Bits and Pieces

Some say that church is still the most segregated place in the nation. I disagree. The diversity found in our church plants is inspiring. While on a recent trip to Florida I ate at a restaurant that made me think about how diversity, intentionally engaged, is a beautiful thing.

The Columbia Restaurant is the oldest restaurant in Florida and is still owned and operated by the Hernadez-Gonzmart family which started this amazing place in 1905. While Ybor city is most famous for the Cigar industry that thrived there in the late 1800’s, it is also famous for the origination of the famous Cuban Sandwich. The staple of the Columbia.

You see, the workers that made the cigars and the owners and operators of the cigar factories came from all over the World, and like every good factory, the workers needed a place to eat and the famous cuban sandwich was born by the collision of all these cultures: The Spanish brought the fine ham, the Sicilian’s brought the salami, the Cubans brought the mojo marinated roast pork, and the Germans and Jews brought the Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. They threw all those together on some fresh baked Tampa/Cuban bread and this amazing sandwich was born.

There is a great lesson to learn from this small bit of history. As church planters, if you can appeal to a multitude of cultures, expressions, and peoples in your geography, and put those together in an explosion of praise for the worship of Jesus, something incredible might come of it. Something that will withstand the test of time, and bring fame to His kingdom.

Here is the video I filmed on location at the Columbia Restaurant


Tampa Bay is the Largest Bay in the state of Florida and one of the largest in the United states of America. It is huge when you look at the numbers… 2,200 square miles of hustle and bustle. It’s Huge. It’s impressive… It seems healthy… You see people and ships coming and going… It’s Busy. To the casual observer it would seem that this bay is the epitome of what a bay should be. However…

The dark secret about Tampa Bay is that the Bay is very shallow. It averages only 12’ deep which hinders deeper, heavier content from entering its Harbors.

Now think about that as a church planter. How many of your peers are shooting for big, busy and beautiful and because of that are shallow and unhealthy?

Have you pondered the question: What’s better, shallow and explosive or deep and healthy? As you aim for “heavier content” and health as a church planter, ask Father to honor that commitment to go deep. He will bless you for that conviction and your church plant may just become a port that the heavy laiden can enter and lay those burdens down.

Here is a video I filmed on location in Tampa Bay