crosby, Times
  5. Congressman wants Trump to pay for Mar-a-Lago travel

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON -- This bill won’t go anywhere, but give Rep. Alcee Hastings creative points with the TRUMPED Act, aka Taxpayers Require Urgent Mandatory Protection from Egregious Debt Act of 2017: