W. Jason Burns lived and breathed the Assemblies of God growing up and into adulthood. But the connection to the Fellowship for the Lakeland, Florida, congregation that he started didn’t happen until he had an aha moment.
Burns, 40, is the founding and lead pastor of Access Church, which draws more than 1,200 regular attendees weekly. In 2007, Burns and his wife, Lis, started Access as a college Bible study in their living room with 15 friends. In the beginning, however, the church had no denominational affiliation.
In 2019, though, Burns became an ordained AG minister after attending a Church Multiplication Network (CMN) conference.
“During the conference, I saw such a bright future for our movement of churches and had this sense from God that I needed to be a part of the future,” Burns says. “No one brings change as a critic on the outside. You bring change by being involved.”
Burns, whose father, Billy J. Burns, is an AG evangelist, graduated with three degrees from AG schools, including a doctor of ministry from Southeastern University in 2020. Before starting Access, he traveled and spoke at AG district camps across the country.
Mike E. McCrary, director of strategic partnerships for the CMN, says Burns and Access were a good fit to join the AG.
“I know of very few 1,000-plus member churches that decided to affiliate with the AG after their beginning,” says McCrary. “I am grateful Jason saw the need for greater community and covering.”
Besides Access, Burns in 2013 started Radiant Printing, which is a partner of CMN. Also based in Lakeland with 16 full-time employees, Radiant Printing has worked with more than 3,000 congregations nationwide, especially church plants, providing products such as portable signage, posters, and retractable banners.
“For years, I served churches around the country as a graphic designer,” Burns says. “I saw a significant gap between the vision pastors had in their hearts and their ability to showcase it to their community with excellence.”
Aaron R. Burke, founding pastor of Radiant Church in Tampa, says Radiant Printing lifted a major burden for him as a church planter.
“If you can dream it, they can do it,” Burke says “From all of our signs, banners, promotional products, and worship guides, they have supplied us with everything we need to make our job easier and our Sunday experience better.”
McCrary calls Burns a “co-vocational” pastor “doing Kingdom business and pastoral ministry.”
“This model is likely the model of the future for church planters and new churches,” McCrary says. “We need innovators like Jason for the Kingdom to advance.”