Former megachurch selling Donelson building - WSMV Channel 4

Former megachurch selling Donelson building

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

One of Nashville's most well-known churches will soon be searching for a new place to worship.

The Fellowship at Two Rivers will sell its huge facility near Opryland along Briley Parkway.

Many people may know the church by its former name, Two Rivers Baptist Church. Under that name, it grew to a huge congregation then faced controversy and scandal.

Now, there is a new name, a new pastor, a new approach and if there's a buyer, a new home.

"Right now, probably the healthiest it's been in years," Pastor Matt Surber said.

Surber serves as pastor at the recently renamed Fellowship at Two Rivers.

"Two Rivers Baptist was kind of an iconic church in Nashville for years and obviously this facility in this location has been important to that," he said.

The new name symbolizes a culture shift and a separation from the church's sometimes shaky past.

Pastor Jerry Sutton was at the middle of a divisive fight over spending, financial records and a lawsuit. Sutton later retired, and Surber took over.

"We basically started a new church," Surber said.

The name changed, and the culture did, too.

Now the church will sell the site and launch at least three campuses.

The first will open in Mt. Juliet on April 1.

"From a stewardship perspective, if you look across the country, people aren't building facilities like this anymore. The upkeep is huge, the up-front cost is huge and this facility has served us so well over the years," Surber said. "I mean, it has literally impacted Nashville. And it's going to continue to impact Nashville now in a new way."

The announcement happened about two weeks after Gaylord and Dollywood unveiled plans for a new theme park on the land near the church.

Surber called it a coincidence, and one that could benefit everyone involved.

"We have a great relationship with Gaylord, which we're thankful for, but we haven't had any conversations about anything like this," he said.

Gaylord officials gave a similar response to Channel 4. In fact, a spokesman said they found out about the sale the same way everyone else did.

And to be clear, the building is not on the market just yet.

There has also been no official appraisal, so there is no idea what the land or the building might be worth.

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