Christ Covenant Church celebrates 20 years of worship April 17

Members of Christ Covenant Church PCA in Farragut have been worshipping together for 20 years.

They are celebrating the church’s milestone at 9:30 a.m. and 10:50 a.m., Sunday, April 17, with a worship service and time of fellowship at the church at 12915 Kingston Pike, Farragut.

The community is invited, Jim Barnes, Christ Covenant senior pastor-elder and organizing pastor, said.

“We have parallel hours,” he said. “Every Sunday, we offer a worship service at 9:30 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. [in the worship center]. We also offer Sunday school 9:30 and 10:50 a.m., but this Sunday, instead of going to Sunday school during those hours, there will be a time of fellowship, food and viewing of slides on the history of our church in the downstairs youth facility facing Kingston Pike.”

Christ Covenant Church PCA is the daughter church of Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church, whose members planted Christ Covenant Church PCA in 1994.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to be the organizing pastor and senior pastor,” Barnes said. “This has become a big family, where everyone is encouraged to serve in some way, using his or her particular spiritual gift God has given him or her.”

Since 1994, the church has grown from 30 to about 700 members.

“When I came to plant a church, I had no idea how,” he said. “But, God had prepared me with 17 years of ministry before I came to here.

“In August 1994, I sat in the office of Cedar Springs chapel, I began to build a teaching, discipline-equipping, missions-minded church. The exciting thing for me, as an organizing pastor of Christ Covenant Church, is that the vision I had in 1994 for this kind of church has become a reality.”

A Mississippi native, Barnes was called into ministry his sophomore year of college at Mississippi State University in 1972. Barnes attended Reformed Theological Seminary from 1974 to 1977.

He was associate pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C., then pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Kosciusko, Miss., before he was called to Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in 1994. By the time he arrived in Farragut, Cedar Springs Church already had acquired 12 acres of land at the corner of Kingston Pike and North Hobbs Road for a new church.

“When people start a church, they rarely, if ever, have land to start with, so most churches have to buy the land to build,” he said. “So that means we had a huge head start.”

The founding core group, consisting of about 30 members, worshiped in Cedar Springs’ chapel beginning in September 1994. Then, he said they moved worship services and Sunday school classes to Farragut Middle School in November 1994 and went from a mission church status to an organized church in Presbyterian Church of America in 1995.

“We were in the school for 10 years,” Barnes said. “During that time, we had designed the building.”

The first plans called for a multi-purpose complex, for which leaders hoped costs would come to about $4 million, but when they decided to get a soft bid, it came in about $6 million.

“So, we had to start all over,” he said. They changed the plans to build in phases.

Church members moved into its first facility, which included a worship center, children’s wing, adult classrooms and office space, in April 2005. They built the second phase, which included a youth area, music suite, prayer offices and prayer room, in 2009.

“It was worth waiting for,” he said. “We could use it every day.”

Church members are planning to construct two more facilities — an education wing and a sanctuary.

The name of the church changed from Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church to Christ Covenant Church PCA in 2015 to avoid confusion because many people consider Presbyterian churches to be liberal theologically, he said.

“Christ Covenant church is a member of the Presbyterian Church of America, which is a conservative, Bible-based, evangelical denomination that began in 1973 as it left the more liberal Southern Presbyterian denomination,” Barnes said.

“The name has changed, but I have not changed my philosophy one bit since I got here in 1994. In fact, I will preach the same exact text from Ephesians Chapter 4 that I preached at Cedar Springs in September 1994.”