Despite previously claiming that the Venue Church campus in Chattanooga is “going nowhere,” Tavener-Smith announced Sunday that the congregation he pastors is facing foreclosure. I admit it.
The financial troubles of the Tennessee megachurch became public months after Smith was accused of sexual misconduct.
Smith promoted last Sunday’s sermon in a video posted to the church’s social media accounts on August 2. In that video, he said, “It’s absolutely not true. The Venue Church is not closed.” You assured me that I could do it.
But on Sunday, he said his lawyers offered “multiple options” for the church to stay.
Not sure what those options are. Smith did not list them, nor did he name his firm or attorney.church did not respond TRR I asked to speak to the lawyer.
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In his sermon, Mr. Smith admitted that it was “absolutely true” that the church’s bank had recently issued a foreclosure notice. It shows that it was posted again after a week.
“We were as scared as you were when we found and saw the notice,” Smith said in a sermon. .”
“We have consulted our lawyers and they have assured me . said Smith.
After a debtor defaults on payments, the bank can enforce a foreclosure. In addition to issuing newspaper notices, Tennessee law requires banks to notify defaulting debtors directly of foreclosure proceedings.
The loan was originally $2.8 million, Lloyd’s Report reported last week. It’s unclear how much he still owes or how long the church is behind on his mortgage payments. TRR I have reached out to the trustee who handles the foreclosure on behalf of the bank, but have not heard back.
Hamilton County tax records show that the church owes $2,151 in property taxes and interest due on February 28.
The church has been under scrutiny since eight staff resigned in December over allegations that Smith kissed a woman who was not his wife. Back to preaching. During Smith’s sabbatical, the church closed its satellite his campus.
In his sermons, Smith suggested that the church was open about its financial difficulties. TRR and the Times Free Press We previously reported on foreclosure notices.church not responding TRRYou have declined a previous request for comment on or a comment on Times Free Press for that report.
In the sermon, Smith also stated that his earlier statement that the church was out of debt was issued before the church took out a loan for the building.
At the time, Smith said, the church was renting the building and was raising money to renovate it without taking out a loan. added.
The venue church purchased the property for $4.5 million in September 2019, according to county real estate records. His current value is $4.86 million.
Smith launched Venue Church in 2012. Three years later, nearly 2,000 people attended six services, making it his seventh fastest growing church in the country. Now on Sundays he has two services.
The church was once affiliated with the Association of Allied Churches (ARC), one of the largest church planting organizations on the continent. The ARC is known for reviving and re-platforming morally corrupt pastors, and member churches have faced several scandals involving money or sex.
Sarah Einselen is an award-winning writer and editor based in Texas.