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.



Pilgrim Congregational Church Announces Easter Holy Week Events

Pilgrim Congregational Church announces its Easter Holy Week events: Palm Sunday Celebration 11 a.m. Sunday, March 29 Dr. Morgan’s sermon is entitled “If You’re Happy – Clap Along.” Childcare available   Maundy Thursday Seder Meal and Service 6-8 p.m. Thursday, April 2 RSVP to the church – 423 698-5682 by Sunday, March ... (click for more)

World Impact Launches Program To Address Gang Violence

Pastor Ezra Maize, senior pastor of Rehoboth Ministries and the members of Rehoboth Ministries, launched their first humanitarian community program which will address the gang violence in the City of Chattanooga, through World Impact. World Impact is an organization designed to offer gang affiliated men and women, between the ages of 21-35, an opportunity to be participants in ... (click for more)

Hard Freeze Predicted In The Area For Saturday Night

Temperatures are expected to drop Saturday night to 28 degrees or less. Here is the latest report from the National Weather Service:  HARD FREEZE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT EDT /11 PM CDT/ TONIGHT TO 11 AM EDT /10 AM CDT/ SUNDAY... * EVENT... A HARD FREEZE EXPECTED WITH LOWS FROM THE TEENS NORTH TO THE UPPER 20S SOUTH LATE TONIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING. ... (click for more)

Man Charged In Shooting On Sixth Avenue Had Been Shot Himself Last Week; Police Say Incident "Part Of Gang War"

A man charged with attempted first-degree murder on Sixth Avenue Court on Thursday afternoon was shot himself earlier this month. O'Shae Kadaris Smith, 20, of 2114 E. 12th St., is also charged with reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was one of two people shot on Rawlings Street on March 16. Kendre Allen, ... (click for more)

Finley Stadium Needs To Grow Up - And Response

RE:  Finley Stadium Financial Picture Rosy; Beer And Alcohol Sales Approved; AstroTurf Almost Ready and City, County Pitching In $250,000 Each For New Finley Stadium AstroTurf I read a story here five days ago about a rosy future for Finley stadium. It lead me to believe that the stadium was making money and even improvements with donations.  Then we get a short ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mom’s Parting Instructions

My mother, Helen Exum, went to be with the Lord in late August of last year and, in the way folks do, I was going through some of her files last week when I ran across an envelope with my name on it. Inside was a story and written in her hand were the words, “This is a wonderful story for you to tell!” Not being one to disobey my mother and not about to waylay the wishes of the ... (click for more)