Pastor Chuck Workman never believed he would plant a church and he and his congregation work toward building a multi-million facility – amid COVID-19, but he said it’s all God’s work.
The Mt. Juliet resident, husband and father of three is the founding pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church. He planted the church March 2019 and began meeting with congregants at Lakeview Baptist Church in Donelson. Last March 8, during a special service celebrating the church’s first anniversary, church members voted unanimously to purchase 26 acres of land at 1544 Pleasant Grove Rd.
This purchase came after the church launched a “Tomorrow’s Gifts Today” campaign to raise to be ready when the church found a permanent location.
“In about two weeks members gave more than $500,000,” Workman said.
These funds were the seed monies to purchase the land on Pleasant Grove Road. They closed on the property in July.
“From the beginning, Lakewood was a temporary home that God provided to our congregation,” Workman said. “Shiloh Baptist Church was birthed out of a desire to establish a church that unashamedly proclaims that Jesus Christ died for everyone who confesses their sins, and asks for forgiveness and invites Jesus to live in their hearts.”
Upon its founding, eight families came together with the desire to form a new church in the Hermitage-Mt. Juliet area, but nothing was available. That’s when they started meeting at Lakewood.
There are about 250 members of the church now, said Workman.
When COVID hit, along with other churches, Shiloh Baptist was forced to stop holding in-person services, and took to the internet. During this time, because it already outgrew Lakewood, the church moved to the Missions Mobilization Center of the Tennessee Baptist Missions Board, on John Hagar Road, just a few miles from their future site in Mt. Juliet.
“We wanted to be closer to the church field God has called us to and to begin ministering to the people in our community,” Workman said.
They did just that after the March 3 tornado, and helped residents in the Triple Crown subdivision.
“We want to show the love of Christ to the people in our community,” said this pastor.
On the Pleasant Grove Road property, there is an existing house that is now the church’s office space.
Sunday was the church’s “Reveal Sunday” where they set up a tent, laid parking gravel and “revealed” to congregants what comes next.
Workman said the first build will be about 13,000-square-feet to 15,000- square-feet.
“It will be a multi-purpose facility, and will blend in very organically with the Mt. Juliet community,” Workman said.
Its façade will be with some wood and stone, and not the typical church facility brick and mortar.
“Our goal is to be a retreat center,” Workman explained. “We want to work with churches and pastors and discipleship in the long term.”
The facility will be a sanctuary and family life center. The facility alone is projected as a $4.5 million project, said Workman.
Workman said they plan for walking trails, pavilions, and fields for events, as well as some cabins on their church property.
“We want it to be utilized by churches and pastors, to care for them,” he said. “It will be a retreat for those in need of the Lord’s services.”
“We have not had a permanent home for a year and a half. I truly believe God will provide another miracle. What He’s done thus for is indescribable. He just might surprise us.”