Tennessee megachurch Pastor Tavner Smith of Venue Church has denied reports that his church is facing foreclosure.

Smith said on Instagram that reports the church is shutting down are “absolutely not true.”

This week, the Chattanooga Times Free Press published a notice of foreclosure and sale, that said the Venue Church had defaulted on its loan at its 6401 Lee Highway property in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The property, the notice added, is set to go up for sale on Aug. 24 at 2 p.m. at the Hamilton County courthouse.

The church secured the original loan of about $2.8 million for the property in September 2019 from First Citizens National Bank. The property is now valued at $4.86 million.

“First of all, it’s absolutely not true. Venue Church is not shutting down,” Smith said. “Our legal team, who is amazing, has assured me that I can tell you with confidence that our Chattanooga location is going nowhere.

“The best is yet to come for Venue Church. … It ain’t over. We’re just getting started,” Smith added.

Smith said he would “set the record straight” at this Sunday’s service.

Smith and the Venue Church did not respond to requests for comment from The Christian Post.

The news of the alleged foreclosure came after allegations surfaced in December when 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.

“Before I preach a word today, I’ve just come to say I’m sorry. So many things I’ve said, that I’ve done, that I’ve not said, that I’ve run from were wrong,” Smith said when he returned, according to a recording of the apology posted on YouTube by journalist Julie Roys.

“I was involved in an inappropriate relationship. And I want to say that I’m sorry that I put you through any embarrassment, heartache or confusion. I’ve wounded people, and I’ve caused devastation that I know I can never take back,” he added. “As your leader and pastor, I come to you to publicly acknowledge my mistakes and truly ask for forgiveness. It grieves me to think that my pride and my selfishness could’ve caused anyone hurt.”

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Sean824


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.

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