Guest / Limited Access /

Last December, during the public debate about Christmas, Without Walls International Church in Tampa, Florida, decided to take a bold stand. "To Hell with the Word 'Holiday,'" proclaimed a banner hung from the church's building near the Tampa airport. "Put Christ Back into Christmas."

"That was a great, great accomplishment for us," Without Walls's media-savvy senior pastor Randy White told Christianity Today. National news outlets, including CNN, descended on the church, giving Randy an opportunity to spotlight the church's position.

It may seem contrarian for a megachurch to be so outspoken and controversial, but Without Walls's feistiness is part of what has made it one of the country's fastest-growing congregations.

And while Randy's penchant for publicity might attract visitors, what keeps them coming is the 25,000-member church's ability to empower all sorts of people to succeed. Randy and his wife, Paula, host of the nationally broadcast TV show "Paula White Today," keep outreach to the down and out at the center.

Without Walls's Master Pastor Internship Program teaches people not only how to start their own ministries, but also how to live productive lives. "We get them acclimated back into productivity," Randy says, "[with] social skills, how to write a check, how to dress properly, grammar. We take it through every step that you can possibly take."

Maria Garves heard about the church while stationed with the Army in Bahrain. Upon returning to Tampa, she enrolled in the nine-month internship program. "It is the greatest thing I've done, aside from marrying and having children," she says. "I went 1,000 miles to find out I had the Holy Spirit in my backyard."

As part of the program, Garves was on parking duty the day she ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only
Zimbabwe Nightmare
Christians try to negotiate ministry in southern Africa's most failed state.
RecommendedHere’s Who Will Pray at Trump’s Inauguration
Here’s Who Will Pray at Trump’s Inauguration
(UPDATED) What the president-elect's unusually broad and diverse clergy lineup tells us.
TrendingThe Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
The Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
What Paula White’s Washington moment implies for the prosperity gospel’s future.
Editor's PickThe Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
The Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
It begins by recognizing the name above every name.
Christianity Today
Stepping to Success
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.