FHS home to a new church

Faith Promise Church will open its ninth multi-site location Sunday, Aug. 13, at Farragut High School. Zac Stephens, pastor of the new site, is joined by his wife, Rachel, during a recent visit to FHS.
Farragut’s getting a new church.

Next month Farragut High School’s Vickie B. Wells Auditorium will become the newest location for Faith Promise Church. The area will be ringed in black curtains; big lights will be brought in; the stage will be transformed and 450 current members, many of whom live in the Farragut area, will be there to launch the church’s ninth multi-site.

Zac Stephens, 28, who serves Faith Promise as global student pastor, will be the Farragut campus pastor.

He said he’s excited about the new location and the future for himself, his wife, Rachel, one of Faith Promise’s global worship volunteers, their daughter, Jael, 3, and the baby boy they’re expecting in November.

“We’ll launch a campus and we’ll launch a baby,” he said.

Zac is the youngest child of Chris and Michele Stephens. Chris Stephens is senior pastor at Faith Promise Church and Michele serves as global worship and creative arts pastor. “I’m the youngest, and some people say the best looking,” he laughed.

Meetings have been taking place to plan for the soft launch Sunday, Aug. 6, and the first official Sunday on Aug. 13.

“On July 22 we’re having a clean-up day when we’ll be putting down mulch, weeding all the flowerbeds, pressure-washing sidewalks, doing everything we can,” Stephens said. “We’re going to invest in some sound equipment and lights and things like that. We’re investing a good amount of money in Farragut High School.”

The community is invited to two services that morning: 10 and 11:30 a.m.

Stephens said the typical Sunday will be a live simulcast of his dad’s sermon at the Pellissippi campus, but on Aug. 13, the message will be specially for the Farragut campus.

A children’s program will be provided each Sunday morning. On Wednesday evenings middle and high school students will meet from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. beginning Wednesday, Aug. 16. Stephens said across all the campuses, Faith Promise averages about 1,100 middle and high school students on Wednesdays.

“We did some research and found the Farragut ZIP Codes are the most densely populated,” he said. “Those two zip codes have about 60,000 people. There are lots of people, lots of families. We say families are our foundation.”

Campuses include the main campus on Pellissippi Parkway and in North Knoxville, Maryville, Clinton, LaFollette, at two area prisons and in Costa Rica. Last September Faith Promise was named the 12th-fastest growing evangelical Protestant church in America by Outreach Magazine.

“We’ve been looking and couldn’t find a good building and it’s more cost-effective to start in a high school,” Stephens said. “Parking, square footage and ceiling height [are considerations], so we have to be a little picky.

“We’re really non-denominational,” he added. “We’re connected with denominations, but develop pastors from every walk that walks with Jesus. We don’t really claim a denomination.

“We’re a place where people are not judged. What we really grab onto is the word ‘real.’ It’s a place where there’s real people. We don’t wear masks at Faith Promise. We’ve done some series where we’ve said, ‘No perfect people allowed.’ It’s not a place where you have to act a certain way. When you walk in, it’s a safe haven. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving a BMW or a beater. It’s just people coming together to worship God.”

Stephens said he has a vision for the Farragut campus that centers on 1 Thessalonians.

“In 1 Thessalonians 4 there’s twice where the church in Thessalonica is doing a great job,” Stephens said. “They’re loving people, keeping themselves pure and doing well. But Paul urges them to do more and more. At Pellissippi and our other campuses we do a lot, but I see us doing more and more. That’s what I see in Farragut, not only by the pastors and the exec team but by the people who come to Farragut from Pellissippi — to see more people hear the gospel and feel God’s love. Just more and more.”

Stephens said he can’t predict how long the congregation will meet at the school, but expects to be there for at least a couple of years.