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Fresh Expressions: Tampa Underground Network


by Healthy Growing Churches: A few weeks ago, we shared the story of River City Church and how they are doing church differently. Today, we want to share the story of The Tampa Underground Network. As we’ve stated before, we hope that by sharing these stories with you dreams, vision, and newfound faith would permeate your hearts and minds. Ultimately, our goal is for us to work together to build the Body of Christ in stronger and more effective ways.

The Underground’s Story

In 2006, Brian Sanders, along with about 50 others, left their traditional churches to pursue together a different vision for how the church should look. At least, this was the vision given to them by the Spirit for how they should do things differently, and therefore, add greater depth to the Church as a whole. They left with a love for the Western church, but “hoped for more than Sunday morning worship and middle-class Christianity.” 

With a passion for the poor and the lost, The Underground works to “empower communities to reach and serve the people who exist at the margins of the church as we know it.” They believe that intimacy with God means committing to His mission, which leads to “prioritizing both those in poverty and those without knowledge of His saving grace.” 

Discipleship is of utmost significance to The Underground. They help empower people to pray and seek to know their unique calling and then find a community where they can pour themselves out. At the heart of this vision is the micro-church. As people find their true callings, they can get to work mobilizing communities to meet needs there and to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus and His kingdom.


One of the best places to discover The Underground’s theology is in Brian Sanders’ book, Underground Church, which we highly recommend. Flip to the back to Appendix A, and you find their “Manifesto,” or statement of belief. As one who senses the call and is starting a micro-church movement in my community in South Carolina, this book has been transformational in my thinking and planning.

The following is what The Underground’s website states regarding their Theology:

Theologically, we are orthodox and evangelical. Being an independent church plant (not coming from any denomination) we are anchored by the ancient and historical creeds of the church. The first and simplest creed: Jesus is Lord. We seek to place Jesus Christ as the head of this church, and to establish and submit to his supremacy in all things.

We acknowledge both the historical significance and the prophetic call of the Lausanne Covenant (1974), agreeing with it completely, and the reaffirmations of the Manila Manifesto (1989). These creedal/confessional documents serve to anchor our theological commitments while also expressing our missional and evangelical convictions. We stand to be both challenged and guided by these core expressions of theological commitment as we try to grow and mature into the church that God has destined us to be.

Learn More

The very best way to get to know this incredible ministry network is to watch this video. You will not regret the time spent watching!

What’s Happening Now?

The Underground now supports and encourages 100s of micro-churches across 6 continents.

The Underground also has 12 global sister movements. You can click here and find out more about each of these movements.

Most importantly, people from all walks of life are making a difference in their various communities by becoming empowered and supported to live their God-sized, God-given dreams!

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