Crosswalk Chattanooga to purchase church building and begin the new year in first permanent home

Crosswalk Chattanooga will officially call the once-rented space its new home beginning Feb. 6.
(Photo courtesy of source)
Crosswalk Chattanooga will officially call the once-rented space its new home beginning Feb. 6. (Photo courtesy of source)

Crosswalk Chattanooga, a local Seventh-day Adventist church located on 6401 Lee Highway in the building formerly owned by Venue Church, will officially call the once-rented space its new home beginning Feb. 6.

  According to Justin Wampler, the church administrator, Crosswalk has rented and shared the space with Venue Church since July 2022. Upon signing the lease agreement, Crosswalk gained Right of First Refusal (ROFR).

  “Essentially, this means if anyone wants to buy the building, which was the case because there was another offer on the table from another church, [that] Venue has to come to us and say, ‘There’s an offer. Would you like to match it?’” Wampler said. “The offer was accepted, and the church had 15 days to raise $2 million. And we did that, which was phenomenal. That’s just a huge blessing; there’s no other way to explain it.”

  The raising of the funds stemmed from posting the need on the church’s social media, talking about it in church and calling lots of people, Wampler said.

  On average, the church’s weekly attendance is between 500 and 600 people, according to Wampler. Ownership of the space opens up significant opportunities for the church to conduct more on-site activities. 

“We’ve done a lot of outreach, but we have not been able to do much on-site,” said Wampler. “So it really opens up doors for doing outreach and just bringing people in the doors from our community. It’s such a large space that works for every department in different ways.”

Wampler estimates the square footage of the space to be around 38,000 square feet, with an additional 9,000 to 10,000 square feet that is currently leased out for the next few years as warehouse space by another company.

The large warehouse-style building was originally a Sam’s Club, which was then remodeled and bought by Venue Church, led by Pastor Tavern Smith. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Venue faced foreclosure and filed for bankruptcy prior to the sale.  Membership had rapidly declined after most of the staff quit in Dec. 2021 over concerns about the church’s direction and Smith in particular. The church could no longer sustain the building’s cost.

  As described on Crosswalk Chattanooga’s webpage, the satellite church brought a new style of service to the city in 2018. The webpage also states the church’s culture and values: inclusion, momentum, (which was explained as loving through action), and experience, where church isn’t just a place, but something you feel and do. 

  Matthew Taylor, sophomore mass communication major, described his experience at Crosswalk Chattanooga.

“This is a church that I find inviting; it is the [best] quality of Christian music that you would find in person,” said Taylor. “There are plenty of churches that sound good; but often those that sound better, don’t exactly feel inviting to sing along. The music is quality at Crosswalk and provides an atmosphere for me to sing along.”

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