About

The Underground TN is a new church with a different concept. We’re not about the building, we’re about you building a relationship with God!

Why the name “The Underground?”

Our church name, The Underground, tells you what type of church we are! Hint: We aren’t traditional. We long to be known as a church where ordinary people join an extraordinary God in demonstrating and sharing the good news of Jesus. Please take three minutes to watch this video. It explains it well.

Why does the Knoxville region need another church?

Surprisingly, research by Evangelscape shows that only 20% of people in Knox County attend a ‘Christian Church’—41% identify as DONES and 39% as NONES. The DONES are the ‘dechurched’ or ‘lapsed’ religious people who are ‘fed up with the church and are leaving it.’ The NONES are simply those who have no religious affiliation—they are not members or attenders of any religious organization. In fact, in 2019 Knoxville made the Top 100 list of most ‘Post Christian’ cities in America in a Barna study.

We find that most people share a spiritual hunger but find the church irrelevant to their quest for spiritual meaning. Many see the church through negative stereotypes, or have had disappointing experiences. They just can’t imagine seeking out a church for the real life problems they face.

So Underground TN is shifting the strategy from inviting folks to come with us to ‘church’ to instead being the church where we live, work, and play.

What does “being the church where we live, work, and play” mean?

Jesus seemed to have a simple rhythm of life—BE alone with the Father, MAKE DISCIPLES in community (his groups of 3, 12, and 72), then GO bless people and proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.

The New Testament church applied Jesus’ approach. As depicted in Acts, early believers met not only in the temple courts, but also in homes where they cared deeply for one another and helped them meet both their physical and spiritual needs. In these communities, they learned how to be the Christians Jesus envisioned—people who loved God and loved one another. As a result, the church grew exponentially from the 3,000 souls added to the church in Acts 2:41 (30 AD), to around 25,000 people in 100 AD to nearly 20,000,000 in 310 AD.

So our model for The Underground is built on these same principles. We will gather rhythmically in a large group—which we call Upper Room Gatherings—to encounter God in worship, story, prayer, and engaging the Bible. In our small, geographically dispersed micro churches—which can meet just about anywhere—we’ll love and encourage one another as we grow in  cultivating our relationships with God and making disciples.

At the same time, we will be reaching outward (both personally and in our micro churces) to serve the DONES and NONES around us. So by example and through sharing our stories of what Jesus has done in our lives, we’ll encourage people to know Jesus—the one and only way to peace in this world and salvation for eternity.

When and where do you meet and what are the meetings like?

Upper Room Gatherings

  • Upper Room Gatherings are where we come together as a large group to celebrate God’s goodness amidst a Spirit-led flow of worship, prayer, Bible engagement, and mutual ministry.
  • We pray that every attender experiences the manifest presence of God shepherding in our midst so that every person is refueled, reloaded, repaired, and reconnected to Kingdom community & calling.
  • Upper Room Gatherings take place twice a month and will typically last between 1.5–2 hours. Children’s ministry for kids younger than 1st grade will be provided.
  • Check our Events page to find the next Upper Room Gathering time and location.

Party or Serve Gatherings

  • Our Party and Serve gatherings typically involve 20–50 people getting together for broader social connection or to accomplish tangible and practical good by serving together.
  • Everyone, regardless of openness to Jesus, is invited to enjoy the gift of connection and purpose. Experience so far suggests that nearly everyone enjoys gathering for a playful, refreshing social time, or to serve in meeting a practical need in the community.
  • Check our Events page to find the next Party or Serve Gathering time and location.

Micro Church Gatherings

  • Micro Church gatherings typically consist of 5–20 people as they are our more intimate expressions of church. They meet three times a month in homes or other gathering spaces around the region.
  • These environments are for VIPs—very intentional people. While in no way exclusive, there will never be a bait and switch where people show up unaware that this environment is designed to experience Jesus in our midst.
  • Micro Churches will meet for the clearly stated purposes of worship, community, and mission. As the Spirit leads, there will be times of relational nurture, prayer, worship, engaging God’s Word, and intentional planning of how to engage/serve those who don’t yet know Jesus.
  • Two of the three monthly gatherings will typically be focused on nurture and disciple making. One gathering per month will be a party or serve engagement with folks outside the VIP community.
  • Micro Churches will intentionally find ways for each person to serve in areas of unique gifting, help identify unique ‘missional contexts,’ and discern how to partner in the monthly Serve or Party gatherings.
  • Contact us to find a Micro Church Gathering time and location that best suits your interests and location.

Table Environments

  • Table Environments involve 1–4 people so people can share more personal interaction over coffee, a meal, an activity, or a conversation. While we encourage each other toward love and good deeds in every environment, this small gathering is ideal for confession and mutual challenge toward obedience.
  • Sometimes God uses these environments simply to deepen relationships and disciple making connections. Sometimes God opens a window to the soul for great encouragement and breakthrough in following Jesus.
  • We encourage men or women from Micro Churches to gather in Table Environments for accountability and intentional development.
  • Contact us for more information regarding Table Environments.

Who are the leaders?

We are thrilled to have an incredible launch team with a variety of backgrounds, talents, and experiences who are all helping shape The Underground into what God envisions. Our Team Leader page depicts some of these folks.

Contact us to find out how you can connect with God through serving, engaging in a micro church, or participating in a worship experience.

What are your core beliefs?

Our core beliefs are very traditional—it is only our approach to applying them that is probably different than what you may be used to. 

