Venue Church Set To Open At New Location Sept. 15

Monday, August 19, 2013

“Most churches are 99 percent behavior driven, not identity driven,” said Pastor Tavner Smith of the new The Venue Church, which will open its doors in its new location in September. “I believe it’s more important to know who you are, not what you do. If you know who you are, it will change what you do.”

Pastor Smith is aware that Chattanooga has plenty of churches already. “We know that 64 percent of people in Chattanooga go to church each Sunday,” he says. Yet the young pastor, who was raised in a church in Greenville, South Carolina, finds that many people are not happy with their church-going experiences. And he’s also aware that Americans are turning away from organized religion.

“In my opinion, many find a lack of grace in churches. Everyone watches for everyone else to fall, and then judges them,” he said. “But The Venue Church is truly a grace-driven church. We believe that God loves you right where you are. That doesn't mean He wants to keep you there, but the grace where God finds you will lead you into your fullest life.”

After first feeling the call to preach at age 16, Pastor Smith has had his own share of trials and tribulations, including clinical depression, and knows that each person who comes to worship with his congregation “walks through the door with their own struggles.” He points to three ideas that set The Venue Church apart.

“First, we tell people that God’s message is love. It is unconditional. Second, we believe that you are created for a purpose, and to live life to its fullest. God has plans for each person. And third, you can live your life to the fullest if you are part of a community, people who care about you and support you,” Pastor Smith explains.

The Venue Church, which has been meeting in a room at the Chattanooga Convention Center, will move to its permanent location, 5959 Shallowford Road, Suite 225, on Sept. 15. Sunday attendance has been rapidly growing as word of the church has spread, primarily through word-of-mouth and social media.

On its innovative website, the church lists 11 “Shockwaves,” which include statements such as “We Serve Like Crazy,” “We Honor Everyone,” and “We Leave No Man Behind.” “We are truly open to everyone,” Pastor Smith says. “We are nondenominational, loving and nonjudgmental. There is not a group of people we want or don't want.” And, adds the father of three small daughters, the church is very welcoming to families and children.

The church held a successful golf tournament fundraiser in July, and when it is established in the new location, will begin its outreach program, “Change For Chattanooga,” aimed at at-risk and homeless populations. The concept, Pastor Smith says, is to provide aid through relationships, jobs, schooling, housing, rehabilitation and partnerships.

Currently, services are being held at 10 a.m. inside the Chattanooga Convention Center, 1150 Carter Street in downtown Chattanooga, and on Thursdays at 7 p.m. at 6220 Shallowford Road in the Hamilton Place area.

“Everyone is always welcome to come and see if this is the community they have been searching for, “ said the pastor. For more information, call 637-7100.



Eric Youngblood: Self-Conferences, Worry, And Wearisomeness

“Don't just do something, stand there.” That was the pithy maxim etched on a plaque on top of Allen's desk.  While this twist on the common aphorism has a widespread life of its own in multiple quarters of human endeavors, I learned it from a man whose life embodied it compellingly. This call to pre-meditated stillness before or sometimes, in lieu of action was ... (click for more)

Sandi Patty Leads Faith, Family And Freedom Concert At Abba's House

Award-winning Christian vocalist Sandi Patty was joined by members of her family for a Faith, family and Freedom concert  Sunday  night at Abba's House. The concert, one of five in her current tour, celebrated the importance of faith and family in the nation, while saluting the military. Ms. Patty was joined by her husband Don Peslis, daughter Aly, daughter-in-law ... (click for more)

Young Woman Suffers Serious Injuries In 30-Foot Fall At Quarry At Greenway Farms

A young woman was seriously injured on Wednesday night  when she fell approximately 30 feet from a bluff at the the Greenway Farms quarry in Hixson.   Some kayakers were paddling in the quarry shortly after  8 p.m. when they saw the woman fall to the ground below. They immediately went over to the victim and called 911. The Chattanooga Fire Department ... (click for more)

Walker County Taking Out Another Loan To Deal With Debts Left By Bebe Heiskell Administration

Walker County officials said they are having to take out another loan to deal with debts left by the Bebe Heiskell administration. Commissioner Shannon Whitfield has called a special meeting for Thursday at 2 p.m. at the commissioner's office in Lafayette. The agenda includes a $4 million tax anticipation note from Lafayette Bank, which stepped in to help the new administration ... (click for more)

CPS Should Have A Manned 24/7 Presence In Every County

This week something became abundantly clear to me. The Department of Child Protective Services in the state of Tennessee, or at least in Hamilton County, are asleep at the wheel.   Early yesterday afternoon local news stations broke the news: "Animals Removed from Soddy Daisy Home."  What the news station either didn't know, or didn't report, was that the children of ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Schizophrenia Calls Again

On Tuesday morning of this week a six-foot-tall, 6,000-pound monument of the “Ten Commandments” was installed on the Capitol Grounds in Little Rock, Ark. It was privately financed and quite beautiful. Less than 24 hours later, a vehicle crashed into the monument, knocking it off its base (plinth) in the early-morning darkness yesterday. The Arkansas Capitol Police arrested a ... (click for more)