The Church at Sterchi Hills has put its money where its faith is. The church recently took on a $4.5 million loan to build an addition to its Dry Gap Pike sanctuary.
“The existing building is 15 years old,” said Tim Stallings, executive pastor at the church. “Five years ago it was in a state of decline.”
Not too long ago the congregation numbered around 50. Today there are more than 400, and the church continues to grow. Previously affiliated with Second Baptist Church in Clinton, the church has been independent since April 2019.
The new building will be adjacent to the existing structure. It will contain a 750-seat auditorium and a children’s wing. Stallings said the goal is to complete the addition by Easter 2021.
The executive pastor believes the church will continue to grow.
“We’re in a growth area,” he said. “When the leaves are off the trees you can see about 1,000 homes on the hill.”
Stallings is quick to credit Pastor Joel Dew for his role in the church’s growth. “Joel has done a great job,” he said.
Readers may recall some controversy during the previous school year over “Bible Release” time. In a pilot program, students were released briefly (about an hour) from school in order to participate in Bible study and other religious activities. Students at Sterchi Elementary School who wanted to participate were bused to The Church at Sterchi Hills. Ultimately, the Knox County school board voted down a proposal to set up additional protocols for the program.
Larry Van Guilder is the business/government editor for Knox TN Today.