TAMPA - Pastor Dan Dunn has a big dream that he wants to come true.
There are some obstacles, but the pastor at Real Life Church on Waters Avenue wants to have more than just a church. He wants a place where people can worship, as well as a sanctuary for those in need of shelter if disaster hits close to home.
His dream is a domed chapel that can house people in case of a disaster, one that hasn't touched Tampa in several years. He said he knows it is coming and that it is just a matter of time. He wants to be prepared.
"For years I have been looking at domes,'' Dunn said. "I've became fascinated. With a dome that is properly enhanced, we can be prepared to support the community in case of a disaster. It is eventually going to happen and we need to be proactive instead of reactive.''
Dunn started his ministry in Tampa back in 1996 after serving as a pastor in Sarasota. His church is affiliated with the International Church of the Four Squares, based on the four phases of the Gospel. He is adamant that dealing with reality and not over- or under-estimating the truth is the way to preach.
"People have to be real in their life,'' Dunn said. "We would like to be a larger church, but God has me here. That's what's real. Being real is what we are all about.''
Dunn grew up a Christian but found his devotion when he became sick as a child in Ohio. His parents were urged to move to a warmer climate such as Florida or Arizona. They chose Florida. Since then, his life has taken some twists and turns, but Dunn has taken all of them with a smile - even when he was called to New York for college.
"God has done some pretty crazy things with my life,'' Dunn said. "But if he points me in a certain direction, who am I to say no?''
And while his congregation is comfortable where they are, he wants to get that dome and has started to raise funds.
"We want to be an arc in the storm,'' Dunn said. "We need to be prepared just in case something happens, and it will. Where can people go if something happens like a hurricane? The shelters will be full and the roads out of Tampa will be packed. This is a place that can take in anyone.''
Dunn said he is determined to build his domed chapel without debt. It might not be easy, but Dunn said he is relying on the Lord and hopes he can have his chapel finished by 2014.
Real Life Church is located at 6821 West Waters Ave.