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.



Eastdale Village Community UMC Gives Produce To Community

The Eastdale Neighborhood Association will share and provide free produce to feed the community on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at Eastdale Village Community United Methodist Church at 1403 Tunnel Boulevard. If it rains, the event will be held in the fellowship hall. (click for more)

Steve Ellison: Proper Response To A Sermon

Firsts in the Scripture ought to capture our attention.  We should pay close attention to those things occurring first in the Biblical record.  Acts 2 records the first sermon after the coming of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, Peter’s message to those present in the upper room constituted the first sermon to the newly birthed Church.  Peter focused on the evidences ... (click for more)

Woman, 26, Who Was Set To Testify In Murder Trial, Is Shot And Killed On Elder Street

A 26-year-old woman who was set to testify in an upcoming murder trial was shot multiple times and killed on Wednesday morning. Chattanooga Police responded to the 2100 block of Elder Street on a report of a dead person on the side of the road near Old Ringgold Road and Westside Drive. Police located Bianca Horton.  P olice established a crime scene.  Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Attorney For Bobby Stone Hits Berke, Fletcher For Commenting On Pending Case

The attorney for Bobby Stone on Wednesday said it was "fundamentally wrong" for Mayor Andy Berke and Police Chief Fred Fletcher to comment on the case in which Mr. Stone is charged with domestic assault against his wife, Berke advisor Lacie Stone. Attorney Lee Davis said the comments were unfair and "a disservice to the court." Mayor Berke denied any inappropriate contact ... (click for more)

Case Handled Like Any Other? - And Response

It is interesting that Chief Fletcher would deem the handling of the Mayor's encounter as typical or normal. Is the Chief asking the public to believe that all misdemeanor domestic violence arrests include a 4-hour taped interrogation, and delayed reporting after a visit to the Chief’s house. Of course, we believe that Chief Fletcher. April Eidson * * *  I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Christian Schools Bully, Too

Earlier this week, after I shared a story about bullying written by a very brave mother, it opened a floodgate of emails from parents and students who have been forced to endure such madness in our elementary, junior and senior high schools. Discipline is the No. 1 problem in our schools. Because of it, or because of a lack of it, no wonder our children cannot achieve all that ... (click for more)