About Tampa Bay
Welcome to the Cigar City
Though Tampa was founded in the early 1800s as a military outpost, its cultural roots and economic growth boomed in the 1880s and 1890s as Henry B. Plant came with a new railroad, and Vicente Martinez Ybor came with the Cuban cigar.
And the rest, as they say is history. Tampa’s dual identity has prospered the city through the early 1900s as a resort town and as a destination for Cuban-Italian factory workers.
The Great Depression slowed the cigar trade as Tampa became well-known as a strategic port town, for its hotels, its phosphate and later its ties to the “Mob.”
MacDill Air Force Base was officially established in 1939. The 1950s brought more growth through annexations, and the birth of the University of South Florida. Major sports teams and national recognition followed in the 1970s.
Today, Tampa Bay is well-known for hosting Super Bowls and a national political convention. It is well-known as the home of Central Command (CENTCOM) at MacDill. And unfortunately, it is well-known for strip clubs and plastic surgeries. Here are some other bullet points you might want to be aware of:
- Tampa Bay is the 18th largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) region is U.S. with more than 4.3M people. [ Wikipedia ]
- Tampa Bay is made up of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater and surrounding cities in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties.
- US Census Data [ Tampa ] | [ St. Pete ] [ Clearwater ]
- People Group Research – Students at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary have helped to create a detailed (and complicated) spreadsheet with data from our region. Click here to get the sheet – Tampa Bay, FL (.xls). We look forward to speaking with you about who you are finding in our great city.
- Tampa’s fantastic weather is well-documented, but did you know Tampa is the lightning capital of the U.S.? Our afternoon thunderstorms in the summer roll through like clock-work. They are truly a part of the culture. We even named our hockey team the Lightning.
Diversity and Calling
Tampa is an incredibly diverse culture with fantastic opportunities for planting and for churches that want to become church planting churches. We pray that you are called to help us become a hub for church planting in Tampa Bay, in the Southeast and around the world (Mat 28:19-20, Acts 1:8).
For some, that may look like church planting. For others, it may look like partnering with us. And, for others still, it may look like becoming a church planting church. Whatever that looks like for you, we want to be a part of what God is doing. We look forward to serving you.