We believe that there is one triune God and He inspired the Bible; humans are sinners by nature and choice; Jesus was both God and man and His sacrifice on the cross is our only way to salvation; the Holy Spirit indwells, equips, and empowers believers; the church constitutes all true believers; Christians are to live out their faith through care for each other, compassion toward the poor, and justice for the oppressed; Christ will return; and there will be a final resurrection with believers joining the Lord in a new heaven and new earth.

More detail on these beliefs can be on the EFCA website. The Underground is locally led but proudly partnered with the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA).

What is your mission?

Our mission statement—while not rocket science—can only become a lifestyle through the Holy Spirit’s power working in us:

Pray, live, and love so that people are awakened to believe,  inspired to worship and abide, and called to join in making disciples.


We aspire to live out or beliefs so others will say, “We want what those people have.” And with that opening, we want to proactively reach out to them—wherever and whoever they are—with the reasons we have “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV). 

Through a personal lifestyle and partnering in our home-based micro churches, we’ll reach people where they are and introduce them to Jesus,  who is the only way to an abundant life now and an eternal life in resurrected bodies on a new earth.

What are your values?

We express our values using GRACE as an acronym. Grace is not only key to our salvation, but is foundational to experiencing the whole Christian life. Each of these five values flow  from God’s abundant grace to us which then prompts our response back to Him.

Generosity

God has been lavish in blessing us with His Son, His Spirit, and His written Word. God also generously provides for us in tangible ways to meet our needs and gives resource to bless others. We love God back by being generous as He leads.

Restoration

God’s heart and actions showcase his passion to restore and redeem. As a Father, God is constantly pursuing people so they would be rescued from darkness by putting their faith in Jesus. God longs that we would be restored into intimate relationship (with Him and others), life-giving purpose, and wholeness across every arena of our lives. While ultimate fulfillment will come in eternity for those who believe in Jesus, we pray, encourage, support, model, train, and resource people in their journey to Biblical restoration.

Abiding

Abiding leads to experiencing the life and power of Jesus flowing through us by the Holy Spirit. Abiding is living intentionally in order to maintain a life-giving connection with Jesus through obedience to His communication; faithfulness in prayer; sacrificial love towards others; and living in joy, worship, and fruitfulness. Abiding pleases God, transforms believers and bears fruit.

Community

God designed us to need—and flourish—in loving, authentic relationships. Sadly, wounds from people and lies from the enemy often lead us toward isolation. We will pray, pursue, and create environments where people feel safe to belong, be real and experience the goodness of God together.

Encountering Jesus in Word & Spirit 

We long to embrace the best of the Evangelical and Charismatic traditions and leave the worst of both behind. We desire to experience the power of God as we obey the Word of Jesus and are also sensitive to respond to the leading, filling, flowing, and empowering of the Holy Spirit. We want to live in that sweet spot where “Word & Spirit meet life.”

What are your goals?

Our dream is to be a community that:

  • Experiences God’s presence (manifested in our midst) whether in a time of worship and prayer, or while we are on the move, joining God in blessing others. 
  • Creates space and time to meet with God in heartfelt worship privately, and when gathered together. 
  • Embodies a culture of prayer and listening as we call out for God’s will to be done. 
  • Displays God’s love and power as He works through signs and wonders. 
  • Prays regularly for healing and celebrates what God does. 
  • Loves people in their brokenness, but prays to see them redeemed, restored, revived, refreshed, and released into their destiny. 
  • Pursues people with love, blessing and the good news of the Gospel as the Holy Spirit leads. 
  • Sees many people awakened to respond to the Gospel, then baptized and discipled. 
  • Supports people in being set free from past wounds, addictions and bondage. 
  • Models authenticity, humility, brokenness and repentance as we strive to experience victory over sin privately and corporately. 
  • Teaches the Bible in an expository way that focuses on the greatness of God’s character and application to real life. 
  • Trains people to flourish in life and Godliness. 
  • Does life together in micro churches where people’s hearts rise up with joy to see each other.
  • Makes disciples while we share life together and serve the community together. 
  • Prioritizes a missionary mindset and lifestyle. 
  • Communicates in a way that is clear, consistent, timely and unified. 
  • Understands the battle is spiritual in nature and fights with the Holy Spirit’s perspective, power and protection. 
  • Responds to what’s happening in society with a heart and actions that reflect those of Jesus. 
  • Values the diversity of spiritual gifts. 
  • Fights to love, honor and respect each other in the midst of relational conflict or tension.

Where do you meet?

Our micro churches will meet in homes and serve all around the region. We have rented meeting and office space at The Pointe Knox, a gracious church in downtown Knoxville, so we have a regional hub for worship and equipping. The address is 211 W. Fifth Ave, Knoxville, TN 37917.

How do I get involved?

Every person who helped launch Underground TN was looking for a more robust experience of the abundant life Jesus promised. We also shared a longing to partner in significant Kingdom ministry. We know that there are a lot of folks who are similarly frustrated with their current Christian communities and seek to go deeper with Jesus and find more significant ways to join Him on mission.

If you want to explore if God is leading you towards partnering with Underground TN, you may want to try:

  • Meeting with someone to discuss their experience of the Underground (check out the Our Leaders page).
  • Attending a Party/Serve gathering (check out our Events page to see if we have one coming up).
  • Attending an Upper Room Gathering (check out our Events page for times and locations).
  • Visiting a Micro Church (contact us to find one near your location).

If you still have questions, please contact us and we’ll help you figure out what your next step should be.

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