A megachurch pastor in Tennessee says his church is “not going anywhere” despite reports that his facility faces foreclosure on a $4.5 million building.
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, a foreclosure notice and sale says the venue church could be sold to the highest bidder by Aug. 24.
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Pastor Tavener Smith, who oversees the church, acknowledged the foreclosure but said the church would “stay here and make it through.”
“You’ve read in the newspaper that the bank has put a foreclosure notice on our building. It’s absolutely true,” he said in a recent sermon.
“When you’re navigating a situation like this and you’re not going through it alone, you’re going through it with a group of people and you know it’s affecting a lot of people. “And when we found and saw the notification, we were as scared as you, but we also knew God wasn’t ending us.”
Smith told his church that he sought legal counsel.
“They assured me that I could stand here and tell you that we were here to stay and offer multiple options to get it done.
Venue Church was launched in 2012 and quickly became one of the fastest growing churches in America, with nearly 2,000 people attending six services. Last year, however, membership plummeted after Smith admitted to adultery and sexual misconduct.
According to Churchleaders.com, Smith refused to resign, but took a month off after the incident. He later returned to the pulpit and asked the congregation for forgiveness.
“I apologize to you for any embarrassment, heartache, or confusion I have caused. I have hurt people and caused irreparable devastation. I came to you to publicly admit it and to truly ask for forgiveness,” he told the church.
Since then, eight staff members have resigned, one church campus has closed, and attendance at the other remains low.
As a result, Smith and his now ex-wife Daniel also divorced. The couple had three children together.
Despite the church building’s decline and possible loss, Smith aims to maintain his position as pastor, stating, “The church is not a building, was not a building, and will be a building.” No,” he said.
CBN News reached out to Venue Church for comment, but did not receive a response from the church at the time of publication.
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