One of America’s fastest-growing churches is allegedly facing foreclosure after allegations surfaced that the church’s pastor engaged in sexual misconduct.
The church, Venue Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is pastored by Tavner Smith.
In December, eight church employees quit their jobs after a video of Smith kissing a woman who was not his wife surfaced. According to The Roys Report, Smith went on sabbatical after the video came to light but resumed preaching about a month later.
Venue’s North Georgia campus soon shuttered after that. The Facebook account “The Venue is NO Church” posted photos showing the empty church. The main campus was open until the most recent news of foreclosure.
This week, the Chattanooga Times Free Press published a notice of foreclosure and sale, which said that the Venue Church is in default of its loan at the property at 6401 Lee Highway in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The sale of the property is set for Aug. 24 at 2 p.m. at the Hamilton County courthouse.
According to the notice, the original loan amount on the property was $2.8 million. The church secured the loan in September 2019 from First Citizens National Bank. The property is now valued at $4.86 million.
Church representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
On Sunday, Venue held services as usual and did not mention the foreclosure. Smith appeared in a video shown to congregants but said he was on vacation.
The church is still taking donations online, according to The Roys Report.
Smith started Venue in 2012, and by 2015, the church was ranked the 7th fastest-growing church in America. The church had some 2,000 attendees and was hosting six services.
Venue was previously associated with the Association of Related Churches, or ARC, one of the largest church planting organizations in America.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.