Weeks after a video surfaced on-line allegedly exhibiting him kissing a girl who is just not his spouse and a number of members of his workers stop, Pastor Tavner Smith of Venue Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has introduced he’ll take a couple of weeks off to get counseling and “spend time with God.”
“I’m going to be taking a while to replenish, spend time with God, and get some counseling so I can come again rested, refreshed and prepared for the remainder of the yr,” he wrote in an Instagram post on Jan. 5. “I really like you and I’ll see you in February.”
A minimum of eight staff of Smith’s fast-growing congregation reportedly stop working for the church final month after confronting him in regards to the video recorded in North Georgia.
Two former staff and 4 volunteers or members beforehand linked to the church advised The Chattanooga Occasions Free Press that the eight staff stop after confronting the pastor a few rumored affair with a church worker.
The church beforehand declined to remark publicly, however court docket data present that the pastor and his spouse, Danielle Smith, who’ve three youngsters, started divorce proceedings final Could.
That very same month, Smith was in the midst of preaching a sequence he referred to as “Dirty Destinies” the place he preached about how God can use individuals’s “dust” from their previous to minister.
“The query is just not ‘Am I soiled?’ as a result of I’m,” he stated. “A matter of reality, take a look at your neighbor and say ‘I’m soiled.'”
“I don’t suppose we have now any doubts about that anymore. I feel we’ve been actual about that during the last six weeks,” he continued. “Each single particular person in right here is stuffed with dust. God didn’t select good individuals. God solely chooses obtainable individuals.”
He famous that the subtitle of the sequence was “No good individuals allowed.”
“Have you learnt why God doesn’t select good individuals? It’s as a result of there are none,” he advised the congregation. “An ideal particular person couldn’t relate to some other particular person as a result of everyone else has been by stuff, acquired dust and scuffling with dust as we converse.”
A number of people who stated they’re former members or staff of Smith’s church, nonetheless, weren’t pleased with the best way he had been dealing with his affairs. They publicly made important allegations of pastoral abuse and misconduct in opposition to Smith and his management staff.
Former Venue Church worker Colt Chandler Helton, who claims to have labored for over 12 church buildings all through his profession, together with Hillsong and North Level, stated in a Fb post that he was employed by Venue Church to “arrange its programs and constructions and mannequin something an grownup would expertise on a Sunday morning.”
“In hind sight I taught the ‘Iranians how one can make nuclear weapons,’” Helton, who labored for the church for practically a yr starting in 2014, contends. “I gave a person who had very very dangerous intentions the power to make a mega church.”
He shared a prolonged record of the reason why he left Venue Church, together with what he claims to be monetary abuse and witnessing home abuse in an environment the place there are “zero elders or accountability.”
He prompt that Smith might have been intimately concerned with females within the church aside from his spouse.
“I witnessed on many instances the lead pastor have ‘alone time’ with females on the worship staff and congregation,” he wrote, whereas mentioning how the church’s theology devolved into one thing resembling the “prosperity gospel.”
“I used to be advised I used to be not allowed to talk to the lead pastor until I used to be spoken to. As a result of he was so near God and his closeness couldn’t be put in jeopardy by chatting with commoners,” Helton additionally claimed.
Smith’s website explains that he moved to Tennessee in 2012 “due to his radical obedience to God’s plan, and began a transfer of God by Venue Church.” He beforehand served as an government scholar pastor at Redemption World Outreach Heart in Greenville, South Carolina. The web site says that he grew to become the understudy to Redemption Pastor Ron Carpenter, who stays Smith’s mentor.