As Cypress Point Community Church has grown from a few families worshipping and studying the Bible together in homes in Wesley Chapel and New Tampa to a congregation of more than 700 members, meeting the diverse needs of those who consider the nondenominational Christian church their spiritual home has become a complex matter.
Over its nearly two decades of existence, Cypress Point has dealt with the physical growth in number of worshippers by moving to larger spaces — from those family living rooms to a real estate sales and visitor center, to worshipping for six years at the Muvico Starlight 20 movie theater on Highwoods Preserve Pkwy.
Now, congregants gather in the church’s own 30,000-sq.-ft. multipurpose building on 30 acres on Morris Bridge Rd., just north of Cross Creek Blvd.
In February, Cypress Point added a 10,000-sq.-ft. building to house its youth center, with a gym, basketball court, classrooms and snack bar.
While that physical expansion has accommodated the church’s growth in size, there also has been a requirement to develop more services and programs that meet the wide variety of needs and expectations its worshippers have, according to Lead Pastor Dean Reule, who co-founded Cypress Point Community Church in 1998 with his wife Hettie, who also is the church’s Children’s Pastor.
“The church is like a Walmart Supercenter,” says Pastor Dean, who earned his Ph.D. degree in Religious Studies from Florida State University in Tallahassee. “Whatever the need, there is always a Biblically-based solution.”
A commitment to enacting such solutions for the benefit of members and the wider community has yielded a wide variety of ministries, activities and services available through Cypress Point Community Church.
Nourishing the spirit as well as the body during times of need is one way to express the mission of Cypress Point’s Care Center, which combines a food pantry, stocked with donations of canned and packaged food from church members, with a cadre of devoted worshippers who provide spiritual support as the Prayer Team.
Whichever season of life or road Cypress Point members may be experiencing or traveling on, Pastor Dean says there is no need to make the journey alone, as there are church activities relevant to all ages and lifestyles.
Young people are the future of a church and Cypress Point serves the needs of children from birth to adulthood. There is an Adventure program that introduces Christian teachings to young children (Pre K-fourth grade) through activities, crafts, instruction and music. On Thursday nights at “The Edge,” young adults (18+) meet and discuss topics relevant to them from a Biblical perspective. Those of the in-between ages are served by “56,” which, according to the church website, is a “Sunday morning experience for kids in 5th or 6th grade.”
The Dwelling Place, or “DP,” is where young people in grades 7-12 come together to learn Christian teachings and connect with God in ways they can appreciate, which might be through instruction, performances, or conversation over pizza. These activities are held in the DP rec center, which is equipped with air hockey and video games, as well as the basketball court. Cypress Point youth volunteer Shannon Romera says the DP is a good place for teens to bring their friends.
“There’s no other place like it in New Tampa,” Shannon says. “It’s a safe place where kids can come out and it’s more comfortable than asking someone to come to a church service.”
Support For The Military & More
At the Morris Bridge Rd. entrance to Cypress Point, there’s a large, red-white-and-blue-painted sign announcing the church’s support to the community’s military families through its Military Support Outreach, or “MSO.”
MSO Director Evangelo “Vann” Morris acknowledges Cypress Point’s commitment to the military and its veterans.
“The church is really big on supporting the military,” says Morris, who is a retired U.S. Navy officer, adding that the Cypress Point MSO is focused on helping homeless veterans transition to more productive lifestyles by working with local agencies and programs vetted by the Veterans Administration, such as Tampa Crossroads. MSO also supports active duty troops who are away from home with care packages filled with items ranging from USB thumb drives to packages of beef jerky and more.
People who are interested in helping prepare packages, donate items or provide the name of a deployed service member can contact MSO through the Cypress Point website CPCConline.com under the “Ministries” heading.
Other activities and programs at Cypress Point Community Church include its Firefighters Ministry, which demonstrates support for the community’s fire stations by bringing cards and letters of support, as well as light snacks to local station houses; MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) & More, a monthly meet-up that provides a network of support for mothers of young children; and Man Up, a fellowship of Godly masculinity in which men are motivated toward loving acts of devotion in the name of Jesus Christ.
Couples who have taken on the responsibilities of marriage and family may benefit from Cypress Point’s Love Walk ministry, which provides opportunities for fellowship and tip-sharing with other couples from all stages of marriage.
Promoting not only Christianity as a religion, but advocating and acting on behalf of its basic tenets, whether locally, nationally or internationally, is part of the motivation behind Cypress Point’s Compassion & Justice ministries, whose mission it is to, “Fight local and global poverty and injustice,” according to the Ministries page on the church’s website.
Participants in these mission projects often travel to impoverished communities in the U.S. to lend a helping hand, or to Southeast Asia to assist Christians there and to combat human exploitation.
Sunday services (at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.) also attract crowds to the worship hall, for energetic sermons from Pastor Dean, who connects diverse philosophical and spiritual points, from Plato to Jesus, into basic principles to embrace.
One recent Sunday message from Pastor Dean explored the Power of the Golden Rule (or Matthew 7:12) which, according to The World English Bible, reads as, “Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.”
It is a principle that guides much of the work that is performed at Cypress Point and Pastor Dean summed up the reason why to those who were gathered: “We can change our small part of the world.”
One person attending the service who says attending Cypress Point has made his part of the world better is New Tampa resident Neal Hamlett, who plays guitar in the church band and has been a member for eight years.
“It’s a big family that takes care of each other,” Neal says.
Cypress Point Community Church is located at 15820 Morris Bridge Rd. Sunday services are at 9:30 and 11 a.m. and the Dwelling Place (DP) has main services for young people in grades 7-12 on Wednesdays at 7 p.m., with doors to the rec center opening at 6 p.m. For more information, visit CPCConline.com online or call (813) 986-9100.