ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – Construction is underway on a new 30,000 square foot church in Elizabethton.
Burleson Construction estimates the new Pleasant Beach Baptist church will cost $4.25 million.
However, church leaders said the 11 acres of land the new church is being built on was given as an unexpected gift.
“As we approached and began to fill up the auditorium again and have educational needs and outgrow the space we had,” said Senior Pastor Mark Fowler, “the question had come up is, ‘what is next for us?'”
It was a question of growth for Pleasant Beach Baptist Church several years ago.
A question that came at the same time the State of Tennessee planned to build a road and use the church’s property.
“They told us we needed to find another place to go,” said Pastor Emeritus Bobby Stout.
Stout was serving as pastor at the time.
“We looked everywhere that we heard that there might be some property available,” he said, “but none was suitable for what we needed.”
Stout said he started praying.
He then received an answer from a local real estate agent.
“She said, ‘how would you like to have that property just joining you?'” he recalled. “‘I’d love that,’ but I said, ‘What about the price?'”
“‘Well brother Stout,’ she said, ‘How does free sound to you?’ I said, ‘Yes, will you please call the funeral home and tell them I’m coming?'”
An anonymous donor from the area, who is not a member of the church, stepped out to give Pleasant Beach Baptist Church the land.
Shortly after, the state decided not to build a road through the church’s property.
“To see that all come full circle is an exciting thing and it makes us back up and realize that that’s something more than man can do,” said Fowler, “it’s really only something God can do.”
The church broke ground last spring and is in the process of framing the walls.
The building will include a new auditorium, gymnasium and educational space.
“You can’t build building and things without money, you certainly can’t build them without property, and you got to have people,” said Stout, “so, the Lord, I feel, blessed us with the best.”
At the earliest, the construction at Pleasant Beach Baptist Church is expected to wrap up in February of 2020.